1988 Eastern Conference Finals: Bird Slacking Off in Practice, Too

May 30, 1988

Nobody's ever going to accuse Larry Bird of not practicing enough. That is, not until now. Bird is in a three-game slump, and his shooting percentage bears closer resemblance to Wade Boggs' batting average than Bird's usual greatness. The keenest of Bird-watchers -- the man who rebounds and then feeds Bird those crisp passes in his legendary shootaround -- says that recently Bird has been taking a lot fewer pregame practice shots.

"Usually I break a sweat," said Celtics assistant equipment manager Joe Qatato. "But the last three games I've noticed we've been out for just a short time. It's unusual." Qatato says he doesn't keep count but has been told by reporters that Bird shoots roughly an average of 300 shots before each game, and even more during playoff time. Thus far in the Detroit series, he launched 107 practice shots prior to Game 1, 104 prior to Game 2 in Boston and 119 before Game 3 at the Silverdome.

Could Bird be hurting?

"No," said Qatato. "Larry's one of my best friends and everything's fine both physically and mentally. The Pistons are playing good defense and, hey, look at all the rebounds he's getting." Has Qatato said anything to Bird about shooting only for 10 or 12 minutes? "No," said Qatato. "It's not my place to ask -- he calls the shots."

"I don't think you can read anything into it," said general manager Jan Volk. "You have to ask him," said coach K.C. Jones. "I don't watch him shoot." Maybe Bird is just trying to conserve energy, "No," said Bird. "I don't count my shots. I couldn't tell you if I shot more or I shot less."

Bird patiently signed every autograph after Saturday's loss, and yesterday gleefully posed with a local high school basketball team whose gym the Celtics borrowed to practice. The man doesn't seem worried. But if practice does indeed make perfect, the Celtics are in trouble. Shooting at the other end of the court last week was a guy with a ready smile who's there when Bird arrives and he's still there when Bird leaves. He tossed up 356 shots before Game 2 and 373 before Game 3.

His name is Isiah Thomas.


Lex said...

Back into the top twenty!


Funny, cuz I haven't done anything different, though y'all have been posting more.

Perhaps the key!!!

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Lex said...




y'all ready for a little purple-green?

How did the world manage to get by for 21 years without this chit???!!!

Lex said...

The Lakers need Bynum against the Celtics... with Andrew now playing with torn cartilage in his knee, trying to see how long he can go before requiring surgery.

ABC’s Jeff Van Gundy even suggested pulling Bynum out of this series, since the Lakers can tower over the Suns without him, perhaps even for a quick arthroscopic proceedure to get him ready for the Finals.

However, with no certainty it could have Bynum back in 10 days, the Laker medical staff has no procedures scheduled.

Instead, they’re all just tiptoeing through this.

"We’ll really be watching it closely," said Coach Phil Jackson before the game.

Lex said...

Bynum hurt . . . again?????

Lex said...

Bynum went 18 minutes Wednesday, only five in the second half, scoring 13 points with seven rebounds in one of his better recent performances.

In the bad news for the Lakers, the knee isn’t getting any better.

Lex said...

"It’s just painful, that’s all it is, so I’ll keep trying to play," said Bynum. "Today I was able to be a little more effective out there....

"It’s getting a little more painful but that’s because I’m playing on a torn meniscus. It is what it is."

Lex said...

Celtics getting defensive
By Eamon Convey | Thursday, May 20, 2010 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Boston Celtics
Photo by AP

The Celtics [team stats]’ refocus on the defensive end of the court is paying off in victories this postseason. And it doesn’t take a mathematician to do the figuring. The Green are an astonishing 25-1 since November when holding their opponent under 90 points, 8-0 in the playoffs.

Here’s a look at the Great Eight defensive showcases this postseason:

April 17

Game 1 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

At TD Garden

Celtics 85, Miami 76

Behind a stellar defensive effort by Tony Allen against Heat star Dwyane Wade, the Celtics scored 38 points off the 22 turnovers they forced in the game. Doc Rivers’ squad also held the Heat to just 39.7 percent shooting despite being outrebounded, 40-37.

April 20

Game 2 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

At TD Garden

Celtics 106, Miami 77

Despite Kevin Garnett’s absence (suspension), the Celtics dominated the Heat behind an overall defensive effort in which Miami was held to 38 percent shooting for the night. The Celtics also outrebounded Miami, 50-33, and went on a defense-led 44-8 run spanning two quarters to seal the game.

April 27

Game 5 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

At TD Garden

Celtics 96, Miami 86

Once again the Celtics were able to hold the Heat under 40 percent shooting for the night (39.2), as well as force 20 turnovers. Rajon Rondo [stats] lead the way with four steals to secure a spot in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Cavaliers.

May 3

Game 2 Eastern Conference Semifinals

At Quicken Loans Arena

Celtics 104, Cleveland 86

Rajon Rondo’s 19 assists helped power the Celtics to victory, but the defense was the real story. The C’s held the Cavaliers to 4-of-21 (19.0 percent) shooting from 3-point range, and 28-of-70 (40.0) overall. The Celtics took hold of the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Cavs, 31-12, to seal the win.

May 9

Game 4 Eastern Conference Semifinals

At TD Garden

Celtics 97, Cleveland 87

Again Rajon Rondo came up huge offensively with an electrifying triple-double (19 points, 13 assists, 18 rebounds), but the defense ultimately earned the Celts the “W”. The Green forced 17 turnovers and outrebounded the Cavs, 47-33. The Celtics outscored the reigning East champs, 23-15, in the final quarter to ensure the win and even the series at two games apiece.

May 11

Game 5 Eastern Conference Semifinals

At Quicken Loans Arena

Celtics 120, Cleveland 88

The Celtics dominated the Cavs, handing Cleveland its worst home loss in team history. The C’s held LeBron James to 15 points on just 3-of-14 shooting in perhaps his last home game in a Cavaliers uniform. The Celtics once again outscored the Cavs in the final period, 40-25, to seal the win and send the series back to Boston with a chance to end it at home.

May 13

Game 6 Eastern Conference Semifinals

At TD Garden

Celtics 94, Cleveland 85

LeBron James’s triple-double (27 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists) in his potential last game as a Cavalier was not enough to overcome the Celtics defensive pressure. King James and the Cavs had 24 turnovers in the game, which secured the Celts a date with the Orlando Magic and the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in three years.

May 16

Game 1 Eastern Conference Finals

At Amway Arena

Celtics 92, Orlando 88

The Celtics jumped out to a lead that grew to as many as 20 points before nearly letting it slip away down the stretch. But the Celtics held the Magic to their lowest point total (88), lowest field goal percentage (41.6 percent), lowest 3-point percentage (22.7 percent), and the worst assist-to-turnover ratio (10-18) of the entire postseason.

Lex said...

“I would rather play,” said Ray Allen. “When you have two or three off days, you start to think of things like, oh, the closet needs cleaning.”

Matty said...

god bless the herald! its always a good read!

I agree that they totally need bynum playing, and well if they really have a chance!! against either us or the poodles!

Also i have no idea how we lasted for 21 years without it either! its so good! BEAT LA!

The bit about ray cleaning his closet made me laugh! legend! lets hope he's focused on raining threes for us on Saturday night, rather than spring cleaning!

p.s congrats on getting back into the top twenty!! Always good stuff!

Lex said...

The Poodles, I forgot about that comment.

Ryan said...

This Bynum excuse is just getting out of hand. Am I missing something? What has he ever done to warrant this status? In the finals last year he averaged, I believe, 19 minutes per game. That's less than a half! I almost want him traded to Toronto just so we can see how fast he goes from a dominant force to a pretty good player with a long history of injuries.

Ryan said...

"I almost want him traded to Toronto just so we can see how fast he goes from a dominant force to a pretty good player with a long history of injuries."

To clarify, I expect him to completely fall off the radar of the national media when he's not playing for the lakers.

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