- Kendrick Perkins targets early February for his return. “To me, I feel like I need about a month-and-a-half [to be playoff-ready],” he said.
- Paul Pierce was rated #19 in Slam Online’s player rankings. This sentence from the column had me dying laughing: “It’s also entirely possible Chris Bosh still has to fit the hotel room bed with rubber sheets the night before playing against Kevin Garnett.”
- GMs give Boston a 100% chance to win the Atlantic, an 18.5% chance to win the East, and a 3.7% chance to win a championship. They say Ray Allen is the league’s purest shooter and Rajon Rondo the best on-the-ball perimeter defender and best defender in the passing lanes. Actually, the entire Celtics team dominated the defensive rankings. Also, more votes.
- John from Red’s Army strongly believes Shaq should come off the bench. I happen to agree, for this reason: Shaq, against second string defenses, can still get buckets.
- Brian Scalabrine on why Tom Thibodeau wanted him in Chicago: “He knows that he can count on me.”
- Kobe Bryant’s the reason we had a recession.
- If Andrew Bynum has one more major knee surgery, his minutes will likely be limited for the rest of his career.
- Jersey advertising has the potential to save the NBA from a lockout. Seriously. English Premier League soccer teams made $155 million off jersey advertising last season. My thoughts? Why the hell not? The basketball will be the same, even if the Boston Celtics become the Armani Jeans Celtics. On second thought… the Armani Jeans Celtics?
- Adrian Wojnarowski on the passing of the torch in Miami: “Opening night of the preseason, Wade was pushed to the side and everyone saw they could leave him the captain, the spokesman, the last man introduced to the laser light show. They could leave everything in place for Dwyane Wade except for the fact that the Miami Heat no longer belong to him. A force of nature showed on the shores of Biscayne Bay, grabbed the ball and never looked back. Maybe this is still D-Wade’s city and franchise, but this is LeBron James’ team now. King James doesn’t do deferential.”
- I’m pretty sure I could score 10 points per game in the NBA if I had low-post lessons from Hakeem Olajuwon. Hakeem’s forgotten more post moves than most players ever learn. Which makes the thought of him teaching Dwight Howard positively frightening.
Posts tagged: Andrew Bynum
Andrew Bynum proved his toughness last season, bearing brutal pain each night so he could compete in the playoffs. He then spent the summer proving his stupidity, postponing surgery so he could have some offseason fun. When training camp arrives, Bynum won’t be ready to play. He’s even likely to miss the entire postseason, and possibly opening night. Hmm.
You see, Bynum decided traveling the globe without crutches was more important than recovery. He wanted to enjoy South Africa’s World Cup, and later a vacation in Europe, without limping around on crutches. Bynum even had his knee drained for his trips, looking to have as much fun as possible. Who can blame him? It’s not like Bynum has a $13.7 million contract to live up to. Wait, he does? And he still decided to postpone surgery a month? Oh. Well, wouldn’t YOU get sick of offseason rehab every. single. year?
Bynum expected to be ready for the beginning of training camp despite the postponed surgery, but doctors found more damage than expected. As the O.C. Register’s Kevin Ding wrote, “It was Bynum’s choice to enjoy himself, assuming he’d be fine by the time the 2010-11 season came – even though his complications with knees are well known and his past healings have been measured by sundial.”
“That is why you do it earlier instead of later, just in case,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told the LA Times.
But hey, Mitch, look on the positive side. Your oft-injured seven foot center may be missing training camp and potentially opening night, but at least he saw the World Cup! At least he had a blast in Europe!
Bynum’s curious decision could hurt his relationships with teammates and coaches. Bynum had hardened on the court last season, earning Kobe Bryant’s confidence by enduring pain that would have left a younger Bynum sidelined.
“He is doing a great job,” Bryant said at the time. “He’s playing through an injury. Sometimes you have to do that. I think it shows maturity for the young player to start figuring out how to play around that and do different things to be effective despite the injury. That’s how you grow.”
I wonder what Kobe thinks now.
Mitch Kupchak: Kobe, while you worked out 18 times a day this summer, your largest teammate decided watching soccer was more important than recovering from injury.
Kobe: Did I once say he was maturing? Pshh. I bet you a million bucks The Big Immature misses at least ten playoff games next season.
In all honesty, the Lakers aren’t going to win or lose the NBA championship in training camp, and they aren’t going to win or lose it on opening night. Bynum’s injury, taken by itself, remains a minor setback for the team and nothing else. But when you consider that the Lakers, and his own health, were lower priorities on Bynum’s list than kicking it in foreign countries, Bynum’s maturity can — and should — still be questioned.
Last year, Andrew Bynum finally proved his toughness.
Now he just has to grow up.
Forgive this piece, before you even read it. This isn’t a real rumor, nor is it even a fake rumor. It’s simply a what-if scenario J.A. Adande offered up on TrueHoop. And a scary what-if scenario, at that.
It’s not that hard to envision a scenario that brings Paul to the Lakers. It starts with Jackson retiring, a move he said he is “leaning toward.” Then bring in Byron Scott to replace him, as has long been rumored. Out goes the triangle offense, which probably wouldn’t suit Paul. In comes Paul, who maintained a good relationship with Scott even after Scott was fired by the Hornets. (That’s more than could be said with Scott’s previous two point guards, Baron Davis and Jason Kidd.) Meanwhile, Scott and Kobe Bryant go way back to Kobe’s rookie year, when they were teammates, so that would work, too.
Why would any of this work for the Hornets? They need to shed salary, with the four years and $52 million remaining on Emeka Okafor’s contract sticking out on their spreadsheet like a nun on Bourbon Street. The best way to entice a team to take on that contract would be to include Paul in the deal, painful though it may be for the Hornets. Besides, if they really like Paul and want to repay him for everything he’s done for that franchise and the New Orleans community they’ll give him a chance to play for a championship contender.
They could send Paul (owed $14.9 million in 2010-11) and Okafor ($11.5 million), with contracts totaling $26.4 million, to the Lakers for the combined $27.5 million in 2010-11 contracts of Andrew Bynum ($13.8 million), Lamar Odom ($8.2 million) and Sasha Vujacic ($5.5 million).
The Lakers are scary enough with Derek Fisher running point and Andrew Bynum limping his way through a semi-productive Finals. Add Paul to the team and a center with two functioning knees (although Okafor is no healthy Harry either) and suddenly that offense is lethal. My knees are shaking right now like I’m Chris Webber at the foul line during crunch-time.
Losing Lamar and Bynum would hurt the Lakers, but the thought of adding CP3 to that squad is enough to make me seriously consider a drug binge.
During the first five games of the NBA Finals, the Wall Street Journal conducted an observation of players’ reactions to fouls called against them. According to the study, which “looked at every foul in the series that wasn’t intentional, tracked the observable reactions and gave extra weight to the more blatant complaints,” Ray Allen complained more than any other player on either the Celtics or Lakers. (via TrueHoop)
|LAKERS % of COMPLAINTS||CELTICS % of COMPLAINTS|
|Team Rate – 36%||Team Rate – 48%|
|Kobe Bryant – 50%||Ray Allen – 73%|
|Pau Gasol – 50%||Kendrick Perkins – 68%|
|Derek Fisher – 38%||Rasheed Wallace – 65%|
|Lamar Odom – 27%||Rajon Rondo – 50%|
|Ron Artest – 23%||Paul Pierce – 36%|
|Andrew Bynum – 15%||Kevin Garnett – 32%|
It didn’t take a study to realize that both teams complain a lot about the referees. In regards to Ray, I think the high level of his complaints is due to the fact that most of his fouls have been either 1) offensive fouls after Derek Fisher spends an entire possession mauling Ray and Ray finally retaliates, or 2) fouls of Kobe Bryant that may or may not be influenced by Kobe’s superstar status.
Also, this study has holes in it because — as far as I can tell — it only takes into account when a player is whistled for a foul. That means no-calls didn’t count. Ray Allen almost never complains about a no-call, while Kobe can often be seen swinging his fist and threatening referee’s lives after he misses a shot while anyone is in a 10-foot radius of him.
The Celtics have gotten rid of their morning walkthrough, but that doesn’t mean we have to. Here are a few Celtics links, and maybe even an NBA link or two, to help wake you up and get you focused for the day.
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “‘We came from a long way out,’ the Celtics guard said, thinking back to a moribund regular-season finish that had them counted out on just about everyone’s board except their own. [...] ‘When we started the season they picked us to make the Finals, and they forgot us along the way,’ [Ray] Allen said. ‘But here we are, capable. The tougher it is, the better we become. The beautiful thing about this whole situation is that we never had homecourt advantage except for the first round.’ [...] ‘You have that tendency to look ahead,’ Allen said. ‘I’m sure a lot of people are thinking about what’s on our mind, but you have to mentally block it out. All day tomorrow you have to think about what you need to do, and how you need to rest – the small things you need to do to start the game off. The moment you look up, you’ll be in that moment. But you have to work for it. To achieve that moment that we want, it’s going to take everybody to do the things they do. We can’t leave any stone unturned and we can’t take shortcuts,’ Allen said. ‘When our opportunity comes, we’ll be standing right there, and we’ll have our moment.’”
Baxter Holmes, LA Times – “‘Whatever happened last year, I thought we had a great season, we got beat by Orlando,’ [Ray] Allen said. ‘It’s a new year and it’s definitely been a blessing, but this year has definitely been a lot tougher, and I think the tougher it is, the more you want it.’ [...] ‘I think along the way, people forgot, forgot who we were and what we were capable of,’ Allen said. ‘We got back to that mentality, but it didn’t shake us at all. We didn’t worry about what people said, what they thought. People were saying that we were a team that was old, but here we are. We’re capable, that’s the most important thing and we all knew it.’ [...] Allen said the Celtics are ready. ‘I think I’m going to see urgency, desperation, a no-quit attitude — and that’s from us,’ he said.”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “‘The Lakers have played the best between us to get home-court advantage,’ Rivers said. ‘But we’ve played the best all year on the road. So our team will be ready, and it’s going to be a hell of a challenge for us because they’re going to be great, and we’re going to have to beat them at their best because they’re going to be great there, and we can’t expect anything else.’ Los Angeles was 34-7 at home during the regular season, but the Lakers’ playoff history at Staples Center is slightly staggering. Since the start of the 2008 postseason, they are 29-4 at home. They have only lost once at Staples Center in these playoffs and that was in Game 2 against the Celtics, snapping a 12-game home winning streak. Kevin Garnett’s philosophy has always been that closeout games are the most difficult. But he said figuring out how to put the Lakers away might be the greatest challenge in his 15-year career. ‘They’re playing at home,’ Garnett said. ‘Home is always where your heart is. And with the severity of the game, it’s all out on both ends, for both teams. This will probably be the hardest game of the season, if not of the series, if not of everybody’s career, this game coming up.’”
Peter May, ESPN – “Well here’s a teachable moment for Rivers: The Celtics are the seventh team to take a 3-2 lead into the opponent’s building for Games 6 and 7 since the dreaded 2-3-2 format was implemented in 1985. Four of those teams — the 1985 Lakers, the 1993 Bulls, the 1998 Bulls and the 2006 Heat — took care of business in Game 6 to win the title. The two teams that didn’t, Rivers’ 1994 Knicks and the 1998 Detroit Pistons, also lost Game 7. So the message should be clear. The Celtics had better put the word ‘Armageddon’ at the top of their plan for Game 6 Tuesday night because no home team has ever lost Game 7 after winning Game 6 in this scenario. ‘Ever since they [the Lakers] won Game 3, we really have felt that every game is a must game,’ Rivers said. ‘Each game is a Game 7. That’s how we have to approach [Game 6]. We lost our wiggle room by losing that home game.’”
Johnny Ludden, Yahoo! – “Just like two years ago, the Celtics have proven to be the tougher team – mentally and physically. And just like two years ago, this is a reflection of the coaches. Once again, Rivers is getting the best of Jackson. Jackson has this much going for him: Unlike 2008, the Lakers return home to make their final stand. A week on the road can wear on anyone, and both teams know this series can change with a cross-country flight and a single game. But something also needs to change within these Lakers. For the past two games, the Celtics have been the smarter, sharper, more urgent team. Jackson has long reigned over the league with a cool confidence that borders on arrogance. He doesn’t make many friends among his peers. He doesn’t panic, and he doesn’t believe in sideline histrionics. He’s seen it all before, and he coaches as such. With Jackson, there’s always the unstated belief that his teams will persevere. Most of the time, they do. His 10 championships validate him as the preeminent coach in the sport’s history. But this is the second time he’s taken the Lakers into the Finals as favorites against Rivers and the Celtics, and this is the second time his team has been pushed to the edge. A healthy Andrew Bynum(notes) could make a difference, but Bynum has rarely been healthy in the playoffs. This is who the Lakers are. They’ve been terrific frontrunners in this postseason, and now their resilience gets tested. Jackson has had few answers for the Celtics’ toughness, and that speaks more to what Rivers has done than what Jackson hasn’t. Somehow, Rivers has turned his three aging stars into grinders. Some nights they score, some nights they don’t. Almost always, they defend and wear on their opponents.”
Christopher L. Gasper, Boston Globe – “The Celtics became the first team to win two in a row in this series, but now they have to become the first (and only) team in the series to win two games on the road or they’re returning home without the title. Seems fitting because this redoubtable bunch has taken the road of greatest resistance all season long. Close-out games on the road have not exactly been the Celtics forte since Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen revitalized the franchise. Boston’s starting five has never lost a playoff series (7-0), but only once have they closed out one on the road — the 2008 Eastern Conference finals in Detroit. The Celtics are 1-7 in put-away away games over the last three seasons, and may I remind you the last time they lost a playoffs series, which was sans-KG last season, they were up 3-2 on the Magic and that was without the added burden of the 2-3-2 Finals format putting the final two games on somebody else’s floor. This series is close with a capital C. After five games, the teams are collectively separated by just one basket — the Celtics have scored 464 points and the Lakers have scored 462. The team that has won the rebound battle has won each game. The Celtics are averaging 47.8 rebounds per game to the Lakers 47. Rondo, who has shown a maturity beyond his years in these playoffs, showed sagacity that belied his age in assessing the State of the Finals. ‘It’s still anybody’s series,’ said Rondo. ‘They’re the defending champions. I’m sure they’re going to come out and fight hard, so it’s not over — the series is not over yet.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “Pierce scored a team-high 27 points and late in the fourth quarter played the middle man between Garnett and Rajon Rondo on the game-sealing sequence. For the second straight game, he was the Celtics’ leading scorer. It was the first time all postseason he had led the team in scoring in back-to-back games. ‘The thing about me, when I step on this court, NBA Finals, I don’t want to have no regrets at the end of the series,’ Pierce said. ‘Whatever I do I want to be aggressive with the ball, go out and play as hard as I can 48 minutes. That’s what I’m trying to do to finish out this series.’”
Dan Duggan, Boston Herald – “‘I think a couple guys maybe thought KG lost a step or something when he struggled in the first few games, but he’s caught his rhythm, doing intangibles on the court, scoring, rebounding, assisting, blocking shots,’ point guard Rajon Rondo said. ‘He’s changing the game. That’s what he’s been doing for us all year.’ In addition to regaining his offensive rhythm, Garnett once again is playing with unfiltered emotion. That bothered Gasol, who after appearing to shed the soft label, regressed in the three games at the Garden. Though Gasol clearly was tentative in those games, Garnett didn’t attribute that to intimidation. ‘I think both teams are playing very physical basketball,’ Garnett said. ‘I think the intimidation factor is not even a discussion or even an issue.’”
John Krolik, Pro Basketball Talk – “Question: Is the Laker offense broken, or is Boston’s defense just that good? Answer: Boston’s defense is just that good. They swarm and recover like no other team is able to. They play physical without losing their heads. They don’t let anybody get to where they want to go, and dictate the pace of the game even when the other team has the ball. They made Cleveland’s offense look broken. They shut down Orlando’s three-point attack and handcuffed Dwight Howard at times. They didn’t let any Heat player other than Dwayne Wade have any kind of success. (Okay, maybe that wasn’t all that hard.) Despite all the injuries they had in the regular season, they finished 5th in defensive efficiency. In 2008, the last time Garnett was healthy for the playoffs, the Celtics dominated every offense in their path on their way to banner #17. That season, their defensive efficiency was the best in the league. They have the best defensive center in basketball this side of Dwight Howard. They have the best defensive point guard in basketball. Their power forward was the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year. Their defensive coordinator is perhaps the best defensive mind of the last 20 years. At some point, it is not a coincidence that so many teams forget how to play offense when they play the Celtics.”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “The Celtics have to respond to the Lakers’ aggression. They cannot back down or rest players for Game 7 if the game gets out of hand. They can’t plan for two games in Los Angeles because they will lose that bravado, that confidence that allowed them to withstand Bryant’s furious push in Game 5. So Game 6 is as critical to the Celtics as it is to the Lakers. The Celtics have closed out the past two series in Game 6 with the fear of Game 7 on the road hovering over them. With the 2-3-2 format, that is no longer an issue. For the first time, the Big Three-led Celtics will have to finish off an opponent away from TD Garden, and a team that has had its share of lackadaisical moments this season has to focus on the moment at hand. That will be their most rigorous challenge this season.”
Henry Abbott, TrueHoop – “I remember being a guest on a radio show just before the playoffs. We were talking about who should win coach of the year. Scott Brooks made a lot of sense to me — can you remember seeing one of the league’s youngest teams also its most defensively disciplined? That has to be good coaching. We were assessing coaching accomplishments with the assumption that the regular season was enough to judge on. That’s how the coach of the year award works — the voting was almost done by the time we were talking. It’s a regular season award. But of course, kicking some regular season butt is child’s play compared to what the ‘big boy’ coaches do. People like Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson, Stan Van Gundy and Doc Rivers coach all season with the playoffs in mind. That may even mean giving up regular season wins, for instance by sitting a key player, to make sure the team is ready for the playoffs. The best coaching of the year happens in the playoffs, which is why it’s strange that the best coach is picked before they begin. Rivers didn’t even come up in that radio conversation. The Celtics were a 50-win team just like Portland, but they had not had Portland’s string of injuries. Instead, they had a title-winning roster from two years ago that apparently just wasn’t as good anymore. There were whispers they’d lose to the Heat in the first round. But in reality, Rivers was pulling off an amazing act of long-term strategy.”
Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe – ” The Celtics love the road. Then and now. The 2009-10 Green were rather ordinary at home (24-17), but compiled the second-best road record in the NBA (26-15, topped only by Dallas) during the regular season. In the playoffs, the Celtics are an impressive 6-4 away from home, including two wins in both Cleveland and Orlando. Beating the other guys in their own gym demoralizes the home team, which is exactly what the Celtics did at Staples Center in Game 2 of these Finals. Now the Celtics need one more road victory to win the franchise’s 18th championship. ‘There’s nothing like winning a championship on the road,’’ said Cedric Maxwell, MVP of the 1981 Finals. ‘You get to shut up the home crowd and have your own little celebration. You get to party with your teammates and you have a great flight home. Then you get to celebrate all over again with your own fans.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “As much as the Garden crowd might have loved the sight of Rajon Rondo [stats] picking up a technical foul for his retaliatory shove of Ron Artest, or Ray Allen drawing a double technical for a chippy interchange with Derek Fisher, Doc Rivers wasn’t amused. The issue of technical fouls – especially in the fourth quarter – is a sensitive subject with an NBA title so close. Allen, though, wants his coach to relax. ‘It’s those small little battles that go on in the game sometimes that seem like they’re necessary,’ the veteran guard said. ‘You can never back down. You have to push forward every opportunity you can. You make somebody think you’re coming – that you’re going to trap them – and that’s what we did early. And you attack often.’”
Baxter Homles, LA Times – “Though Allen had a poor offensive game, he was still noted for his defense on Kobe Bryant. That doesn’t sound like much, considering Bryant scored 38 points, but Celtics forward Glen Davis said it could have been worse. ‘I feel like if Ray didn’t do it for us defensively, Kobe scores 50,’ Davis said. ‘He made shots for Kobe difficult. Kobe hit some really difficult shots today. Ray did a great job.’ Allen said his mentality is shifting from offense to defense somewhat during his slump. ‘My mentality is really, if I get an open one, shoot it, but I’m not going to rest behind it,” he said. “Getting to the hole is important. Even if I don’t shoot, it’s an extra pass because a lot of times I can be bait out there, let them dangle me behind the line and they help and then somebody else gets a shot.’ He said his focus now is making Bryant take tough shots. ‘Whether I hit another shot, it’s one game to have more points than them, so whatever I have to do, defensively that’s where my focus is,’ Allen said.”
Steve Buckley, Boston Herald – “When the Celtics take the floor tonight at Staples Center to face the Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, they will be looking to wrap up their second championship in three years. But when adding the Patriots and Red Sox into the mix, the championship math borders on the unfathomable: A win by the Celtics tonight (or failing that, in Game 7 on Thursday) would be the Boston sports market’s seventh championship in eight years. Kind of puts that ‘Boston ***ks!’ chant into perspective, don’t you think?”
Mike Bresnahan, LA Times – “One live morsel could be found on the Twitter account of Lakers executive Jeanie Buss: ‘Just picked Phil [Jackson] up at the airport. He is concerned but upbeat . . .’ It was a good summary of the words coming out of the locker room in the immediate aftermath of Game 5, where the Lakers were again outrebounded and again outscored in the paint in a 92-86 loss that put them down in the series, 3-2. If they can’t fix those areas Tuesday in Game 6, Staples Center might be a silent venue Thursday night, though the Lakers were resolute. ‘We’ll respond,’ forward Lamar Odom said. “Our energy is still up as a team. Our confidence is still there. The series is not over.’ Is he sure? ‘It’s the third win for them,’ he said. ‘It’s not like the trophy is theirs. They still have to win more and they have to do it on our home court.’”
Jessica Camerato, WEEI – “But there’s more than just a long frame and outside shot that separates Gasol from other big men around the league. ‘He’s seven-foot with skills,’ Kendrick Perkins told WEEI.com. The Barcelona, Spain native honed his skills playing international basketball, where assists are applauded just as loudly as dunks and the emphasis is placed on the team, not just the individual. His international accolades include winning a gold medal and MVP honors in the 2009 EuroBasket tournament and a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics. ‘The thing about international big men is they’re kind of like guards,’ Perkins said. ‘They’ve got a lot of crafty things in their game. Like they could maybe face you up and try to cross you over. They can handle the ball a little bit better, I think, and they’ve got a lot of guard things in their game. … When you’ve got a big man from the United States or wherever it may be, growing up we learn more dunks and stuff like that. They learn everything.’”
WEEI – [Interview with Jamal Mashburn] ‘What did you expect after Game 2?’ ‘Well, my basketball mind told me that the Los Angeles Lakers would possibly get two out of the three games in Boston. I was sold after Game 3, when Derek Fisher had his performance in the fourth quarter, but then the Celtics just took over, but I did not see this coming. It seemed like the whole series, each game has had a personality of its own. If Boston can put it together, as far as their stars showing up, as far as their bench players showing up, and their defense continues to be stingy, Game 6 looks like theirs for the taking. But I’m awfully nervous when Game 7 comes around and you have Kobe Bryant on your team. And I think the Celtics should look at Game 6 as being their Game 7.’”
Donna Goodison, Boston Herald – “Games 3 through 5 at TD Garden brought in an estimated $12 million for Hub businesses, according to the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. The $4 million per game excludes money doled out for tickets. ‘It’s a big score for Boston,’ said Pat Moscaritolo, the bureau’s CEO.”