9.07.2008

The Chief Spoils Antoine's Debut


Antoine Walker's First Year in Green
The Celtics gave their fans a taste - albeit in photo-negative form - of what life was like with the Glory Green of the early and mid-'80s.

But it was Chicago which looked a great deal like those Celts of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish on many of their regular season nights. (The Bulls even brought Parish.) They arrived as visiting royalty, withstood the efforts of a pumped up host and still managed to leave with the only thing they came for - the victory.

Chicago made the 107-98 pickup with a little help from Parish, who hit three straight hoops midway through the fourth quarter while his club was easing ahead by more comfortable means after falling behind by as many as 16.

"It reminded me a lot of what we used to do when I played here," said Parish after waiting until the last period to play his only nine minutes and hit his only three shots. "The way we kept our poise when they went ahead reminded me a lot of how it was with the Celtics."

Though the Bulls hardly seemed fazed, the Celtics certainly gave the opening night crowd all it had, knowing many in attendance had come to see - and even cheer - the other team.

Dana Barros threw in 24 points and David Wesley had 18, but the Bulls overcame an 11-point halftime deficit by scoring 22 of the first 28 points in the third quarter. Michael Jordan led Chicago with 30, and at halftime, with the Celts up, 59-48, he let them know what was coming.

"You know what I did?" Jordan said. "I went up to M.L. (Carr) and told him, 'We used to do the same thing as this. We used to come out hard and go get ourselves an 11-point halftime lead. Then here comes Larry Bird saying, 'We're going to be walking it down on you.' Well, that's what we're going to do to you.' Times change."

Parish doesn't, but times do.

The Celtics were vastly different at the beginning and the end. They hit 20 of their first 29 shots (.689); then just 18 of their last 55 (.327).

Rookie Antoine Walker got the start and had nine points in the first half, but he made just one of his last six shots and finished with 12.

In the first quarter, Scottie Pippen rang the school bell on Walker, going for eight straight points in one stretch to finish the quarter.

"It was a good learning experience for me," said Walker.

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