5.13.2017

Ainge on the Bill Fitch Years



Celtics coach Bill Fitch was a Gerald Henderson believer who didn't have a whole lot of use for Ainge.

"They'd diagram a play and I'd always be out on the side somewhere or stuck at halfcourt with Cedric Maxwell," Ainge said. "There'd be three options on the play: Larry (Bird), Robert (Parish) and Dennis (Johnson). If Kevin (McHale) was in there'd be four. But never Max. Never me. It was a three- or four-man offense and I wasn't part of it."

After that 1983 playoff sweep, the Celtics and Fitch had reached the end of the line. K.C. Jones was the replacement, and it wasn't long before Ainge's career blossomed under him. After Henderson was traded to Seattle in 1984, Ainge's playing time and performance improved dramatically. He became the starter alongside Johnson in the backcourt, and soon was a master at spotting up for the 3-pointer. The breakthrough came during the 1986-87 season when he fired away to the tune of .443 (85-for-192) from 3-pointland, outshooting Bird.

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