Waltah and Bowen are Energy Guys


Waltah and Bowen are Energy Guys

 February 3, 1999

WALTHAM - He wasn't happy with them Monday. That was when Rick Pitino said his team was in "terrible" shape and that his players couldn't even attempt to go through double sessions. So what did yesterday bring? "We had our best practice, by far," the Celtics coach said. "We had the best practice we've had in two years. It was an awesome practice."

Shortly after saying that, Pitino announced that Kenny Anderson did not practice. "That's probably why we had such a good practice," he cracked. But the truth is that the good session had more to do with who was there than who wasn't. "I think having Walter [ McCarty] coming back and Bruce [ Bowen] coming back, we had all our energy guys," Pitino said. McCarty practiced after sitting out with a sore toe. Bowen had been bothered with a sore wrist. Ron Mercer, who is not practicing because of a sprained right knee, was impressed with McCarty. "It was his first practice, and he went out and played great," Mercer said of his friend.

"He was hustling. It was the same old Walter, but he had a lot more energy. I guess he's been saving it over the last seven or eight months, and now Coach let him loose. He was everywhere." Long and short of deal Pitino explained giving McCarty a three-year contract extension. "The most important thing is you don't get caught with six- and seven-year contracts," he said. "I think this organization has had a problem with that. You have marketable players when you have short-term contracts. Not that we're looking to trade him, but you get the most value out of them with short-term contracts." It was mentioned to Pitino that he might be understating the Celtics' long-term contract problems, especially when you consider the deals of Dee Brown (six years), Dana Barros (six years), Pervis Ellison (six years), and Greg Minor (five years).

"That's any organization," he said. "When you sign guys to six, seven years and they're not one of your top three or four players, that's a problem. Because let's say they don't pan out; we all make our mistakes. If they don't pan out, you can't possibly trade them, and if they do pan out, great." Point-by-point plan Anderson will be back at practice today and Barros will take the day off; Pitino is trying to rest his point guards . . . Pitino said he is not sure whom he will start if Mercer can't go Friday against Toronto . . . The Celtics haven't opened with two consecutive home games since 1978. They lost both, to the Rockets and Cavaliers . . . Master P is now an ex-Charlotte Hornet. The rapper, who owns the agency that represents Mercer, was waived Monday. Mercer said he thought the Master (also known as Percy Miller) had a chance to make the roster. "I saw what he was capable of doing this summer because he worked out with all NBA players," Mercer said. "I guess it just wasn't meant to be. You never know; in a year or so, he might buy him a team. You never know."

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