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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Gar Heard

     (Born May 3, 1948) -- This might be the only city in America where Gar Heard is not remembered for one particular shot.

     Heard played college basketball at Oklahoma, where he had 21 double-doubles in only 27 games in 1969-70. That record lasted until Blake Griffin came along. Heard was drafted by the Seattle Sonics, where he played for two seasons. Then it was on to the Bulls.

     Heard and Kevin Kunnert came to the Buffalo Braves in 1973 in a trade for John Hummer and two draft picks. It was a steal for Buffalo. Heard moved into the starting lineup at power forward. At 6-foot-6, he was on the small side at the position but was too quick for some opponents to keep up with him. Heard was a big part of the good Braves teams for the next two seasons.

     The Braves thought in order to take the next step forward that they needed to get bigger. Therefore, they acquired John Shumate from Phoenix in a deal for Heard. It was there that Heard had his big moment.

     The Suns were the surprise team in the 1976 playoffs, reaching the finals against the Celtics. In an epic Game Five, the Suns were down two points with one second left in a second overtime. Heard took a pass, fired a high-arching shot from more than 25 feet away, and hit nothing but net to send the game to another overtime. Boston eventually won the game and the series.

     Heard eventually finished his career with the Clippers. He later was the head coach of the Mavericks and Wizards when both teams were way down; his career coaching record is 23-74.

--- Budd Bailey

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