In a way the 1981 Finals really reminded me of the 2015 Finals we just witnessed. The primary task for the Rockets was to slow the game down to a halt and let Moses go to work, while the creative Celtics had to find ways to speed the game up to score in the open court.
One ends up having mixed feelings about Houston’s approach, even though you can’t really blame them for playing in such a manner. Malone at times seemed exhausted and after a missed shot by the Rockets would lazily reach towards the ball handler, let him past and leave his Houston team to defend 4-on-5. And it’s not like you can blame him as he averaged 45.5 freaking minutes per game in the 1981 post-season. It just looks too bad when your center isn’t back on defense to fight in the paint in an era where offensive rebounding alone could decide the game and your game plan is to slow it down and let him fight through double teams. Houston did have a shot in the two games in which Reid scored 27 (in the first of them Moses only scored 13) and actually won Game 4 thanks to a career performance by Mike Dunleavy Sr. Could that have happened in four out of seven games? Probably not..
During the makings of the montage, some choices were tough to make from an aesthetics stand point. At the end of the day I decided that most of the plays of Malone drawing a foul should make the cut. If I’m making a 12-minute long video of Moses, it should be full of battles for position and drawn fouls. A couple of free throws were left out (I mean, if it takes Russell 10 seconds to make the call of an off-ball foul taking place during a Houston jumper, it’s tough to incorporate that in the flow of the video and maintain any kind of watchability), but all in all it’s an uncut version of Moses’s 1981 Finals. And there should be one. This simply is the unglamorous beauty of his game.