December 18, 1980
CELTICS NOTEBOOK ROBEY DOES BIG JOB IN PIVOT
These have not been the best of times for Rick Robey, as all Celtic followers know.
In the beginning, there had been parity between Boston's two big centers. Robert Parish has been a starter from the outset of the season, but in some of the early games Robey got equal time. One night in Piscataway, N.J., they pulled a Lenkaitis-Brock, with Parish playing the first and third periods and Robey the second and fourth. Playing 24 minutes apiece, they combined for 38 points and 21 rebounds. But as Parish began to assert himself, Robey's playing time was reduced, and he was unable to pro-rate his production adequately. He obviously needed the minutes.
But last evening Robey's time came again. Parish was bedeviled by Montezuma's Revenge and foul trouble. His playing time was reduced to 14 minutes. It was Rick Robey who did the big job in the middle, playing good defense while contributing 16 points (the most he had scored since a 17-point outing on Nov. 26 against Portland), and nine rebounds in the 115-98 Celtic triumph.
"I can't be frustrated in this situation," Robey said, "not the way Robert has been playing. He's been playing the best center in terms of scoring and shot blocking that I've seen since I came in the league. Sure, I'd like to play more, but when you win, everybody benefits. I know that from my college days at Kentucky. Everybody on our bench is doing well because we won the national championship."
Gerald Henderson didn't exactly have a night he'd like to tell the folks in Richmond about, shooting 2 for 12. "I told Gerald," said Fitch, "that whatever he ate, wherever he went, whatever he did today, never to do them again. He was hardly in the arena." . . . Jerry Sloan was more than a little amazed to gaze at the stat sheet and see that his team had a total of one (1) steal in the entire ballgame, and that by that noted second-story man, Coby Dietrick. That told the fiery Chicago coach all he wanted to know about his team's defensive aggressiveness . . . The Celtics may have established a new post-24 second clock team standard by only committing eight turnovers, good for seven Chicago points.
Bill Fitch played around some at the end of the first period when he made a once-in-a-lifetime Duerod (Terry) for Parish (Robert) substitution with 12 seconds left and Chicago's Dwight Jones on the line. Fitch was looking for another shooter, of course, and what transpired was the prettiest press breakthrough you'd ever want to see, culminated by Chris Ford's three-pointer . . . Bob Wilkerson did his best to keep Chicago alive in the third period, when he scored 14 of his season-high 28 points on a variety of shots . . . Bird shot 9 for 17 and is now 31 for 55 over the last three games.