Employee #8 Needs to Use his Knees

November 13, 1997
Remember: It's all in the knees. That's what Antoine Walker told himself last night. And when he wasn't saying it, Rick Pitino was screaming it from the sideline. "Knees, Antoine, knees." 

That's knees, as in "bend your knees." Pitino had mentioned that he might bring in a shot doctor if Walker didn't improve his free throw shooting. He went into last night's game a 53.5 percent shooter. But he made 10 of 11 in the Celtics' 96-86 win over the Nuggets. His knee form was nearly perfect.

"I felt very comfortable shooting that way," Walker said. "I watched some video of myself and I was falling backward when I shot." Pitino told him that if he used his knees, the dip would carry his body forward.

Perhaps the entire team listened. After a 15-for-27 effort at the line against the Bucks Saturday, theCeltics were 24 for 27.

Did the threat of a shot doctor scare Walker?

"I don't need that; I'll be all right," he said. "I mean, I'm not that bad."

Operators standing by?

If the Celtics want to deal one of their point guards, they should at least make a call to the 303 (Denver) area code. Anthony Goldwire and Bobby Jackson combined for 15 points, 13 turnovers, and 6 assists last night . . . Celtics second-round pick Ben Pepper attended the game, the first NBA game he's seen live. "It was pretty awesome," said Pepper. He leaves town today for Texas to see his agent, will fly from there to Japan, and eventually will land in Australia . . . A writer from Denver asked Pitino about trade rumors concerning Chauncey Billups. The coach said he never attempted to trade the rookie and that five teams have come to him with offers. "We've said no within five seconds," Pitino said.

Nowhere man

Sources have indicated that the Celtics and the agent for Greg Minor have discussed buying out the shooting guard's contract. However, that possibility appears to be unlikely for a simple reason: Minor does not want to give up guaranteed money. And there is a sizable pile of loot due the 6-foot-6-inch Minor. He has four years remaining on a contract worth $ 10 million. Since he probably won't be willing to negotiate and since another team is unlikely to trade for someone who hadn't played a minute this season before last night, Minor will have to get used to being a sitting Celtic. Bruce Bowen is ahead of him for backup shooting guard/small forward minutes. And Dee Brown is ahead of him at shooting guard, too. "I think Greg Minor has talent," Pitino said. "I think he should be able to play in this league. We've got to find him some time. It's not his fault that he has the contract he has. We're trying to set a precedent not to do that. Dino Radja was the exception." . . . Roy Rogers said he wanted to do something different. He succeeded. He had his picture taken by the Celtics media relations department wearing his new uniform. The number: 99. "I don't think there's ever been a No. 99 here," Rogers said. "Hopefully, I'll be the first and last." Rogers is right. When he is eventually activated from the injured list, he will be the first 99 in team history.

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