Interesting that Walker mentions Artest
'Toine, Bird reunite
Antoine Walker [news] has crossed paths with Larry Bird a few times already during this series, and they've exchanged the usual pleasantries.
`It's all just `How you doin'?' stuff,'' Walker said before going for 19 against Bird's Pacers in Game 2. ``You know Larry's short for words, man.''
Between the lines are a couple of basketball guys who would have liked more time together. The two started getting tight when Bird was working for the Celts and they drafted Walker in 1996. Training camp that year was in Greensboro, N.C., and the two were doing extra work together. However, their sessions were cut short.
Oh, that was sweet,'' Walker said. ``It was great coming out as a rookie and getting the chance to work with a guy like Larry Bird.
It was unfortunate his mother passed away or I would have been able to spend more time with him. It was great just spending time around him. He was still active then. He was showing me how to shoot. It would have been great if he could have kept working with me on that.''
The chance might have been there again if any of the trade talks between the Pacers and Atlanta involving Walker had come to fruition.
`Yeah, there was talk about them maybe doing something with Ron Artest, but nothing ever surfaced out of it,'' Walker said.
According to Bird, Artest wasn't really in the picture, but he acknowledged trying to bring Walker to Indiana.
He's a really special player,'' Bird said. ``I remember when we drafted him just looking at all the things he could do. I would have loved to have been there longer with him. And we would have loved to have picked him up from Atlanta. We did talk to them about him.'' . . .
The Pacers are 0-13 in series in which they lose the opener.
Charles changes tune
Charles Barkley reversed field when talking about the Celts on TNT.
``You have to give Danny Ainge credit,'' he said. ``They are building that team through the draft and they are going to be fun to watch for the next few years.''
Kenny Smith called Barkley on it, asking, ``What were you saying about him last year?''
Replied Charles, ``That he was turning the Celtics into the Clippers.'' . . .