5.24.2016

Gerald Green Watches his Stock Fall on Draft Day


June 30, 2005
Here's my take on Gerald Green: He may be the next Tracy McGrady although Chris Wallace thinks he's closer to Rashard Lewis but the last thing the Celtics needed in this draft was a high school kid. That's three in three years since Danny Ainge took over, and while everyone has Al Jefferson penciled in for Springfield, remember that he didn't even play 15 minutes a game last season.

5.23.2016

Celtics Get Younger Still


June 29, 2005
The young get younger.


The average age on the Boston Celtics roster was 25.33 years old before last night at 9:15 pm. After grabbing 19-year-old high school phenom Gerald Green with the 18th pick in the 2005 draft, the Boys in Green will now feature seven players on their roster who are 23 or younger.


Considering 36-year-old Gary Payton is already out the door and 28-year-old Antoine Walker has one foot out the door, and that Boston would like to show 30-year-old Mark Blount the door, it's pretty stunning just how low that average number could go when Boston's newest teenager walks through that door today.


Green was not supposed to drop this far. Ainge and his draftniks truly believed he would go in the top six, with Portland most likely snagging him at No. 6. When the Trailblazers opted for another high school prospect, shooter Martell Webster, the Celtics started thinking there just might be a chance the kid could slip all the way into their lap.


"We started doing a little research and realized, 'This guy might not have a home,"' said Ainge. "He can shoot, and he can fly. On the downside, he's 19 and he's not ready to win in the NBA yet."


A much less reserved Ainge acknowledged after he left the podium that he was ecstatic with what had transpired. He said his team has some big decisions to make regarding key personnel, but, he figures, now he has more ammunition than ever to address those issues.


"All of a sudden we've got Paul [Pierce] and Al [Jefferson] and Delonte [West] and Gerald Green," Ainge gushed. "These are guys that anyone in the league would kill to have."


Then why did Green fall so far? Was it because he resisted showing up for one-on-one workouts? Should we buy Ainge's explanation that teams picking before the Celtics were addressing needs rather than going for the best available player theory?


"Why did he slide? I could care less," said coach Doc Rivers, who then compared Green with a young Tracy McGrady.


Whoa. Easy, Doc. Green, who originally committed to Oklahoma State, still needs to mature physically and mentally. He is not ready to play at this level - yet.


Even so, you've got to love this pick. Ainge, in essence, took a chance on grabbing a player who could be a bonafide star instead of playing it safe and settling for a seasoned college player (Hakim Warrick?) who wouldn't be able to help Boston next season anyway. Danny may need to extend his five-year plan to seven years now, but the bottom line is he's snagged another player that offers unlimited promise - and entertainment value. Gerald Green loves to run and jump, and that fits snugly with Doc's vision of up-tempo basketball.


And, yet, there are holes to be filled with this suddenly fluid roster. The Celtics must - we repeat must - bring in one, if not two, solid veterans who can show the kiddie corps the way.


"That's huge," Rivers acknowledged last night. "It's vital we bring in the right people."


Green, in a brief interview on ESPN last night, said he would be taking college classes when he comes to Boston, and if he didn't, his mother would "break my head or something."


"I kind of thought I'd get picked earlier, but it's OK," Green said.


You can be sure Al and Delonte and Tony Allen have already picked out an apartment for their new teammate in Waltham, where all the young Celtics fellas hang out. Boston's Brat Pack believe they are the future of this franchise, and they've just added some serious firepower to that theory.

5.22.2016

Gerald Green Reminds Doc of McGrady


June 29, 2005
WALTHAM - When the phones started ringing non-stop in the draft war room minutes before they made the No. 18 selection, the Celtics knew they had lucked out with Gerald Green. No one expected the Houston high school phenom to last past the lottery. But after Portland passed at No. 6, the Celticsthought there was a chance he might slide. When the 6-foot-8-inch forward fell out of the top 12, executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge started "begging" the basketball gods that Green be there at No. 18. And when he was, the Celtics' celebration began in earnest.

5.21.2016

Lakers May Trade Up to get Gerald Green

June 27, 2005
HOUSTON In a strip mall on South Post Oak road, directly across the street from an unkempt stretch of undeveloped land, sits Gulf Shores Academy. It is neither on the gulf nor on the shore; a Google hit of the two words will give you more information than you need to know about Hurricane Arlene.

5.20.2016

Dah Gahden Returns (sort of)

July 2, 2005
Go ahead, call it the Garden again.


   That's the message that TD Banknorth Inc. and the owner of the former FleetCenter are promoting this week, as the home of the Boston Bruins and Celtics is officially renamed the TD Banknorth Garden. The Maine bank made a huge bet this year when it promised to pay about $6 million annually a quarter of last year's marketing budget to put its name on the iconic arena.

5.19.2016

Celtics Boost Prices

June 9, 2005
 
The future is now. At least that is the Celtics' new marketing slogan as they try to sell season tickets at slightly increased prices from last season. 

5.18.2016

The One that Got Away


June 12, 2005
You can't help but wonder and sometimes wondering is a lot more fun than reality.


  You ask, what if certain things had happened and certain people had made different decisions and, well, it makes for a sobering, even haunting reality. Because when you see the teams that are competing in this year's NBA Finals, you think, with a little bit of luck and a little bit of rolling the dice, many of these same guys could be playing for the Celtics. Some of them, of course, already have.


        Without extrapolating too much, here is what Boston might have had.

5.17.2016

Celtics Saw Been Wallace as 2-Guard

June 19, 2005
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. The claim leaves anyone who hears it laughing in disbelief. But Ben Wallace insists he started at shooting guard for the Celtics' Summer League entry more than a decade ago. During these NBA Finals, he has mentioned the ill-fated conversion to Boston swingman more than once. Considering the career as an undersized All-Star center that followed, each recounting brings out an understandable amount of pride.

5.16.2016

Celtics Get New Radio Deal

June 24, 2005
 
The Celtics, who have always prided themselves on tradition, went back to the future in making WRKO (680-AM) their new radio home in a multiyear deal that was announced yesterday. WRKO had broadcast the team's games in two previous deals during the past 40 years: 1981-87 and 1995-96.


Rich Gotham, the Celtics' executive vice president of sales and corporate development, had decisions to make once the club's previous partner, WWZN (1510-AM), opted out of the final season of a five-year deal that would have gone through the coming season.


    The Celtics could have:

5.15.2016

Rivers Not Ready to Sever Ties with Pierce

June 30, 2005
 
WALTHAM -   If coaching doesn't work out for Doc Rivers , he has a future as a diplomat or poker player. He gamely answered questions yesterday about Paul Pierce with a smile, though the fractious nature of their relationship was laid bare for all to see last season.

5.14.2016

Ainge Understands Pierce's Frustration

June 25, 2005
 
WALTHAM Danny Ainge did not reveal any draft secrets, like what kind of player the Celtics might select at Nos. 18, 50, and 53 Tuesday night during the NBA Draft. In a news flash to no one, the Celtics'executive director of basketball operations will select the best player available regardless of position, age, or ability to make an immediate impact, though he acknowledged it's more likely the Celtics will select a player with college experience.

5.13.2016

Paul Pierce for Ray Allen?

June 2, 2005

OK, everyone. Exhale. We've all had some time to stand back and examine the current state of theCeltics with a little less emotion and a little more practicality. Does that make Paul Pierce's Game 6 antics any less horrifying? Not really, but when you're talking about business sense, you better make sure you get something of equal value if you plan on shipping him out of town. For all his warts (including a maddening defensive indifference, at times), Pierce is still a big-time talent who can rebound and pass and fill it up. I don't see anyone who is available that offers the same skills. Ray Allen is a nice player, but he's no Paul Pierce.


5.12.2016

McHale Reincarnating Familiar Role in Beantown



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Record: 6-1

11/11/1983


The smile on Kevin McHale's face says a lot. His contract hassles are a thing of the past. He no longer feels inhibited in a Celtics offense that is imaginative and allows him to take advantage of all his skills. McHale seems to be having a ball coming off the bench for the Celtics, either as backup center to Robert Parish or backup power forward to Larry Bird. Backup, perhaps, isn't the right word. For, what McHale is doing is a reincarnation of the traditional Celtics "sixth man" principle, with a slight twist that has given the concept a new meaning.

5.11.2016

Doc and the Strangler Rally Sixers Past Celtics



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Sixers 121-Celtics 114 (OT)
Record: 13-6
12/5/1983


I'm not knocking our record or the character of my men. But I'm after perfection."- Sixers coach Billy Cuningham He sounded like the NBA version of Captain Queeg. Only Billy Cunningham was talking about his defending champion Philadelphia 76ers and not just your average ship of fools. Cunningham had just watched his club come from a 15-point deficit and put on one of those defensive efforts that only a game between the Celtics and 76ers could produce.

5.10.2016

Celtics Pound Nuggets



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 119, Nuggets 90
Record: 16-6
12/10/1983


If the Denver Nuggets want to learn something about defense, they should ask the Celtics, who brought their bag of tricks to the Civic Center for the first time this season and put on a clinic.Even with Larry Bird on the bench with strained knee ligaments, the Celtics shut down the high-scoring Nuggets and rode a 34-19 surge in the second period a 119-90 victory last night before a crowd of 13,374.Denver was simply overmatched, and in the last 15 minutes threw in the towel as Boston rolled to its third straight victory and seventh in the last eight games.

5.09.2016

Celtics Stumble Past Pacers



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 100, Pacers 95
Record: 15-6
12/8/1983

It had all the rhythm and artistry of your average tractor pull, but the Celtics aren't in any position to argue with last night's 100-95 victory over the NBA's worst entry, the still-brutal Indiana Pacers. The Celtics turned the ball over like a team of Wendell Tylers and shot as if they had spent two weeks under the tutelage of mason Charles Bradley, but prevailed thanks to 22 points from Kevin McHale, 21 from Robert Parish and 19 from the man who is to Indiana what Elvis was to Memphis - Larry Bird. There were 14 lead changes in the first half, which ended with Indiana leading, 53-52.

5.08.2016

Celtics Steal Win over Dallas


1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 114, Mavs 109 (OT)
Record: 24-8
12/31/1983

DALLAS

It was a year in which Larry Bird and Kevin McHale became millionaires, while Harry Mangurian and Bill Fitch sold out. It was a year in which the Milwaukee Bucks humbled the Celtics in a four- game playoff sweep - which led to sweeping changes in the off-season. In a gritty and intense 53 minutes, the Green Team said goodbye to 1983 with a 114-109 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks last night. The victory enabled Boston to close the year with the most wins in the NBA, a 12-3 December and a 7-0 lifetime record against the emerging Mavericks. The Celtics stole this one. They trailed most of the way and faced a six-point deficit with 2:39 left. "Mercy," said coach K.C. Jones. "Coming off a loss like last night's (in Houston) and then hanging in there tonight showed a lot of guts. We didn't quit."

The overtime was relatively simple compared with the end of regulation. Jones had his starting five on the floor for the entire extra period. Dennis Johnson opened the scoring, burying a jumper from 18 feet to put the Celtics ahead for good. Then Kurt Nimphius fouled Bird going for an offensive rebound, and Cedric Maxwell canned a 17-foot set shot from out top to make it 107-103 with 3:36 left. Brad Davis came back with two on a drive down the lane, but Maxwell drove on Jay (He Ain't Heavy, He's Fat) Vincent and scored as he was fouled. Maxwell made the free throw, and the Celtics were up by five with three minutes left. "When you get the first couple of baskets in overtime, it puts a lot of pressure on the other team," said Maxwell, who finished with 20 points. "Those five minutes go by awfully fast." Rolando Blackman (34 points) cut Boston's lead to 110-107 with a jumper, but Pat Cummings and Davis missed shots on Dallas' next three possessions. And when Larry Bird (36) scored on a drive with 36 seconds left, the Celtics led, 112-107, and you could hear Don Meredith humming "The Party's Over."

The Mavericks must feel somewhat jinxed against the Celtics. Dallas led by 10 points for a good portion of the game and held a 103-99 lead with 35 seconds left in regulation. But the fact that Mark Aguirre (22 points) had fouled out with 3:50 left didn't help, and neither did a flurry of late turnovers forced by the tenacious Celtics."We felt if we kept the pressure on 'em, we could probably break them," said Maxwell.After Davis' bomb had made it 103-99 with 36 seconds left, Bird (14 for 25 overall) came back seven seconds later and canned one from the top of the key. Dallas came back, and Davis dished off to Cummings underneath, but Cummings' shot missed, and Robert Parish grabbed the rebound. Still trailing by two, the Celtics called time with 7 seconds remaining.After the pause, Bird inbounded from midcourt to DJ."I had a few options," said Johnson (17 points, 6 assists). "I could flip it back to Larry or drive to the hole. But there's not much time for hesitation with seven seconds."DJ drove straight for the hoop and was fouled by Blackman with four seconds left. With great cool, he made both to tie it.

The Mavericks squandered their last chance. Vincent inbounded to Blackman, but under heavy pressure from DJ, Blackman stepped out of bounds as he caught the ball. The Celtics took one last shot, but it was an airball by Bird from the left corner and extra innings awaited.The Celtics would like to forget about the first 24 minutes. It was a lot like Thursday's Houston humiliation. The Celtics committed 11 turnovers (nine in the first period), shot 40 percent (16-40), played Denver Nugget defense, and trailed, 54-46, at intermission. the Celtics roared back in the third quarter. Down by 10, Boston started running and Gerald Henderson and Bird led a 10-4 run that trimmed Dallas' lead to four. Parish (four in the first half against the immortal Cummings) awoke from sleep's dark and silent gate, scoring eight points in the period, including a dunk that tied it at 64, and two free throws gave the Celtics their first lead (66-64) since 2-0. The Celtics hung on and led, 75-74, after three 1983-84

5.07.2016

Celtics Finally Beat Sixers



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 105, Sixers 104

Record 29-8
January 14, 1984


PHILADELPHIA

It was one more jewel in the NBA junkyard, another 48 minutes of conventional land warfare between the Hatfields and McCoys of Basketball America. It seems that these two teams could play for 58, 68, or 108 minutes, and move the site to an aircraft carrier off Guam, and it would still be settled by one point or in overtime. The Celtics were the one-point winners last night. When Cedric Maxwell outdueled Moses Malone for a rebound of Julius Erving's errant 14-foot turnaround banker, the final buzzer sounded and the Celtics had a 105-104 roadhouse victory over the world champion Philadelphia 76ers.

5.06.2016

Big Win Boosts Confidence



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 105, Sixers 104
Record 29-8

January 14, 1984


The missing piece fell into place Friday night in Philadelphia.

The 1983-84 Great Expectation Celtics had done everything except beat the Sixers. They won a league-high nine in a row early in the year, recovered from a four-game losing streak in November, then ripped off 19 out of 22. They clinched the All-Star coaching job for beloved coach K.C. Jones, and managed to build a small but tidy division lead over the hated world champs from Cheese Steak City.

5.05.2016

McHale Dominates Pistons Again



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 129, Pistons 115
Record: 20-7
12/18/1983


There are nights when Kevin McHale is the ultimate weapon, a Nike Ajax missile interjected into conventional warfare. As he has done so many times since he decided not to eat spaghetti in 1980, McHale took over a game for the Celtics last night. He scored eight straight and 10 of 12 in a devestating, 18-4 fourth-quarter Celtics run that turned a two-point Boston deficit into a 12-point lead.

When it was over, Boston had a 129-115 victory, and Mchale had 30 points and 16 rebounds. Thirteen of McHale's season-high total came in fourth-period crunch time. He has scored 107 points in four games against the Pistons this year. "He's a big problem for us, obviously," said Pistons center Bill Laimbeer (27 points, 15 rebounds). "He destroys us every time we play them. He has that good jump hook, which is difficult to block, and a fallaway that you can't even get close to."

5.04.2016

Celtics Pound Glass for 19 Offensive Rebounds



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 105, Sixers 104
Record 29-8

January 14, 1984

PHILADELPHIA


Said Sixers coach Billy Cunningham: "The way these two teams play, we ought to just play the last minute."

Bingo.

5.03.2016

Cornbread Post 9 Dimes in Win



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 132, Pacers 125

Record 31-9

January 21, 1984


In a lackluster but very physical game, the Celtics wore down the aggressive Indiana Pacers, 132-125, last night before 13,134 at the Civic Center. Three Celtics hit for 20 or more points, with Larry Bird showing the way with 27, followed by Robert Parish and Kevin McHale with 22 each. But equally impressive with his unselfish play was Cedric Maxwell, who consistently fed his teammates, accumulating nine assists to go along with his 13 points.

5.02.2016

Celtics End Season with Win

 

1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 118, Nets 111

Record 62-20

April 15, 1984


It was like the last day of high school, when the seniors show up late, everybody goes around signing each other's yearbooks, and you put the future on hold for one final moment. The Celtics defeated the New Jersey Nets, 118-111, at the Garden yesterday afternoon. Greg Kite (13 points, 10 rebounds) started at center, M.L. Carr (10 points) opened at the power forward position, and Gerald Henderson (18 points) played for the first time since the Celtics wrapped up the NBA's best overall record 10 days ago.

5.01.2016

Is Boston America's Best Sports City?



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Record: 20-7
12/20/1983

Boston, USA.


Do you really I mean, do you really - appreciate all this town has to offer the sports fan? Unless you've been around to sample what's Out There, I don't see how you could. The Celtics. They are America's basketball team; oh, yes, they are. Had a guy call me the other day from down deep in Texas. Wanted to know when the next induction ceremonies would take place for the Basketball Hall of Fame. The guy was a John Havlicek fan and he sure wasn't gonna let ol' Hondo go into the Hall of Fame without paying his respects. Doubt if he's alone.

Travel the NBA for awhile and see what respect the Celtics have. There is no arena anywhere (even in xenophobic Portland, Ore.) where there aren't at least a few cheers when the Celtics score. In some buildings there's a helluva lot more than a few. They love 'em in the boonies, but we're the ones who have 'em all the time. The Bruins. Different crowd. Sometimes you get the feeling on a Sunday night that a lot of the people simply stuck around after the wrestling matches the night before. But they've got other fans who rival any group anywhere for knowledge and intensity.

The Bruins definitely attract the best voices. In a playoff game last year Gerry Cheevers sent Wayne Cashman over the boards. Someone sang out, "Hey, Chee-vuhs . . . have you lost yah mind?" Could have been the same guy I heard maybe 12 years ago on another occasion. Cashman - I swear - wound up for a slap shot and managed to get just a small piece of the puck. "What a bla-zuh, Wayne!" was the cry. The Garden. Here is a true love-hate relationship. C'mon, admit it. You want a cleaner, more comfortable building, but you would wind up missing the Garden, no matter which team you root for (not that you can't follow both). The banners wouldn't look the same in a new joint. There is a feel to the entire experience that would simply never be duplicated in some modern palace. There are buildings I'd trade the Garden for, but there are quite a few more that I wouldn't.

Fenway Park. In terms of good seating, it is overrated. Don't ever get stuck too far down the right field line. But what it offers could never be equalled. God bless The Wall, and the damnable door down the left field line and the gap inright- center and the treacherous right field foul line. It's always great to walk up the runway and get the first glimpse of that beautiful green grass (God bless Joe Mooney and his groundskeeping crew, while we're at it). There's even something magical about the place at night, especially if the Orioles or Yankees are in town. Please . . . don't start taking Fenway Park for granted.

Sullivan Stadium. OK, there is no discernible charm. It's a pain to get to and even worse to get out of. Yet it has truly outstanding seating. It was built for the purpose of watching football and nothing else, and there are only good and less good seats. Once in a while the team is even worth watching. All in all, this year wasn't too bad, was it?. But Boston is much, much more. It's more than the numerous colleges and high schools. Boston is Upton and Dave; Guy and Glenn; Eddie, Mark and Jim; Eli, George and Teddy; and that's just the beginning of the radio coverage, since any number of suburban stations also provide sports talk. This journal's sports coverage is enormous, and the guys up the road have come a long, long way in a year. Each TV station offers a superior sports product. Trust me: you would be instantly appalled if you could see what passes for TV sports in any other major locale.

Boston is the only city in the land where two major professional franchises (the Celtics and Red Sox) deliberately downplay All-Star balloting. While in attendance at a Boston sporting event, you are never insulted by a PA man saying, ". . . and here are your Boston Celtics," the way they do in other ports of call. There are no cheerleaders in Boston Garden (take note, messrs. Gaston, Dupee and Cohen) and there is no cheerleading organist, either, unless you consider John Kiley playing "Tico, Tico" during a timeout the height of rabble-rousing. Virtually every local team considers the press excessively negative, which is a very good sign for you, the consumer.

What's so good about Boston is that both the press and the teams seems to appreciate the sophistication of their constituents. Change is hard to come by in Boston. That's as it should be. There must be a reason why every radio, TV and newspaper person is besieged by friends from other cities wanting to know how they can get a job in Boston. There is. If you're going to cover sports for a living, this happens to be one of the very few places to do it. In fact, it may be the best. So, Merry Christmas, and thanks for everything.

4.30.2016

Celtics Will Try to End Bucks Dominance



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Record 31-9

January 22, 1984



The Milwaukee Bucks have beaten the Celtics in seven of the last nine playoff and regular-season meetings between the two teams. It is a curious dominance, one that the Celtics are tired of being asked about. Before last weekend, it was easy to dismiss the 1983 playoff sweep as ancient history, but then the Celtics staggered through another nationally televised (106-87) humiliation at the Mecca last Sunday.

Words won't do it anymore. Larry Bird knows it doesn't matter what he says, so when asked about Milwaukee he slumps into automatic pilot: "They're a better team than we are right now. That's what you have to say from the way we've played against them." "I don't think anybody here cares about what people say or what people think; it's what we think that matters. We know we can beat anybody in the league. We just had a bad game against them. But the next game is a different story."

Today's Super Sunday special (1 p.m., Channel 4) features two of the league's hottest teams. The Celtics own basketball's best record and have won eight of nine. The Bucks shrugged off a losing streak with five consecutive wins, including last Sunday's stomping of the Celtics and a 133-103 rout of the Bullets Friday night. "The Bucks seem to play well against the good teams," noted Quinn Buckner, who spent six years in Milwaukee. "When somebody gets hurt, they rally the wagons and pull together."

The Bucks are still playing without Tiny Archibald, but they have been getting a lot of bench production from Kevin Grevey . . . The Celtics are 31-9, and today marks the midpoint of their 1983-84 regular season. They were 31-10 after 41 games last season

4.29.2016

Celtics Crush Bulls



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 106, Bulls 83

Record 35-9

February 1, 1984

CHICAGO


Bad team, bad crowd, bad building, bad neighborhood. On nights such as this, the Celtics can only beat themselves - which is something they have refused to do in this magical mystery tour through NBA America. The Celtics picked up where they left off before the All-Star break last night, pounding the pitiful Chicago Bulls, 106-83, before 9430 at archaic Chicago Stadium. How bad are the Bulls? The Celtics outrebounded Chicago, 64-42. Boston shot 38 percent in the first half and still managed to build a 52-39 lead.

How apathetic are the Chicago fans? When Rod Higgins, who almost died on the Madison Square Garden floor two weeks ago, made his first appearance since the accident, hardly anyone noticed. Of course, by then, the Celtics were running the Baby Bulls silly and it was hard to get excited about anything unless you took pleasure in the shameless showcasing of Reggie Theus. Boston's highlights were many. Larry Bird hit 12 of 20 and led with 28. All 12 Celtics scored. Robert Parish (20 mintutes, only three in the second half) got some well-deserved rest and the lead over Philadelphia is up to 5 1/ 2 games.

These easy victories have to be viewed in perspective. Beating Cleveland and Chicago is always expected, but it takes total concentration and commitment to avoid letdowns. In winning six straight, and 26 of 30 since Nov. 22, the Celtics have demonstrated an ability to stay the course without ugly, untimely upsets. "We're on a mission," said Kevin McHale, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes. "We really want to get everything and keep moving forward. Last year at this time we started to fall apart and we don't want to let it happen again. When we get ahead by 10, we try to make it 20. When we get to 20, we try to make it 30."

They were up by 13 at intermission. Bird had one of those halves (9 of 15 from the floor) in which he appears capable of making anything from inside halfcourt. "Robert set some good picks and I had it going pretty well," said Bird, who always enjoys playing near his Indiana motherland. "It was one of those nights when I though my off-balance shots would fall and anything I threw up would go in." The Bulls got back to within 10 briefly in the third period, but Dennis Johnson scored nine points in five minutes, and Bird and McHale repeatedly beat the Bulls down the floor. Cement-footed Dave Corzine made McHale look like Norm Nixon. When McHale wasn't leading the break with easy baskets, Bird was dropping in open jumpers and Greg Kite and Carlos Clark were getting antsy.

"When we have Larry going for rebounds (12), I know he's going to get it; so I just try to beat my guy down the floor," said McHale. "Running is our game and we've got to keep doing it," added K.C. Jones. "Early in the year we were walking the ball up the court a lot. We must run." A 12-2 Celtics' surge late in the third quarter made it 84-59. The only remaining question was whether Chicago would crack 80. Boston led, 91-67, with 7:17 left. Victory cigar Kite appeared with 4:49 left and Clark came in nine seconds later. A Scott Wedman basket with 2:34 left gave the Celtics their biggest lead (99-74), and M.L. Carr ended it with a three-pointer. Chicago coach Kevin Loughery could only shake his head. The Bulls shot 38 percent (33 for86) and were outrebounded by 22. "You can't shoot 38 percent against them and expect to beat them. Against a great team like Boston, you can't get down by 13 in the first half and expect to fight back."

The only highlight for Chicago fans was the appearance of Theus, who's spent more time in the doghouse than Snoopy. Sir Reggie has played in only four of the last 17 games. When Theus walked on the floor, organist Nancy Faust played "When The Saints Come Marching In." When Theus scored, Faust played "She Works Hard For The Money." Mr. Solid Gold Dancer ended up with a team-high 15.

MISC

Danny Ainge and Quinn Buckner continue to pile up the minutes. Ainge played 22 minutes last night; Buckner was on the floor for 26. "The second quarter was the key for us," said K.C. Jones. "Danny and Quinn did the job bringing the ball up." . . . Ainge, who says he isn't going to shave until the Celtics lose, broke his string of 76 consecutive minutes without a turnover. He had three last night . . . Gerald Henderson was 1 for 8 from the floor and missed three three-pointers . . . The Celtics are 19-2 against the Central Division . . . Chicago's point-total (83) was its low for the year . . . Washington appears to be the new team in the Reggie Theus hunt. Bulls general manager Rod Thorn admits an Eastern team is hot on the trail, and Bullets GM Bob Ferry has been in Chicago for a couple of days. After last night's 25-minute opportunity, Theus said, "This is basically a situation that has gotten out of hand. I understand the coach's situation, but I also understand that there have been many times when we needed what I do best." . . . Kevin McHale, a native of Hibbing, Minn., is still in mourning over the retirement of longtime Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant . . . The Celtics are home for three straight against Kansas City (tonight), Indiana (Friday) and Detroit (Sunday afternoon).

4.28.2016

Maravich Reflects on Pro Career



1983-84 Boston Celtics
January 28, 1984

His eyes are still big and brown with a trace of sadness at the corners. His game was glitter, gold and greatness with the same strands of sadness around the edges. Pete Maravich played in the NBA All-Star game in Detroit in 1979. He was 30 years old and he would average 22.6 points for the New Orleans Jazz that season. Today, Pistol Pete will be an old-timer. He will be running alongside 57- year-old Dick McGuire and 57-year-old Bill Sharman in the NBA's All-Star weekend Old-Timers classic. It won't seem right. Maravich, who finished his career with the Celtics in 1980, looks as if he could still play. Why not? Bob Lanier and Dan Issel, who came in with Maravich, are still playing in the NBA.

The Pistol hung up his Green sneakers two days before the start of the Celtics' 1980-81 exhibition season. "M.L. Carr told me to stick around because they were going to win a championship," he recalls. "I said, I know, but you'll have to win it without me.'" They did. Maravich admits he regrets not being part of an NBA championship, and sadly adds, "My pro career wasn't much fun at all."

His college career was fun. Playing for his father, Press Maravich, Pistol Pete led the NCAA in scoring for three consecutive seasons. Rick Mount was wowing 'em at Purdue and Calvin Murphy was a diminutive dandy for Niagara, but Maravich was the one who scored the most points and generated the most publicity. Floppy hair, floppy socks and the ability to score from anywhere were his trademarks. He scored 50 or more points 10 times in 1970. He set records that still stand. He was Atlanta's first-round pick in 1970 and played four years for the Hawks before they shipped him to his New Orleans motherland. In 1976-77 he led the NBA with a 31.1 scoring average, but the Jazz rarely won, and the highly paid Pistol was waived on Jan. 17, 1980. He was signed by Red Auerbach five days later.

"We didn't get him to Boston until the tail end of his career," says Auerbach, who will be Maravich's coach today. "But he was one of the great passers, shooters and ballhandlers who ever played." With Larry Bird, Dave Cowens & Co., Maravich played nine games in the 1980 playoffs and averaged six points. Bill Fitch's 1980 fall camp was Maravich's last. "You have your time," he says. "When you're a professional athlete you have your time, and then you go on and do other things. My time was too short. I missed about 180 games with injuries while I was playing, and I was done when I was 31. Longevity is important, and that's something I didn't have. I could have continued to play, no doubt about that, but I figured 10 years was enough."

He was a gunner at every level, and his teams rarely finished over .500, but he says, "What people don't understand is that basketball is a team game. One individual is never going to make or break a team. Ralph Sampson is a good example. I heard about how he was going to turn it around for Houston, but he hasn't. One guy just can't do it." Maravich's life is different now. He spends a lot of time with his wife and two sons. He dabbles in real estate and has business activities in Florida and New Orleans. He says he doesn't miss the game. He says the only reason he's here this weekend is because his good friend, Mike Cole (formerly a marketing executive with the Celtics), asked him to participate.

Like John Havlicek and Rick Barry, Maravich looks young and fit enough to keep up with tomorrow's All-Stars. He's been a strict vegetarian for four years and runs a summer basketball camp in Clearwater, Fla. "I've been able to adapt," he says. "Since I was 12 years old, I've lived in a fishbowl, but I haven't missed all the attention since I retired. I knew it wasn't going to be forever."

4.27.2016

Bird Rebounds from Bad Texas Trip



1990-91 Boston Celtics

There was nothing magical or mystical about Larry Bird's offensive rejuvenation last night at Boston Garden, where he set the tone early for the Celtics ' 129-111 romp over the Bucks.

Bird had a grand total of 38 points over a very long three-game weekend in Texas while hitting just 15 of 51 shots and only 2 (albeit important) of 8 3-pointers.

4.26.2016

Slimmer Quinn Buckner Making a Difference



1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 119, Bucks 105
Record: 2-1
11/3/1983


If you ask Quinn Buckner, he'll tell you he owes his success to clean living and target practice. Translated, that means the veteran Celtic guard is off to the kind of season he envisioned a year ago when he came here from Milwaukee. Before the Celtics' 119-105 victory over the Bucks last night in their home opener, all eyes were on Milwaukee's Tiny Archibald. But afterward, most of the sellout crowd at the Garden was singing the praises of Buckner, who scored 16 points and gave Boston an unexpected lift with the kind of outside shooting that he didn't have a year ago.

"I've really been shooting well since training camp," said Buckner. "The way I thought I would when I came here a year ago. I owe a lot of it to keeping my weight down and shooting all summer, with Junior Bridgeman of Milwaukee, would you believe. Since training camp, I've been shooting with Larry Bird. They are two pretty good shooters, and maybe some of it rubbed off."

On paper the Bucks figured to have a slight edge because they could bomb away outside with the likes of Sidney Moncrief, Bridgeman and Archibald. No team with a Larry Bird can be called bashful about shooting from the outside, but it was thought that if Gerry Henderson got into foul trouble, the Celtics had only one other pure shooter at guard, Danny Ainge. Sure enough, Henderson did get into foul trouble in the third quarter, with Boston leading by only 69-67. In came Buckner, who had hit 4 of 5 shots in the first half, and out went the best-laid plans of Bucks' coach Don Nelson. With Boston leading, 72-70, Buckner hit a 16-footer from the right baseline to give the Celtics a four-point lead, and the Bucks never came any closer.

"Quinn did just a super job," insisted Celtics' coach K.C. Jones. "He showed that he's not only a great defensive player, but also that he's a leader. He hit some big shots from the outside." Nelson, the man who let Buckner go to Boston for Dave Cowens, agreed that Buckner's play was an important factor in Boston's victory. "On defense, we had a lot of problems getting by him," said Nelson. "He's improved a lot. I think it is because he approached the season well. His weight is down and he is playing well on both ends of the floor."

Buckner's fine play off the bench is something that future Celtics' foes will have to think about. If he is successful as an outside shooter, it will mean that Boston has four interchangable guards. Dennis Johnson and Henderson are the starters. "Right now," said Buckner, "we're able to get a lot of versatility out of the guard situation. D.J. is playing very well inside, and I'm trying to make whatever contribution I can make.
"Right now, the jump shot is going. Defensively, I'm just playing aggressively. I think that's what we have to have, guards playing aggressively to get the forwards and centers playing the same way."

Buckner said the key for him was his preseason approach. He lost 10 pounds by dieting right after last season, and spent the whole summer keeping weight off and working his shot. "It paid off," he said. "I was aware of the guard situation when I came to camp. All I had to worry about was getting my game in shape, and learning what was expected of me and my teammates. "I feel better than I did last year. I thought I was going to shoot like this then. But I got hurt in training camp and I didn't get started the way I like. You live and you learn in this game."

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