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Lessons from Heinsohn's 70's team for present Celtics crew


Last night's 116-111-win over the Pacers was hopefully the start of a trend. I am not wishing for the Celtics to peak so early in the season, but despite the positive signs, this current version of The Green could use some lessons in mental and physical toughness.


The Celtics Big 3 of the 1970's were all tough in their own ways, as was their coach, Tommy Heinsohn. There was no mistaking the ferocity and intensity of center, Dave Cowens. It was there in his play and on his face. He was a smallish center at 6'8.5", but he backed down to no one. Kareem Abdul Jabbar? Wilt Chamberlain? Made no difference. He took them all on.


Conversely, John Havlicek never changed his expression and never broke a sweat. You never saw exhilaration or despair on Jarrin' John's face, and he was so well conditioned, there was hardly ever a drop of sweat on him. But Intense? You bet! Hondo never stopped moving at both ends of the floor and never gave up.


JoJo White was a quiet gentleman but a ferocious competitor. On the court, he was a silent assassin - cocking his shooting arm like the hammer on a gun - and firing away from all distances  and angles, very often in critical moments of a game. He was relentless.

It has been broached by many Celtics fans that they would like to see more animation from Brad Stevens on the sidelines, as we saw with Tommy Heinsohn as coach. And Brad's team seems to take his somewhat-casual approach in their play. Not last night, but generally this team lacks the toughness and tenacity to finish games. 

Tommy, JoJo and John are all gone now, and only Big Red remains. But the lessons from the foursome remain. That 70's team collected two Championship awards with a team that sometimes survived on guts alone. The current version of The Green can learn from that.



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