Meet the Men in Green - Jim Ard
By Steven Markos
Standing an intimidating 6 feet 10 inches and weighing a hefty 230 pounds, Jim Ard provided the 1975-76 Celtics with an inside presence when the legendary big man Dave Cowens needed a breather.
Even though Ard only averaged 2.3 points per a game throughout the 1976 playoffs, he made arguably the two most historic free throws in both Celtics and NBA history. On June 6, 1976, Ard sank two foul shots as time expired to give the Celtics a 128-126 triple overtime victory against the Phoenix Suns in game five of the NBA Finals.
Ard averaged 3.7 points per game in his four year tenure with the Celtics. Obviously, it was not scoring that separated Ard from the rest of Celtics, rather it was his hard nosed hustle, guts, and his ability to tear the ball off the glass that earned him a spot on one of the franchises all-time great squads.
Ard lacked the confidence in his jump shot abilities, until he became a Boston Celtic in 1974. Head Coach Tom Heinsohn would scream at him to "Take it when you got it," thus creating a new Ard. With Heinsohn urging him on, Ard added a new dimension to his game that would help the Celtics for years to come.
During the 1975-1976 season, Ard was second on the team in blocks with 36, as Cowens led the Celtics with 71 block shots. What makes this statistic even more incredible is that Ard, played only 853 minutes in that season, fourth fewest on the Celtics.
Ard led the Celtics in rebounding twice during the 1975-76 season, in consecutive games on April 6 and April 8. He also recorded a season high for himself by grabbing 12 boards against Buffalo on April 6.