Part 2 of 5 in the Pete Maravich Series
The chanting began in the third period. "We Want Pete!" But it was having a reverse effect on Bill Fitch, who gave serious thought to leaving his newest Celtic on the bench for the entire game last night.
"I didn't really want to put him in a game at garbage time," said Fitch, who finally unveiled Pistol Pete Maravich - to the delight of 15,320 screaming fans at the Garden. "He's not ready to play. I'd much rather the game have been close so that I could have taken advantage of it psychologically. But the crowd was yelling and I sent him in.
"But I'd rather have been able to use Gerald Henderson instead of putting in Pete in that situation. Henderson's got a hairline jaw fracture and I frankly didn't like the idea of playing this game without him."
The Pistol made his Celtic debut at 7:04 of the final period in Boston's 130-108 rout of the Indiana Pacers. A pass to Eric Fernsten brought the crowd to its feet. The Pistol then fired three times and hit one bullseye. That also prompted a standing ovation, since Fitch then removed Maravich after a six- minute stint.
"I thought I'd be real tight when I first went in there," said Maravich. "But the moment I got in there I was loose. I heard the crowd calling for me and I appreciated it very much. It came as quite a surprise and made me feel great.