Fast Eddie strikes

Fast Eddie strikes

December 7, 1991

Every summer, he goes home to New York and tries to give something back to the city kids. And the kids? Those little ingrates, they always seem to delight in really giving it to Ed Pinckney because he wears Celtic green.

"I go home and run a camp in New York and the kids I'm doing the camp for hate the Celtics," Pinckney said. "They love the Knicks. Now when I get back, I'm going to say to them, 'Did you see that game? Did you see it on TV?' "

Pinckney hopes they did, because he really stuck a dagger into their beloved Knicks with an inspired fourth quarter in which he scored 7 of his season-high 15 points and grabbed 7 of his season-high 12 rebounds to spark the Celtics to a 103-97 victory last night at Boston Garden.

Pinckney helped the Celtics take sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division by pinning the Knicks with their 21st consecutive regular-season loss at the Garden.

"Eddie played excellent," said Larry Bird as he was surrounded by a group of reporters while Pinckney quietly dressed near his stall. "Eddie played his best game all year. I know that he's the guy that brought us back. We were down and he came in the game and we got big points from him. He played an exceptional game in the second half."

After the Knicks broke a 51-51 halftime stalemate to take a 73-68 lead at the end of the third, the Celtics appeared to be in jeopardy of suffering a woeful offensive lapse, but Pinckney put a screeching halt to the proceedings by slamming home an offensive rebound and following Rick Fox' jumper with a free throw (courtesy of Charles Oakley's fourth personal) that tied it at 73-73. Pinckney hit two more free throws (he was 7 for 7 on the night) to tie it again at 78-78, and became a monster on the defensive glass (singlehandedly outrebounding the Knicks, 7-2) as the Celtics went on a 12-3 run to build a 90-81 lead with 5:47 to go.

"For me, I can't necessarily say, OK, I'm going to take the game over," Pinckney said. "Again, it was an up-tempo game, and when we're in the up-tempo game, that's when I can shine the most. I can get offensive rebounds and stuff like that. For the most part, I thought John Bagley and Larry Bird took the game over because whatever they did not make I was able to follow up."

It was then, with the game clearly in control, that the crowd began to chant Pinckney's name in the hopes of eliciting yet another animated display such as the one he delighted the Garden gathering with in Wednesday night's romp over the Miami Heat.

However, on this night, there was no need to do The Eddie Shuffle. There was no reason to shove it in the Knicks' faces. Especially not Patrick Ewing's. After all, Pinckney and his Villanova Wildcats had already savored a championship victory over Ewing's Georgetown Hoyas in the 1986 Final Four.

For a while in the fourth quarter, it seemed Pinckney was recreating that momentous Final Four duel against Ewing. But Pinckney refused to make any such comparison.

"No, no, no, it was nothing like that," Pinckney said. "Patrick is a much, much better player now than he was then. If we had to play again tomorrow for the national title, I wouldn't play. But I did not play him alone, I had a lot of help."

Which is exactly what the Celtics got from Pinckney in crunch time.

"In my way, I try to make as much as I can happen by getting follow-up dunks and stuff like that," he said. "When that happens, it's infectious and catches throughout the entire team and we start running.'

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