Skip to main content

Belitlled by Auerbach as a player, Heinsohn became The Redhead as a coach

Red Auerbach knew how to manage his troops, but he didn't hold back on criticizing some of them. Tom "Satch" Sanders and Don Nelson were often the recipients of Red's barbs, but it was Tom Heinsohn that was the most-frequent victim (per Sam Jones in his 1-on-1 interview with me):

(Sam): "I saw a lot of it. I loved it. That means he (Red) kept off my back. That (Heinsohn) was Red's whipping boy. Better Tommy than me."


Heinsohn helped the Celtics to eight Championships and played in six All-Star games. After Bill Russell's retirement in 1969, Tommy was chosen as Boston's next head coach, a move that was subject to much criticism at the time. But Celtics renowned announcer, Johnny Most, got it right (from Mark C. Bodanza's book, Ten Times a Champion):

To me, Heinsohn represents the closest total of Auerbach coaching attributes of all the ballplayers that played for him. I think Tommy will turn out to be the junior edition of the Redhead. He will fast break. He will torture them to superhuman rebounding efforts. He will go nose-to-nose with the officials. He will draw many technical fouls. He will be a proud advocate of wide-open, firehouse basketball, with an occasional explosion of Violence.


Tommy coached the Celtics from 1969 to 1978, garnering two Championships (1974 and 1976) and being named Coach-of-the-Year in 1973. He departed coaching duties after compiling a 427-262 record. His Big3 of Dave Cowens, John Havlicek and JoJo White proved to be one of the scrappiest and most-exciting Celtics trios ever to take to the parquet.


So it turned out that the fiery Johnny Most was correct. Heinsohn's crew ran at every opportunity, ignited by another redhead, Dave Cowens' excellent rebounding and outlets passes. The front court duo of Cowens and Paul Silas accounted for 27 rebounds per game in the 1973-74 season. And Tommy was as incendiary in his coaching duties as Most was in his often-slanted analysis of the games. The Guys in Green in the early-70's did indeed play a "wide-open, firehouse" style that I loved to watch. The current Celtics squad could possibly take some lessons from that era.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sign the Petition! Let's honor Tommy Heinsohn

  No longtime Celtics fan can watch games this year without a somewhat heavy heart. For the last 50 plus years, we have been blessed as a franchise to have Tommy Heinsohn, Mr. Celtic himself, as a part of the organization. Whether it be as a player, coach, or commentator, Tommy has been an instrumental figure for the green, and his presence is missed on every broadcast. Nobody embodied what it meant to be a Celtic more than Tommy, and I know I miss his energy and ferocity every time Scal claims the refs "made the right call" against the Cs. While Tommy obviously belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Celtics, he is often overlooked in his place among the greats of NBA history. Looking back upon his life, one would be hard pressed to find someone with a bigger impact on NBA basketball than Mr. Celtic. For those who are unfamiliar, let's do a quick review. Tommy is one of 2 people to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as both a player and coach (the other being the indomitable Len

We may be glad Danny Ainge rolled the dice on Theis

Frankly, I was not sure if Danny Ainge would ink Daniel Theis to a new deal, but it looks like a good move. Theis is signed for two years at a total of $10 million, with the second year non-guaranteed. With the departure of big men Al Horford and Aron Baynes, rolling the dice on Theis could work very well. In his first season in Boston, Daniel just kept improving. For the pre-All-Star stretch, he averaged 14.5 minutes/Game, 5.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG while shooting 52% on field goals and 30% on treys. Post-All-Star his minutes increased to 18.4 per game, his points to 7.8/game and his boards to 5.3/game. And he shot 68% on field goals and 40% on 3-pointers. Then a meniscus tear shut him down. His minutes and production took a hit last season, in part most likely due to lagging recovery from the injury. Right now he is playing on German's entry in the FIBA World Cup. In a game versus The Czech Rebublic, he scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds, passed off for three assists and blocked tw

What Jeff Teague can bring to the Celtics offense

Bringing in Jeff Teague as some guard depth this year could end up being a monumental move for this year's Celtics team. Teague is a well respected veteran in the league, and having gone to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015 with the Atlanta Hawks, knows what it takes to win tough games. Here's a brief look at why I think Jeff will be a great fit with the C's Every Celtics fan loves Marcus Smart , due to everything he brings to the table, from the defensive intensity to scoring outbursts. For all the good things he does, Marcus excels off ball, and can have his effectiveness diminished when he is forced to be a primary ball handler. He is often pigeon-holed into that role with the second unit (or when Kemba is out), and Teague's addition will hopefully allow him to play more off-ball and maximize his abilities.  At the deadline last year, Teague was traded to the Atlanta Hawks to play alongside Trae Young. His usage rate and effectiveness dipped considerably, as he