Right now the opposing player Holzman likes to watch most in the NBA is power forward Larry Bird of the defending champion Boston Celtics.
''Every time Bird gets the ball he does something good with it,'' Red said. ''I've studied him a lot and I don't think any player in the league anticipates quite as well as he does. He doesn't even have to score to beat you.
''Larry will have the ball and nothing seems to be happening. But then he'll spot an open teammate on the other side of the floor and hit him with a pass before the player even realizes he's free. He definitely makes better players of those around him.''
Asked if he thought Bird was currently the league's most valuable player:
''Larry is one of three or four players who will have a shot at this season's MVP award. But what he does for the Celtics game after game can't be taught. And believe me, he understands the importance of defense.''