[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
May: C's Not Deterred By Dire Predictions
[The Boston Globe Online][Boston.com]
[Boston Globe Online / Sports]
Celtics say picks are no impediment
By Peter May, Globe Staff, 10/10/99
WALTHAM - The regionalized cover of
Street & Smith's Pro Basketball
Yearbook has a picture of the captain of
the Boston Celtics with the headline:
`Walking Tall: Antoine Walker Leads The
Turn to Page 62 and you'll find out just
how ''resurgent'' the Celtics are
projected to be: They are picked dead last
in the Atlantic Division, even behind
Orlando, which may be the fourth-best team
in Florida this season after the Miami
Heat, University of Miami, and University
Other preseason previews are surfacing,
each with similar expectations for Rick
Pitino's team. Athlon Sports picks them to
finish fifth in the Atlantic, ahead of
Washington and Orlando. ESPN.com's initial
power poll has the Celtics 21st, 11th in
the East and ahead of Orlando, Washington,
Detroit, and Chicago.
No one is expecting the Celtics to do much
of anything, except, of course, the coach
and the players. Pitino has predicted they
will make the playoffs, and they believe
there's no reason they can't. They pay no
heed to the predictions, pointing to the
wide-open East (Orlando and Chicago
already have packed it in) and to a lot of
teams already in injury/personnel trouble.
The message: Dismiss them at your own
''It's our attitude that's refreshing. No
one expects a lot, but we expect a lot,''
The Celtics believe there are some
built-in advantages as they attempt to
crack the top eight. In no particular
order, they are:
The schedule: The team plays 12 of its
first 18 and 15 of its first 25 at the
FleetCenter. Two years ago, the Celtics
turned home court into an advantage. Last
year, it was the opposite. Pitino wants
that first-year feeling again, and Kenny
Anderson believes the season could be made
''It depends on how you come out of the
gate, that first month,'' said Anderson.
''You establish what you're about, your
team, your character. If we win, teams
will come to the FleetCenter saying, `We
got a game.' If we're losing, they'll come
The rule changes: On the surface, they
appear to favor the style of play that the
Celtics like. Last year's division
champions, Indiana and Miami, preferred a
slow-down style that may not work this
''It's going to be interesting,'' Anderson
said. ''Who's smarter? Who's going to
adapt to the new rules? It won't be a
cakewalk for New York, Miami, or Indiana.
All those slow-poke teams that want to set
it up, there's no room for that. This is a
new year. We all start with a clean
''I couldn't begin to tell you who would
be a favorite in this division,'' he said.
''I'm sure people will pick Miami, because
of their veterans, but outside of that ...
with the problems New York is having right
now, I don't think you could pick them.''
The muddled Eastern Conference: Thirteen
of the 15 teams have legitimate playoff
aspirations. Try getting a consensus on
the eight qualifiers. New York and New
Jersey have centers with injuries. Detroit
has a center on the verge of retirement.
Atlanta has a new backcourt.
''It's a wide-open race,'' Anderson said.
''Everyone in the East is right there. It
depends on who's in shape, who plays a
team concept. We're going to be all right,
Added Pitino, ''The competition is going
to be ready because everyone is so close.
With our division the way it is, you can't
sneak up on anybody. We're all so close
that the days of the 60-win season in our
division are over.''
After practicing twice a day for five
days, the Celtics had one workout
yesterday, a three-hour midday session.
Dana Barros (knee) still was unable to be
a full participant. Pervis Ellison
(history) also did not go. The team also
will have one workout today. The
exhibition season starts Wednesday night
with a home game against Charlotte ...
Bill Russell is expected to be at practice
today, a day earlier than anticipated, to
begin working with the big men ...
Anderson celebrated his 29th birthday
yesterday ... Assistant coach Andy Enfield
has been a busy man. Enfield already has
changed the shooting form of Vitaly
Potapenko and Danny Fortson, both of whom
used to bring the ball over the head.
''They've made tremendous strides,'' he
said. Also getting attention: Calbert
Cheaney and Adrian Griffin, both of whom
tend to hesitate while shooting.
This story ran on page C06 of the Boston
Globe on 10/10/99.
© Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.