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Heinsohn Likes The Celtics Chances
Precisely why I turn down the sound on the TV and listen to Howard
and Max, although if Max keeps raving about Kenny Anderson, I'm
going to shut the radio off too....
Celtics' chances? Heinsohn likes 'em
by Jim Baker
Sunday, October 31, 1999
Hubie Brown, having mentioned most every Eastern team but the Celtics as a
playoff possibility, was asked the other day if this isn't the season Rick
Pitino leads Boston to the promised land of the NBA playoffs.
``Do I detect a bit of sarcasm?'' Turner's 10th-year analyst asked.
He did - and he knew there's far deeper sentiment from many New Englanders
about this once high-flying franchise that tomorrow night tips off the
first local all-cable slate of any major Boston team.
Except for NBC's March 12 76ers matinee invasion, it's an all-cable lineup
by necessity. The Celtics have so lost their appeal by losing so often, no
TV station wanted them. That's the attitude their $7 million-a-year coach
must change in his third season.
Hubie, hawking tomorrow night's TNT 76ers-Spurs and Lakers-Jazz openers on
Turner's 80-game slate, wasn't optimistic about a C's rebirth. But not
surprisingly, Tom Heinsohn was looking forward to Fox Sports New England's
81-game launch in Toronto at 7 Tuesday night.
``This is the first year he (Pitino) has an opportunity to coach the way
he can,'' Heinsohn maintained. ``The first year, he had leftovers who
didn't play his style. He had to disassemble the team, and last season,
with the lockout, he couldn't talk to his players from July till
Excuses, excuses, some might react, including the fellowship of the
miserable, Pitino's tag for the audience of WEEI, his team's radio
flagship that also launches coverage in Toronto with Howard David and
Cedric Maxwell. That's in contrast to Pitino pal Bob Lobel, who's back
today hosting the coach's weekly Ch. 4 show.
But Heinsohn, beginning his 19th cable campaign with Mike Gorman, insists
the Eastern picture is so wide open ``anybody can win anything this
And the Celtics spent the preseason looking for the right mix to play
their fast-paced game. I think we'll be in the hunt with a fun team to
If you're surprised Heinsohn refers to the C's as ``we,'' then you're a
Hub newcomer. But what he hopes will happen is a must if the C's are to
grow beyond fractional and one-point ratings.
FSNE will dress the C's package well with Eric Frede returning to host
``Celtics Central'' at 6 and a 6:30 pregame before joining Gorman,
Heinsohn and Willie Maye on game telecasts.
Frede also hosts the ``Celtics Prime-Time'' postgame with Pitino's
But when FSNE lands all Fox Sports Net programming after New Year's, with
NESN swinging from Fox to ESPNEWS, the Celtic postgame and Pitino
postmortems will vanish due to network wishes.