1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 117, Suns 109
March 12, 1984
It wasn't much of a homecoming for Rick Robey. On the heels of his 9-for- 10, 7-assist, 20-point performance against Indiana Friday night, Robey was held to four points and four rebounds in 16 minutes against the Celtics yesterday. The Robey-for-Dennis Johnson trade will go down as one of the finest capers in Red Auerbach's life of crime. In Boston's two victories against the Suns this year, DJ outscored Robey, 24-6, and outrebounded him, 18-5.
"Rick has played reasonably well," Phoenix coach John MacLeod said after yesterday's 117-109 loss. "He didn't have one of his better games today. He was probably anxious, but I think his game is going to be all right and I think he's going to help us." Robey said, "It was good to be back, but I didn't play well. Any time you come back to a situation like this I guess you're a little tentative . . . Hey, the Celtics have a lot of talent. They're just a great team. This is the second time I've played against 'em, except for when I practiced against 'em, and it's completely different."
Said Larry Bird, who has had a running exchange of one-liners with Robey since the trade: "Rick is going to be a player in about 20 years." On a more serious note, Bird added, "I never thought Rick could go downhill like he did. He's getting limited minutes and he needs minutes to be effective. When I was a rookie and Dave Cowens got hurt, Rick was playing 35 minutes a night and he played great." Meanwhile, Johnson was trying not to make a big deal about the situation. "Every game is a big game for me," said DJ.
The Suns had only 10 players. Alvan Adams (bruised left knee) and Alvin Scott (strained left foot) were not with the team. Robey has moved ahead of Adams and will remain backup center when Adams returns . . . You may not have noticed, but when DJ, Robey and Paul Westphal are on the floor simultaneously, Johnson is playing against two players he was traded for in two separate deals . . . Boston was 44-20 after 64 games last year . . . The Celtics are averaging only 15 turnovers in their last four games . . . Celtics assistant coach Jimmy Rodgers turns 41 today . . . The Celtics are home Wednesday night vs. Washington, home again Friday night against Milwaukee and travel to Atlanta Saturday night.