February 23, 1983
smoggy skies and the threat of a rare three-game losing streak, the
Celtics make their annual visit to the fabulous Forum tonight. A joust
with the Lakers is always a glamor game, but tonight's match is
especially significant because the Celtics must win to avert the
indignity of three straight losses - something that has happened only
once in the four seasons since Bill Fitch and Larry Bird came to Boston.
never easy to win here, and it will be especially tough because the
Celtics are playing poorly (Golden State smacked them, 17-2, down the
stretch Saturday), and the Lakers are out to avenge the 110-95 beating
they took in the Garden Jan. 30.
Lakers coach Pat Riley
says, "I think we're going to be more prepared for them than we were
last time. There are a couple of things we have to focus on. Certain
players they have increase the tempo defensively. Last time, M.L. Carr
and Gerald Henderson and Cedric Maxwell did it for them. We have to take
the challenge defensively, accept the pressure and fight through it."
doesn't think Boston's recent problems necessarily will carry over.
"When you get to this level, that doesn't make any difference," he says.
"I don't think the fact that they've lost the last two will have
anything to do with it." Fitch says, "They can all add to three . . .
But I don't think there's any mental attitude. You just have to come
into it wth the attitude that you're going to play your best basketball
or you're not going to beat LA."
At this juncture,
incentive must come from within. The Celtics are locked in second place
in the Atlantic Division, seven games behind the white-hot Sixers. The
NBA champion Lakers have virtually clinched the top spot in the Pacific
Division, but won't have a realistic shot at compiling the best overall
LA's Great Eight may be reduced to the Not So
Deep Six tonight. Bob McAdoo has an injured toe on his right foot and
has missed the last three games. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar came down with one
of his migraine headaches and had to leave practice yesterday. If he
can't play, LA probably will go with Kurt Rambis at center, Jamaal
Wilkes and Michael Cooper up front, Norm Nixon and Magic Johnson in the
backcourt and James Worthy coming off the pine.
is a firm believer in the eight-man rotation: "Somewhere along the line
you make a decision. With eight players, they know their roles and how
much time they're going to get and they know they're not going to get
the hook if they don't play well. If you could convince 12 guys you were
going to platoon it would be different, but I don't think that's
realistic in this league. You find your best eight, go with that
rotation and hope the guys on the bench are ready to play if you need
them." Tiny Archibald couldn't have said it any better.
Buckner, who has missed four staight games with a slight tear in his
ankle, is "still shaky," according to Fitch . . . Archibald was a chief
contributor (15 assists) when the Celtics beat the Lakers, Jan. 30. Last
season, the Celtics won in Inglewood, 108-103, one week after losing to
the Lakers, 119-113, at Boston Garden . . . A loss tonight would make
the Celtics 1-3 on the trip and give them four losses in six games.
Boston lost four of six from Dec. 16 to Dec. 28 earlier this season . . .
The Lakers are second in the the NBA in team offense, averaging 116.9
points . . . Lakers owner Jerry Buss has yet to talk with Abdul-Jabbar's
agent, Tom Collins. Abdul-Jabbar will be a free agent at the end of the
season. Collins has already talked (with Buss' permission) with the
Knicks, Nets and Sonics.