Celtics Fall to 58-17
1981-82 Boston Celtics
Writer to Bill Fitch: "Uh, gee, coach. The 76ers and Bucks have a big game on the last day of the season. Might mean the home-court advantage in their playoff series." Fitch, gritting teeth, to writer: "Might be a big game for Boston on that day if they don't play any better than they did against Milwaukee."
No, folks, the mentor was not pleased with what he saw in the Milwaukee Arena on Tuesday night as the Celtics went down to an undermanned Bucks team by a 122-116 score. Mr. Fitch felt the game was winnable and that his team was culpable. "Fundamentals," he explained. "We lost on our failure to execute fundamentals."
"Such as blocking out, and such as failing to execute the fast break properly," Fitch declared. "Any team that hit the boards and ran the break correctly could have beaten the Bucks - and will beat them - because I don't think they played all that well."
The Celtics will have a chance to redeem themselves in the coach's eyes today (2 p.m., Ch. 4, WRKO) when they tackle the Knicks. The special time is the result of a concession to the scheduling problems of the New York Rangers, who otherwise would have had to play Game 2 of their Stanley Cup series with Philadelphia on the afternoon following Game 1.
Fitch wants to get this race over with as soon as possible. "I just want to get the horse across the finish line," is the way he put it. In order to do so, he may have to point out to his players that the defensive deficiencies which plagued them in December and January are creeping back into their game.
The Celtics stand 3-1 with the Knicks this season, including a 1-1 record in Madison Square Garden. Winning in the Garden has not proven to be any particular problem in the Larry Bird-Fitch era. But if the team doesn't execute better than it did on Tuesday, it will not be a pleasant apres midi in the Big Apple.