Post-Trade Reflections from Red

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March 9, 2002

Team president and patriarch Red Auerbach visited the FleetCenter last night, surveying the post-trade Celtics in person for the first time. He touched on a number of topics, including the deal, the play of Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce, the coaching of Jim O'Brien, the playoffs, and the future of Joseph Forte, in typical fashion. Up-front and unsparing. But truth be told, he had no complaints about the way the Celtics have played this season.

On the trade for Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk: "It's like a shot in the arm. You get a little help that you don't expect at that time of the year. So far, it seems to be working out pretty good. I'm sure it will."

    On the success of Walker and Pierce: "It doesn't surprise me at all. I knew they had it in them. It was just a matter of putting it out there. Antoine had to get more rebounds than he got, and he's doing that. Pierce is a scorer, but he had to realize there are two sides to the court and the offense by itself was not enough. So, he's playing a lot better all-around basketball . . . I have complete respect for their games this year."

On O'Brien: "I don't give him advice now. I just leave him alone and let him do what he's doing. He's doing great. When you start giving advice, you become what they call a meddler, and I'm not a meddler."

On the playoffs: "The old expression is that you play one game at a time and all that nonsense. But actually, your objective is to make the playoffs and then worry later, whatever you do. But we haven't been in the playoffs for a while, so we have to savor that. You make that and it's a hell of an accomplishment. After that, you want more and you go looking for whatever you can get."

On Forte: "You've got to play who you think in your mind is going to help win for you. With the pressure so intense, you really don't have time to spend developing. You just can't do it. You've just got to play whoever can help you the most right now. [Forte] will get all his experience through practicing. You plan on him next year. I think he's a good ballplayer. I think he's a hell of a ballplayer. I think his time will come." Biding his time

Eric Williams doesn't mind the extra bench time he's been getting as O'Brien works Delk and Rogers into the rotation. Last night against the Pistons, Williams got some time defending Corliss Williamson and finished with 4 points and two rebounds in eight minutes.

"I'm a professional athlete," said Williams. "I know there's going to be times when guys are going to be playing a little bit better. There's only 12 guys, and only five can play at a time."

Williams has been nursing left knee tendinitis all season. He also dislocated his right pinkie Feb. 5 against Charlotte, and the injury has been slow to heal.     Screen shot

Pierce aggravated his left wrist sprain late in the game but it is not considered serious. "I got caught in the middle of a screen," he said. "It's still a little sore. It's still bothering me. It's something that I'll probably have with me the rest of the year. It's something I'm not really worried about." . . . Don't count Dana Barros out yet. The former Celtic has been on the injured list since Jan. 10 with a pulled left hamstring. But he's hoping to help Detroit's drive toward the playoffs. "I've been practicing the last four days, and I'm hoping to come back next week when we go out West," said Barros. "It's been great this year. A lot of it's ugly, but we're winning. Even I'm playing defense. I'm just anxious to get into the playoffs. I haven't been there since '93, and that's a lot of losing. That's why I'm taking my time, because I want to be healthy for that." . . . Team physician Arnold Scheller was back last night. He has spent the last month in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was not at liberty to discuss his duties . . . The Celtics took their team picture yesterday, and for the second straight year, owner Paul Gaston was not present.

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