Quick break from gate puts Pinckney on a roll

Quick break from gate puts Pinckney on a roll

November 17, 1989

You don't see fire in Ed Pinckney's eyes when he gets off to a good start. He doesn't point at the crowd or give high fives to his teammates or hurl a clenched fist. He's not the cocky type.

But the veteran Celtics forward is a different player when he gets out of the blocks quickly. You can sense his confidence building after every successful jumper or blocked shot or dunk. It is important that he establish himself early in a game; the quicker he finds his range, the better he plays.

"Once you get a few easy baskets, you start to get into a flow," he said. "And that makes it a lot easier."

Wednesday night's Celtics-Nets game was hardly a minute old before Pinckney began flowing. He started things off with a right-lane, two-handed slam on a feed from Larry Bird - Boston's first score. Two possessions later, Pinckney scored the team's second bucket on a fadeaway jumper. And two minutes later, he followed up a missed shot with an offensive rebound and tip-in. That made the score 10-6, Boston, and gave the veteran forward his sixth point just four minutes into the game.

Pinckney finished with 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting and 3 assists in just 22 minutes of work during the Celtics' 126-92 romp. It marked the second consecutive impressive outing for the former Villanova standout, and it was also the second consecutive time he got off to a fast start. He scored 10 of his 12 points against Philadelphia Tuesday in the first quarter.

"It's been all right," said Pinckney, describing his play. "I'm just waiting until we go back on the road. That's when the real test comes in.

"Larry got most of the rebounds against New Jersey; he cleaned the glass well. He took the load of rebounding off me."

Pinckney was being modest. But when coach Jimmy Rodgers was asked to describe the forward's play, he didn't hold back.

"He's had back-to-back good games. I think that one of the things we've been trying to do is find some consistency. Wednesday night, we were trying to do that with solid play. Eddie is one of the persons who has come on strong and has provided that for us."

Pinckney realizes how important it is for him to start off well. Not that he believes he can't bounce back after a poor start. But things just seem to go better when he gets going early.

"Starting off right is important, especially if you're in the starting lineup," said Pinckney. "A good start doesn't neccessarily mean scoring points. It also means just running the floor and getting the fast break started."

There have been times when he didn't do well in the early going, and the frustration was visible. Take last Friday's game against Atlanta. Pinckney missed a few shots down low in the first quarter and even botched a slam-dunk attempt. When the Celtics called a timeout later, Pinckney went to the bench with a look that showed how disgusted he was with his play. He ended the game with just 4 points in 21 minutes.

But there's been no reason for Pinckney to leave the floor dejected in the last two outings.

"I get disappointed after a bad start because I'm starting the game," he said. He added that for some players, a good start dictates "how the game is going to go."

Pinckney still won't consider his efforts of late to be solid - that is, not until he does it away from home.

"A good game on the road is more difficult than one at home," he said. "You have to be able to run more. Teams at home run harder because they don't want to lose at home.

"I hope I am playing better. I'd just like to take this show on the road."

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