Pinckney has Bound in Step

Pinckney has Bound in Step

March 21, 1994

As Ed Pinckney noted, there were many rebounds to be had during the Celtics' loss to Atlanta yesterday. The problem for the Celtics, though, was that most of those rebounds were going to the Hawks.

If not for Pinckney's season-high 18 rebounds, the Celtics might have been on the losing end of a score worse than the 101-80 final.

"I just wish I could have done something like that earlier in the season," Pinckney said. "It's just too far gone now."

Indeed, the central theme around Celtic games now is barely related to producing victories. Celtic games are more about confronting vulnerabilities, and surviving to tell the tale.

Pinckney's experience has prepared him for such trying times. His professional career did not develop in a protected hothouse environment. He saw first-hand the troubles of a team under duress when he played in Phoenix and Sacramento.

"I've been in situations like this before," he said. "And the worst thing you can do is become a negative factor on the floor. You do that and no one wants to play with you.

"You cannot become a negative factor, especially if you are one of the veterans. If you've been a rookie and seen guys become like that . . . it's a matter of picking up some really bad habits. You want to be as professional as possible all the time. That's important."

Pinckney, and others associated with the Celtics, have had to reorder their priorities in recent months. Pinckney has struggled with injuries. He nearly was traded. Yet, he has survived as a steadying influence on a team that is struggling to maintain its direction.

"The team is trying to find where individuals fit in," Pinckney said. "Right before the trading deadline, I obviously did not fit in.

"But I'm going to go out and play hard and do some things to be a positive factor for the younger guys. You have to do what you can do, basically. The checks are still coming, and if you get paid, you've got to go out and do what you are supposed to do."

Besides setting a good example and providing a dose of sanity to the Celtics' offense, Pinckney is expected to rebound. And many of his rebounds yesterday came while the outcome of the game still was to be decided. Pinckney sank a foul shot after a third-chance rebound, converted a 3-point play, then a follow shot during a third-quarter rally by the Celtics that cut their deficit to 70-63.

However, as the quarter closed, the Celtics could not contend with Kevin Willis' inside moves, Mookie Blaylock's unpredictability and, of all things, Jon Koncak's outside shooting. That, and an endless stream of television timeouts, made for a long day.

"It was on TV, so I hope somebody saw it," Pinckney said of his performance. "Right now, I'm just playing and not worrying about things that are out of my control. Rebounding is something that is in my control. When I go out there, people will at least know I can still rebound.

"If there is an opportunity to go out and play, it's important that I go out and play as hard as possible. You can't become selfish."

Pinckney's optimistic nature is being challenged. He appears prepared to face whatever adversity awaits in the final weeks of the season.

"Things will eventually work out here," Pinckney said, "if people work hard individually."

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