Celtics Satisfied with Road Result
1983-84 Boston Celtics
Celtics 109, Cavaliers 89
Bloodthirsty Celtic fans were undoubtedly disappointed with the opening weekend split in the suburban tundra of Pontiac, Mich., and Richfield, Ohio, but a realistic coach K.C. Jones said yesterday, "When you start with two games on the road and come back 1-1, I'll take it."
The Celtics dropped a 127-121 decision to the Pistons Friday night, but came back to thrash the sad Cavaliers, 108-89, Saturday evening. "This was a test to find out where the holes are, and let us know where we're going," Jones said. "The half-court defense is our biggest problem thus far."
Detroit danced to a whopping 38-point first quarter Friday and had 70 at halftime. "I was disappointed with our first-half defense in Detroit," said Jones. "I was encouraged by the second-half effort, but we made mental errors that caused our downfall. Saturday night was a complete reversal. Our defense was better, we were aggressive on entry, and all of the sudden we had our fast break again."
The Celtics bolted to a 12-0 lead against Cleveland and scored 16 fast- break points in the first quarter. Kevin McHale led the Celtics with 22 points and Larry Bird helped out with 13 rebounds and 7 assists. Robert Parish, who played one of his worst games as a Celtic Friday (six points and four rebounds in 23 minutes), came back with nine first-quarter points against the Cavaliers.
Starting guards Gerald Henderson and Dennis Johnson played much better against Cleveland. Henderson had 18 points, DJ 12, and both played the brand of pressure defense that was sorely lacking in the Silverdome. Playing time for the guards was divided evenly. In the two games, Johnson played 50 minutes, Henderson 47, Quinn Buckner 45 and Danny Ainge 43. "K.C.'s splitting the time as good as he possibly can," said Johnson. "It's
giving me a chance to get used to everybody."
The next test is Wednesday night when the Milwaukee Bucks (remember them?) come to town for the Celtics' 38th home opener. The shakiest moments of the weekend came Saturday morning when the team flew across Lake Erie in a propeller plane rumored to have last been used for the filming of "Casablanca." DJ wanted no part of the small aircraft and when it finally touched down, Bird's face, at first just ghostly, turned whiter .
McHale hasn't yet returned from the stratosphere. After hitting 61 percent in the preseason, he's shooting 67 percent (16-24) from the floor and 94 percent (15-16) from the line, with 23 rebounds so far in the regular season. He's also played 64 minutes, compared with Parish's 49. Parish's pitiful rebounding (six in two games) might have something to do with the allocation of minutes . . . Cedric Maxwell (28 points and 14 rebounds in two games) did
a nice defensive job on Cliff Robinson Saturday . . . Bird is averaging 19.5 points, 11 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game . . . Henderson has connected on 11 of 18 shots (61 percent), but Ainge is struggling (four of 13 for 31 percent) . . . The Celtics amassed only 25 offensive rebounds while allowing Detroit and Clevland 33 . . . Jones gave his team a day off yesterday. After this morning's practice, several Celtics will be attending an All-Star ballot
press conference-luncheon at Anthony's Pier 4 . . . As The World Turns Department: The Cavaliers were disappointed with their first two home crowds - 6082 for the Knicks and 8194 for Boston. Cleveland appears unimproved. It's hard to see how Lonnie (Pass the Rolls) Shelton is going to help, and watching center Ben Poquette trying to stop McHale was embarrassing.
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