Number Six Out of the Mix

October 31, 2005

When the Celtics media guides are distributed this week, one famous face will be missing from the front of the tome.

   Hall of Famer and Boston legend Bill Russell no longer will serve as team consultant, a position he held for six years. According to team spokesman Jeff Twiss , logistical issues necessitated the end of the working relationship. With Russell living in Seattle, he wasn't always available when the team needed him. Plus, the league has made more demands on Russell's time in recent years with the legends tour.

        Twiss said there is "no bitterness" on either side regarding the split.

Past media guides noted Russell worked with the team in several areas, including basketball operations, marketing, and community relations. But he rarely was seen in Boston, and the Celtics wanted more of a presence. He usually traveled to the city when it coincided with other business interests. He did always attend Celtics-Sonics games in Seattle.

Other team legends will continue to work for the team. Bob Cousy serves as a marketing consultant and makes occasional appearances on Fox Sports New England broadcasts. Jo Jo White will continue as director of special projects and be a presence at local community events. And look for more Hall of Famers to become involved with the team. Robert Parish will have a new and expanded role this season. He was in town recently for the Celtics Gala fund-raising dinner at the Four Seasons.

Coach Doc Rivers has expressed an interest in getting players from the past more involved with the players of the future. He wants current players to have a better understanding of Celtic pride and team history.

   Numbers don't lie

   The final statistics from the exhibition games are out, and Boston ranked at or near the top of the league in turnovers per game (21.0) and fouls (30.87).

   The only good news is that Opening Night opponent New York was one of two teams to commit more turnovers during the preseason, with an average of 22.6. The Bobcats, whom the Celtics will face in their first road game, were the only team to commit more fouls, with 31.87 per game.

   For Rivers, the turnovers are more of a concern than the fouls, since he figures exhibition games are called extra tight.

"It's the preseason officiating to a fault," he said. "That's what [the officials] do, and it's fine. We are trying to have the league clean up some of the holding and grabbing and I think you have to exaggerate it a little bit. It's probably a good thing to do. They try to give the players guidelines.

   "Players always adjust. It's why I've never been too concerned about any rule changes. No matter what the rules are, they're going to adjust, then they're going to figure out how to take it to the brink, then they're going to figure out how to cheat it. That's what players do. That's what they're good at.

   "Turnovers are more a concern. That's horrendous."

  Not much time

   If the Celtics are not physically and mentally well rested when the regular season starts, they have no one to blame but themselves. Since their final exhibition game Wednesday, Rivers has given the players two days off from practice, Thursday and yesterday. After the offday Thursday, practice went so poorly that Rivers called for a double session Friday. He hopes he won't have to do the same today when the team returns to work. But there is precious little time left before Boston faces New York on Opening Night at the TD Banknorth Garden Wednesday . . . The Celtics will celebrate Halloween this afternoon at Children's Hospital with some reverse trick-or-treating the players will be knocking on patient's doors and giving away candy.

No comments:

Follow by Email