Fitch Not Worried About Home Loss

1981-82 Boston Celtics

The terminology bothers Bill Fitch. When his Celtics lose at home, people start saying Boston has to regroup in a hurry. Fitch thinks that's baloney.

"I don't think regroup is the right word," the Celtics ' coach said after practice yesterday at Hellenic College. "We've won six of the last seven. And the game we lost Friday night was to a very good team that has won nine out of the last 10. We were in it for three quarters. It wasn't as though we had fallen apart.

"The Sonics lost to Washington a couple of nights before they played us. Did they regroup? I guess being a champion and being expected to win every night goes with the territory. But it wasn't from lack of effort that we lost to Seattle. It's just that we played sporadically, and they played very well. We played well enough to win a month ago. But this is another month and we're not going to win any of the big ones if we continue to play like that."

Perhaps it was beginning to look as if the Celtics were invincible at home (18-3 after Friday night). Larry Bird has been in a sizzling streak, and if he didn't do it, the Celtics' bench rose to the occasion. But when Seattle posted a 118-106 victory here Friday night, it gave the Celtics a painful reminder that the best overall record (30-10) in the NBA will not be maintained on reputation alone.

Another Western Conference power, Portland, is at the Garden today (noon, Ch. 4, WRKO). And, said Fitch, "Portland (21-18) is capable of doing the same thing. We've got to get better outside shooting. Bird (25 points) was the only consistent scorer Friday. We need a better fourth quarter."

Portland doesn't figure to have another 1-2 performance like the one Lonnie Shelton (37 points) and Gus Williams (36) put on for Seattle. Shelton hit 17 of 23 shots, and Williams 16 of 28. Boston was outrebounded, 46-44.

The Trail Blazers, who come to town on a three-game losing streak, shot only 35 percent in the first half in a 110-97 loss to Washington Friday night. But they do have three excellent shooters in Calvin Natt, Mychal Thompson and Kelvin Ransey.

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