10.12.2008

Green Continues to Roll Despite Dodgy Play

1981-82 Boston Celtics

The Celtics have now won seven games in a row, and that's very interesting because in the last four, they haven't played well at all. Not by their standards, they haven't.

Saturday night's 92-91 triumph over Cleveland was certainly not as close as that final score indicated, but neither was it a decent example of Celtics ' basketball. The good thing about it was the bench play of Gerald Henderson and Rick Robey. On a night when Larry Bird, Cedric Maxwell and Kevin McHale were shooting a combined 12 for 38, Henderson's 6-for-9 show and Robey's valuable 23 minutes of play (including the final Boston basket) saved the Celtics from an embarrassing setback. You can also doff the old fedora to the remarkable Tiny Archibald, whose constant penetration got points for Boston it couldn't have gotten otherwise.

One of the interesting postgame items was a difference of opinion between coach Bill Fitch and Bird on the subject of a missed three-point attempt by the latter. The Celtics were leading by seven (84-77) and appeared to be on the verge of putting the game safely away when Bird threw the bomb. He wasn't shooting well, and the coach felt it was a lapse of judgment. In fact, Fitch thought it was a big enough lapse that he pulled Bird from the game.

"I knew he'd jerk me if I missed," Bird reflected. "But you live by the three-pointer and you die by it. I've got a ring because of it, remember. I'll shoot it nine of 10 times if they're not going to guard me."

But Fitch was pleased merely to have survived the week, since it was a four-games-in-five nights grinder. "It's been a long week," he said. "I'm having a hard time talking about this game other than to say that it was a win. It was just a tough week."

With M.L. Carr getting closer to activation, the big question is this: Who stays and who goes? Tracy Jackson played well during a 10-minute stint on Saturday. Terry Duerod has certainly had his moments. Charles Bradley, who did not play in Cleveland, is definitely a player with enormous potential. It's apparent they all can play in this league, and say this for Jackson especially: He has continually gotten better, as befits his Notre Dame bloodlines.

Next on tap is a trip to Chicago for a game tomorrow night against a team the Celtics defeated by 22 points earlier this season in Boston, a team Boston has whipped 10 of the last 11 times they have met. There is a definite law-of- averages problem involved in this game, and it must be presumed that the Celts will need a better performance than the one they gave on Saturday if they wish to maintain their domination over the Bulls.

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