Pinckney ready when needed

May 3, 1990

Pinckney ready when needed

The guy who returns to his hometown for a playoff game has the task of finding tickets for friends and relations. And when the hometown's the largest city in the nation, the task is compounded. Seems that everyone's a friend or a relative.

Such hasn't been a problem for Celtics backup forward Ed Pinckney, the Bronx native who returned home for the playoff game against the New York Knicks last night. Maybe because after the Celtics' convincing victories in Games 1 and 2, few would want to brave New York traffic to watch last night.

"I have enough tickets; I took care of it. Not as many people wanted to come as originally had wanted to," said Pinckney.

Perhaps they should have been at Pinckney's last outing. The 6-foot-9-inch forward from Villanova went 6 for 6 from the floor and 4 for 5 from the line for 16 points in just 14 minutes Saturday during the Celtics' record-setting 157-128 rout. That was a far cry from Game 1, when Pinckney played just three minutes and scored only two free throws.

And it was a far cry from Pinckney's play over the latter part of the season. Pinckney, who started in the Celtics' first 50 games, provided solid play, but Boston desired a better scoring threat. Thus, Pinckney lost the spot to Kevin McHale, whom coach Jimmy Rodgers had wanted to keep as the sixth man. Easy Ed saw his playing time plummet after that: a few spare minutes here and there and a few DNP-CDs to go with them.

That trend continued through the regular season, and it appeared Pinckney wouldn't see much time off the bench in the playoffs. But Rodgers inserted him for the last 14 minutes last Saturday, and Pinckney responded well. Granted, the game was in hand, but his efforts may earn him time back in the rotation later in the playoffs.

"That was just one of those games where everyone was playing especially good," said Pinckney. "Everyone was confident from the floor."

However, Pinckney didn't dwell on his performance. "I don't want to say it was easy, because the game was already decided," he said. "I just think I have to be ready. Everything was just right for us that night. I just have to be prepared."

There are times when he's been prepared but has still ridden the bench. While minutes and numbers have been steady for Joe Kleine, who came over with Pinckney from Sacramento last season in the trade that sent Danny Ainge and Brad Lohaus to the Kings, Pinckney's have been up and down. But he has taken it in stride, choosing not to complain.

"You never really know how many minutes you're going to get," he said. "You just have to be ready. You never know when the time is going to come."

Playing time or not, Pinckney welcomed the homecoming. "I look forward to it," he said. "You know your friends and relatives are going to be watching. You just want to go out and do the best you can.

"It has been fun."

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