Employee #8 Drops 31, 15, and 5 in Exhibition Game

October 22, 1997

Chris Mills knew it was coming. Over the first four exhibition games, he was, as they say, adapting. Last night he took it a bit further and the Celtics came away with their first win.

Antoine Walker was the undisputed star of this one, playing an absolutely sensational game (31 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists) in a 99-96 victory over the Magic. But Mills was there as well, scoring 19 points (he had 32 in the first four games) with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals. This was the Chris Mills that Celtics fans remembered.

"I'm starting to feel more confident," he said after his 36-minute, 7-for-9 shooting performance, which included his first two 3-pointers. "I was concentrating a lot on the defensive end. I started to be more aggressive on the offensive end."

Mills had 9 points in the fourth quarter, when the Celtics lost a 6-point lead (it had been as high as 14) and seemed on the verge of dropping their fifth straight. Five of those 9 came in a 13-3 run during which Boston regained the lead. Walker (15 for 24) made two huge hoops down the stretch to seal it.

Rick Pitino was asked about his first win and instead talked about how pleased he was that the Celtics had more than 35 deflections, which is a goal for each game. They had not come close in the first four games. He lauded Walker, Mills, Dee Brown (29 minutes, 3 points, 5 assists, 4 steals), and Pervis Ellison (16 minutes, 3 steals, 2 blocked shots).

"I have a horse which may qualify for the Kentucky Derby," Pitino said. "I told Pervis that if he plays all 82 games, I'll give him a piece of the horse."

Pitino didn't elaborate.

Relaxing the press

The Celtics did not press nearly as much as they had in the first four games. "I only want to press 40 or 50 percent of the time," Pitino explained. "It's more effective when you mix it up. We did it more in the other games because we were teaching it. But we want to play these last four games like real games." . . . The Celtics flew home after the game and host the Knicks tonight. They are scheduled to have a shootaround at 3 p.m. . . . Bruce Bowen accompanied the team on the trip but was held out of action because of a concussion . . . Rony Seikaly, the Orlando center, missed the game with a sprained right foot . . . Chauncey Billups started the fourth quarter, made a bad pass, then sat out the rest of the game. Backcourt mate Ron Mercer had it going in the first half (16 points) but took only two shots in the second and finished with 17 points.

No freebies

Nick Anderson is becoming basketball's version of Steve Blass. In the Magic's six exhibition games, he is 18 for 59 from the field (30.5 percent) and, even more amazing, has not attempted a free throw in 157 minutes. Anderson's troubles at the line were well documented last year, and his new three-year deal has incentives based on a better free throw percentage. You can't make them if you don't take them. Then again, you can't miss them, either . . . Old friend Brian Shaw made his exhibition debut (he has been hobbled by a sprained left ankle) and lasted only five minutes, reinjuring himself in the first half . . . The game featured 44 turnovers. Boston turned it over 23 times, leading to 37 Orlando points. The Celtics managed 23 points off 21 Magic turnovers . . . Celtics consultant and former Orlando coach Richie Adubato was at the game. He still lives in the area . . . Pat Williams, the Magic's senior executive vice president, has a new book out called "The Magic of Team Work." Williams should know. He and his new wife are parents to 15 kids, many of them adopted.


Lex said...

Love showed such reverence for Bird, Fairweather said, that at one point Love pointed out how he believes that Bird’s No. 33 ought to be retired by every team in the NBA. Love also said he planned on talking to fellow UCLA alumnus Bill Walton about what it was like playing for the Celtics.

FLCeltsFan said...

Wow He likes Larry almost as much as I do :) And talking to Mountain man.... This looks serious.

Lex said...

Time for Mountain Man to close the deal!

FLCeltsFan said...

If anyone can do it, Big Bill can! He really loved being a Celtic.

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