1983-84 Boston Celtics
K.C. Jones started yesterday's practice with a team meeting.
"It wasn't anything special," Jones said after the workout. "I just wanted to call the guys together and tell 'em what I'm looking for. We've only lost 15 games and we're still five games up on the nearest guy. I just wanted to go over what's been our problems - turnovers and lack of execution." Wednesday night's 102-98 beating in Boston Garden at the hands of the Knicks alarmed the Celtics' fandom. It was Boston's third loss in four games and dropped the Celtics' record to 1-3 against New York.
Beating good teams has been a problem for the Celts. Against the 76ers, Knicks and Lakers, Boston is a combined 3-8. Against Atlantic Division foes, the Celts are a disappointing 7-8. The Celtics have fattened up on Central Division teams, 21-2, and have a chance to improve that tonight in Hartford against the Chicago Bulls. However, come playoff time, the Celts will have to beat Washington, New York, Philly, LA, etc. That's why K.C. wants to address the turnover/executi on problem.
"These are two small problems that can be dealt with," said Jones. "As far as the team goes, we've gone this far without players getting upset with other players. We have a lot of character. When things are not going well, no one is pointing fingers at anyone else. They understand each other and that's the hard part. "I just wanted to tell 'em: Here's where we are and who we are.' The players agreed and added to it . . . It's turnovers at the wrong time and lack of execution. We have to nail it down now and work at that aspect of our game."
Jones cited instances against the Clippers, Lakers and Knicks when the Celtics had chances to win but kicked away opportunities. The Celtics scored only two points in the final 4:11 of Wednesday's loss. Boston's last nine possessions yielded 2 points, 3 turnovers, 5 missed shots and 0 offensive rebounds. Larry Bird took only one shot in the stretch - accounting for the two points.
Dennis Johnson and Gerald Henderson have been guilty of turnovers and dubious shot selection in the closing minutes, but Jones said he has no plans to change his lineup. The Celtics haven't had many meetings this year. "This was constructive," said Cedric Maxwell. "We've got to get our heads right. We've lost a couple of games to teams we'll probably play in the playoffs. Basically, everybody knows what we need to do. K.C.'s just reviewing it a little.
"There's no need to panic. We just need better execution and more poise."
The Celtics play Chicago tonight (7:30, Ch. 4) in their final Hartford appearance of the season. They have won four straight at the Civic Center . . . The Bulls are reeling. They've lost seven of eight since trading Reggie Theus for Steve Johnson. Johnson is averaging 16 minutes, 5.5 points and 3.3 rebounds, but Chicago has been beaten by an averaged of 26.6 points in its last three games. Kevin Loughery is still going with rookie guards Ennis Whatley and Mitchell Wiggins. The Celts are 3-0 vs. Chicago . . . Despite Boston's loss and Philly's win Wednesday night, the Celtics' magic number is 17 with 24 to play.
Robert Parish had 16 rebounds against the Knicks, but looks tired. His scoring is way down - only 14 points per game in his last six games . . . Kevin McHale has shot 63 percent (43 for 68) and averaged 23.5 points in his last four games . . . Rookie Winfred King was on the bench Wednesday and watched practice yesterday. He is recovering from shoulder surgery and will give it another try at rookie camp in August . . . The Celtics have shot 47, 44 and 45 percent in losses to San Diego, LA and New York . . . M.L. Carr has not played in six of the last seven games.
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