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DAN SHAUGHNESSY

Whole lot of pieces to series

Picked-up pieces from the Celtics-Pacers series . . .

* This first-round best-of-seven is taking on the look of the 1960 World Series between the Yankees and Pirates. The Yankees won three games by scores of 16-3, 10-0, and 12-0, but lost all the close ones, including Game 7 when Bill Mazeroski hit the most famous walkoff in the history of the Fall Classic. The Celtics led Game 1 by 37 points before settling for a 20-point win. Boston won Game 4 Saturday night by 31 -- the most lopsided loss in Pacers playoff history. And yet the series is tied, 2-2. The Pacers won big in Game 3 and took a close one in Game 2. At this hour, the Celtics appear to be the better team, but tell that to the 1960 Yankees.

* Conseco Field House has got to be the best NBA venue ever built. It houses 18,000 Hoosiers but feels like the gym in which Gene Hackman coached his miracle high school team. Great sight lines. Perfectly steep. Plenty of old-timey touches to go with modern amenities. It should be what Camden Yards is to baseball. Any town building a basketball arena should borrow the blueprint. If Pacers coach Rick Carlisle's not in a secretive mood, you can even watch the hometown team practice from a perch on the sidewalk. Somehow we don't think Bill Belichick would go for that.

* Among the many reasons the Celtics should win the series is the relative competence and athleticism of Boston's guards vs. Indy's ballhandlers. The Pacers can be pressured in the backcourt.

* If Reggie Miller was driving a car and you were sitting in the back seat looking at his eyes in the rearview mirror, you'd think he was Alex Rodriguez. And can't you just see Reggie slapping the ball out of the glove of Bronson Arroyo? Reggie's one of the top scorers in NBA history. Hard to believe now that Pacers fans booed when he was selected instead of the University of Indiana's Steve Alford in 1987. Miller's career should be over by this time next week.

* Wonder what Al Jefferson is going to look like when he grows up and fills out.

* Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck celebrated the Game 4 win at Indy by digging into a bag of White Castles in the locker room. Nothing like a couple of murderburgers to go with a 31-point win.

* If you're old enough to remember Ray Williams, you probably think of him sometimes when you see Ricky Davis. Ricky's more animated and Ray-Ray was a better passer, but both are wildly entertaining.

* As an unhip, middle-aged guy, I'm always way behind with new ballplayer-speak. When did NBA guys start referring to their low-post-playing teammates as "bigs"? I like it.

* Paul Pierce was having a Larry Bird night right up until he got off the floor after draining his last three and started bumping his chest and scowling for the crowd. Bird, no doubt, talked more trash, but Pierce is a better fit for "SportsCenter" highlights.

* Looks like it's OK to tell Celtics coach Doc Rivers where you hide the extra key to the back door of your house. The man can keep a secret. He told us Kendrick Perkins might be starting Game 4. Instead, we got Delonte West and Ricky Davis in place of Tony Allen and Antoine Walker. Perkins played all of five minutes in the blowout.

* West needs a little more work on his right hand, but he's got rare presence for a rookie and looks like a guy who'll play 12 years in the NBA.

* Anthony Gurley, a junior Globe All-Scholastic from state champion Newton North, lit it up for Celtics scout Leo Papile's BABC team in Italy last weekend. Gurley scored 35 in a blowout win over Lithuania. His dad, Anthony Sr., played high school ball against Celtics Fox announcer Willie "Coach" Maye a couple of decades ago.

* The Celtics are having a block party on Canal Street before tomorrow night's game. If the Celtics had the clout of the Red Sox, they could close all the streets between Causeway and Cambridge streets every game night. The block party sounds like a nice idea, but something tells me Red Auerbach won't be there shooting T-shirts out of a toy cannon.

* If you're looking for a good basketball book, pick up "Wilt, 1962" the story of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game by Gary Pomerantz.

* One final thought, which has nothing to do with basketball. Has anyone else noticed the cheesy subliminal trick NESN plays every time it broadcasts a replay during a Red Sox game? You have to watch closely, but the World Series trophy flashes across your screen for a nanosecond leading into and out of every replay. It's downright Pavlovian. Do the Sox think anyone around here has forgotten they won?

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. His e-mail address is dshaughnessy@globe.com.


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