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12.31.2007

1986 Bench Starting to Come Around

Celtics Bench Responding to Earlier Criticism

January 1, 1986

Bill Walton scored 6 points, but had a whopping 13 rebounds in just 17 minutes, as the Celtics won the game 125-103. "I love playing in LA," said Walton. "It's a great city and I've played a lot of my life here."

After losing four straight road games, the Celtics have now won two straight on the road and play in Indiana tomorrow night. They return home Friday to play the second-place New Jersey Nets.

"We've been struggling a little bit, but hopefully these two victories will get us over the hump," said Bird, who shot 18 for 33 in Utah and LA, and appears to be recovering from the back stiffness which had hindered his long- range shooting.

Coach K.C. Jones also appears to be loosening up. He employed his bench early and often against the Jazz and Clippers. Scott Wedman snapped out of a shooting slump, and Sam Vincent played 12, then 19 minutes. Vincent shot poorly (3-14), but had seven assists against the Clippers. Greg Kite had five rebounds and hit three of four shots in 13 minutes of mop-up duty against LA.

"We'd been using the Green Team (second unit) in the beginning, but I went back to getting the starters a lot of time," admitted Jones. "Now I'm going to the bench. They have to start clicking and they'll do the job . . . The idea is to hustle and execute. That's why I won't pull the starters. But we need production from the bench."

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