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CELTICS: SOMEWHERE OVER OHIO, Jan. 16
Kevin McHale's long legs spill into the aisle of a DC-9 out of Boston bound for Indianapolis. He is squirmy. McHale knows that tomorrow night's opponent is the Pacers. He knows there is a game the next night, too, but he's not quite sure where, or against which team. It's the time of the year when things get blurry.
"Hey," he yells at trainer Ray Melchiorre, "where are we on Saturday?"
"Atlanta," comes the answer.
McHale settles back. "I just put it on automatic pilot from October to April. Wake up for the playoffs," he says. McHale leans over the aisle to see how a teammate is doing in a computerized chess game. Danny Ainge and McHale himself had already lost—"The thing totally psychs me out," says McHale—and now Bill Walton, the distinguished professor of hoops, is having a crack at it.
"Well," someone says to McHale, "at least you know what day the Laker game is at Boston Garden next week, right?"
McHale ponders it. "Next Friday? The 24th?"
"No that's Golden State. You play the Lakers on Wednesday, the 22nd."
"Oh," he says, shrugging his shoulders and smiling. "Well, it's easy to get those California teams mixed up."
LAKERS: DETROIT, Jan. 17