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This Spot Sure Doesn’t Look Like Any Garden

In analyzing the Celtic tradition, Fran Blinebury of the Houston Chronicle writes about Boston Garden: “There is nothing about the appearance of the old building attached to the old North Station that would give a visitor a hint of anything except nests of rats whose eye teeth have been rattled by too many afternoon trains.

“The Gah-den, as it is called by the faithful who noisily hoist brews in the Iron Horse Bar next door, is certainly special. It’s not just the adornment with more championship banners--15 going on 16 is the rallying cry for the current war with the Lakers--than any other arena in the sport that makes it so.

“It has some of the poorest sightlines of any building still in use today and the most cramped locker rooms in the entire NBA. It has a roof that leaks, a funny-looking floor that creaks and an odor that reeks of everything from stale cigarettes to spilled beer to moldy hot dogs.

“Ah, the smell of victory.”

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Julius Erving on Larry Bird: “I admire Larry greatly as a player but, on another level, I have trouble dealing with some of the things he does.

“There’s a lot of cockiness to his game now, more than there used to be. He mouths off and tries to intimidate . . . but that’s the Boston influence. He’s up there with M.L. (Carr) and Cedric (Maxwell), guys who talk a lot of junk. Personally, I don’t think Larry needs that. He’s too good for that.”

It’s not too tough to answer the question asked in the NBC Sports ad on Page 8 of this section. Plugging today’s coverage of the French Open men’s final, it asks: “Can McEnroe or Connors become the first American to win this title in 30 years?” The answer: No.

An NBC spokesman said Friday, after both John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors were beaten in the semifinals, that it was too late to change the ad, which is running in papers across the country.

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Chair-throwing stole the show at the Foster Brooks Pro-Celebrity golf tournament in Louisville recently. Chiding Indiana Coach Bobby Knight for an incident last season, Louisville Coach Denny Crum picked up a chair and threw it as far as he could onto the course just as Knight approached the first tee.

Knight, announcing that “compared to me he’s a rank amateur at throwing chairs,” used a tee to mark Crum’s toss, backed up and gave it a try. But as Billy Reed of the Louisville Courier-Journal described it, “He threw a wedge-chair instead of a drive-chair. The chair hit, showed a little backspin and toppled over behind Crum’s mark.”

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Manager Dave Johnson of the New York Mets, who have scored only three runs in three straight losses: “I would like to believe the pitchers have had outstanding stuff, and we’re not in a slump, but I can’t.”

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