Cold shooting and hot discussion from Walker

February 22, 1999

 Cold shooting and hot discussion from Walker

WASHINGTON - Antoine Walker has made a habit of torching Washington in his brief career. He had 49 points against the Wizards last year in one game and knocked down the game-winner in another. In five games against the Wizards last season, Walker averaged 28.6 points and 11.4 rebounds. Yesterday, there was none of that in the Celtics' 86-75 loss. Walker was in a fog all game, scoring just 8 points on 2-of-12 shooting. He missed his first six shots and his last four and snapped a string of 42 straight games in double figures dating back to an 8-point game against Dallas on Feb. 4, 1998. "A bad day," he said. "This is one that you want to forget. I missed a couple shots early and then I lost my confidence.

You just gotta move on." Coach Rick Pitino said Walker "let the game get to him a little bit. He was struggling. Losing isn't fun." Juwan Howard, who was torched by Walker last year, said "This is only one game. We have two more against them [ actually it's three] and I'm sure he will remember this. He made me remember when he scored 49. He has a hot hand, but I have my pride, too. Walker also had a hot head yesterday. He and Kenny Anderson got into an argument during a play in the third quarter. Asked about the situation afterward, Pitino said, "It won't happen again. It's something that never should have happened on the court and we'll address it." When pressed further on the matter by an unfamiliar reporter, Pitino said, "Are you from New York?" Anderson dismissed the incident. Walker did as well. "It's something that should happen in the locker room," Walker said. "We're human. We make mistakes.

We've got to find a way to get over it." Clang-o-rama Yesterday's offensive performance was the second-worst in the Pitino Era in terms of shooting and third-lowest in points scored. The Celtics' 32.5 percent clang-o-rama was still not as bad as their 31-percent performance against San Antonio Jan. 13, 1998. The 75 points beat only back-to-back efforts of 70 and 74 early last season against the Knicks and Miami . . . The Wizards announced a sellout, though it looked as if there were more than a few empty seats. This was one of the team's Welcome The Fans Back days and 4,000 tickets were sold which brought with them a drink and a hot dog . . . Pitino started Dana Barros and Bruce Bowen in the backcourt to try to get some early defensive pressure on Rod Strickland. By the time the two were replaced by Anderson and Ron Mercer, it was 6-4, Washington. The coach said the lineup change was not a shakeup. "I'm not a big shakeup guy," he said . . . Barros, meanwhile, is struggling with his shooting. He was 2 for 12 yesterday and has missed all 11 3-pointers he has attempted in the last two games. "I usually start off the season slow, but not like this," he said. "I'm frustrated, but not worried. I'm just a little short with everything." Pitino said he wants Barros to keep firing away. (The coach was guilty of a heat-of-the-game malaprop, telling Barros to keep shooting "until you keep missing.") . . . Tony Battie was active off the pine with 11 rebounds in 26 minutes. Andrew DeClercq got his first start of the year and won the center toss. Eric Riley played only four minutes while Dwayne Schintzius and Greg Minor both registered DNPs . . . The Wizards are introduced as the basketball team from "the most powerful city in the world." . . . The teams play three more times, in 18 days in April.

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