The Celtics are continuing to buzz about Patrick Ewing, who has somehow remained a mini-secret while playing in NEW YORK.
"He's playing real well," Robert Parish said. "He's played well all year. I think the coaching change had something to do with it. He knew he was going to be able to start playing the whole game. That, and it's a different philosophy. With all the negative press they've been getting, I'm sure he wanted to get going with a good year."
Ewing wasn't able to beat the Celtics until Johnny Newman ignited as an outside threat Wednesday. This opened the post for Patrick, who reacted by earning and converting a Knick playoff record of 11 straight free throws.
To say he has been active is the understatement of the series. In three games, Ewing is shooting .556 and averaging 21.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4 blocks. "Ewing is blocking shots and then getting out on the break," said K.C. Jones, who will be happy to get on to the next round and Tree Rollins or Jack Sikma.
Before Wednesday's game, Jones asked to see more of the New York press. It bit him. So he walked the Celtics through their anti-press offense for several minutes in practice yesterday.
"This is an 'adjustment,' " Jones said. "The execution should have been there from Day 1."
"I think we got a little impatient," Danny Ainge said. "Our 19 turnovers that led to 25 points was the key to the game. I think if we keep our turnovers down below 12 or so, we'll be OK.
"Whether it was them or us, it happened. That's what the press wants you to do: miss long shots, throw cross-court passes, and that's what we did. It shouldn't, but it did."
WILKINS DRAWS DJ
In a defensive switch, Rick Pitino assigned Gerald Wilkins to cover Dennis Johnson. "We use Gerald's height (6 feet 6 inches) to obscure Johnson's vision (in Game 3)," Pitino said. "DJ wasn't able to just look over the defense and get the ball to (Larry) Bird in the low post."
Wilkins said his job was "not to stop Johnson, but try and keep him from being a huge asset." Wilkins said his height also prevented Johnson from posting up (the way Johnson did against Mark Jackson at Boston Garden). "I wanted to go head to head with him and try my best," said Wilkins. "You're never going to completely stop Dennis Johnson. He was the MVP of the first two games."
LACK OF PLAYS THE THING
Pitino said the Celtics didn't run their plays in Game 3 and that it made a significant difference. In fact, he said it made all the difference. "If they run their plays to a large degree," said Pitino, "they'll win."
PACE HECTIC FOR BIRD
Sitting in street clothes, Bill Walton had a chance to study the Knickerbockers' treatment of Bird. "The frantic pace had a lot to do with him having an off game," said Walton of Bird's 8-for-22 shooting. "Larry's a flow player. That grabbing, holding defense that the Knicks play prevented him from getting into his shooting rhythm. The Celtics have got to be ready to set picks away from the ball to get him loose."
Assistant-and-soon-to-be-head-coach Jimmy Rodgers added that Boston "never looked inside to get Bird the ball when he went cold from outside."
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