Fitch Goes with 9-Man Rotation to Defeat Great 8

January 30, 1983

Bill Fitch seems to think less is more. The Celtics have beaten two good teams (Phoenix Friday and LA yesterday) and the Boston coach used only nine players in each game (Robert Parish, Larry Bird, Cornbread Maxwell, Tiny Archibald, Danny Ainge, Kevin McHale, Quinn Buckner, ML Carr, and Gerald Henderson). Granted, Rick Robey is returning from back problems and will need time to get ready, but Scott Wedman and Charles Bradley haven't played a minute since the Bullets left Boston last Wednesday.

The Lakers are a good example of this system at its best. LA came to town with a seven-game winning streak and a 34-8 record, and coach Pat Riley will tell you that the toughest decision he's had to make all year is his commitment to using only eight of his 12 players.

Playing time in Boston has been a big question mark since the acquisition of Wedman earlier this month, but the situation will resolve itself if certain people never rise fromthe pine. Wedman is making more money than anyone on the team, and it's unlikely Fitch will get any grief from the 30-year-old veteran. Bradley isn't in a very good position to argue, either. Fitch insists that all 12 can contribute, but it is clear that a few people are going to pile up some DNP's unless injuries hit the team.

When Parish walked toward his cubicle after yesterday's victory, Kevin McHale announced to the assembled masses: "Right there is the best center in all of basketball." . . . M. L. Carr ended the first half yesterday with a crowd-pleasing steal and dunk to push the Celtics to a 60-50 lead . . . The Celtics outrebounded the Lakers, 53-43, and took 106 shots to LA's 88 . . . Jabbar scored 16 in the first half, but was held to one rebound . . . Bird had five steals to go along with 21 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists. Meanwhile, Magic had 14 points, 2 steals, 9 rebounds and 10 assists. Also, Bird caused only one turnover compared with Magic's eight. Parish blocked three shots . . . It was the 98th consecutive sellout at the Garden .

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