Garbage time is hardly the place where legends are born – those moments are usually reserved for the huge, pressure-packed situations, when everything is on the line and the fans are on their feet, their throaty roar engulfing the participants, swallowing them whole – but all of that changed on December 12, 1980, when then-head coach Bill Fitch emptied his bench in a home game against the New Jersey Nets. The final score read 119-104, but it really wasn’t that close. A young triumvirate of Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale had just finished toasting a horrid Nets squad, putting on a basketball clinic and, in the process, earning some well-deserved time on the bench. With less than four minutes remaining, Fitch turned toward the direction of Terry Duerod – the same Terry Duerod who had been signed to a ten-day contract only eight days before – and motioned for him to enter the game. The Boston Garden faithful welcomed the University of Detroit product onto the parquet floor, where he quickly rubbed off his defender on a pick and nailed a mid-range jumper. Chants of “DO-O-O-O” cascaded from the partisan crowd, many of whom had stayed just to cheer the scrubs. Two possessions later he found the ball in his hands again, and once again he had an open look at the basket. Heeding the advice of Fitch, who had given him the green light, Duerod did what all shooters do in that situation: He let one fly. The baseline jumper found the bottom of the net, and the spontaneous, heartfelt chant grew stronger…
Duerod on playing for head coach Bill Fitch:
It was a great experience. The coaching staff, the players, the fans – it was all very special for me. Being a part of something like that was another dream come true. Max – Cedric Maxwell – was my man [laughs]! Robert Parish and Kevin McHale were great teammates. We had Tiny Archibald and Larry Bird – I couldn’t have asked for better teammates! It was a very positive situation, which was nice because I’d come from a negative situation in Dallas. It was totally different. The team was focused on winning, and it was loaded with great, young talent.
Duerod on playing with the great Tiny Archibald:
Tiny was also giving me pointers and showing me things. He was left-handed but could shoot right – it wasn’t the prettiest sight, but it went in [laughs]. He was always teaching the young guys. I don’t know if he did a lot of that early in his career, but by the time I got there he was a very good mentor. He was a funny guy as well. He has a reputation for being quiet and shy, but once he starts talking you can’t get him to stop [laughs]!