Pau Gasol played a great Game 1 ( 23 points, 14 rebounds), but let’s not get carried away with this toughness thing. Pau is still one of the world’s biggest flop artists. Watching Pau fall to the floor like he got shot by a Magic sniper in the balcony makes me sick.
Posts tagged: NBA Finals
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.
Matt Pepin, Boston.com-”There’s nothing new about mayors of cities with teams playing each other for a championship having a friendly wager on the outcome. The stakes are almost always something that represents the city. But give Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa some credit for breaking the “sushi-for-clam chowder” mold for this year’s NBA Finals. According to the LA Times, he’s putting up actor and Lakers superfan Jack Nicholson in a proposal to Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino, and asked that Boston natives Ben Affleck and Matt Damon be on the hook if the Celtics lose. Villaraigosa suggests that the actors would make advertisements touting the city of the winning team.”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE- “Bryant led all scorers with 30 points, 14 of which came in the pivotal third quarter when the Lakers took a nine-point halftime lead and more than doubled it. He also had seven rebounds and six assists. Known for playing with assassin-like precision, Bryant’s steely cool demeanor seemed to permeate throughout the Los Angeles roster. You knew coming in that Bryant was going to win his matchup with Ray Allen. But as you went down the line, it seemed the Lakers were victorious from top to bottom. And they did it with a physical brand of basketball, the kind of game that was supposed to be Boston’s calling card, not L.A.’s. ’The Lakers were clearly the more physical team today,’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. ‘They were more aggressive. They attacked us the entire night, and you know, I’ve always thought the team that is most aggressive gets better calls. That’s just human nature.’”
J.A. Adande, ESPN.com- “In the two years since they last met in the Finals it seems the Celtics have aged while the Lakers matured. The Lakers all said the beatdown the Celtics gave them in 2008 gave them the drive to get the championship in 2009. I asked Kobe Bryant before the series what they took from beating Orlando. ‘Just the poise,’ he replied. ‘The poise of playing through [adversity] and getting to our ultimate goal, that’s something we’ve carried with us. You don’t see us get rattled by anything.’ Poise. The perfect word to describe the Lakers Thursday night. While the Celtics got bent when calls didn’t go their way, Pau Gasol reacted to a couple of fouls whistled on him with that same disbelieving smirk flashed by Armando Galarraga when the umpire cost him a perfect game. Nor did he get out of character and flex after dunks or yell in Kevin Garnett’s face. He made his point with a 23-point, 14-rebound stat line.”
Peter May, ESPN Boston- “The plaudits carried over to the postseason. He was the best player on the floor in the Celtics’ series with the Cavaliers. (“He’s dominating the series,” LeBron James said after Rondo went for the unthinkable line of 29 points, 13 assists and 18 rebounds in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.) He wore out Jameer Nelson as the Celtics won the first three games of the conference finals against Orlando. And in pretty much every pre-Finals breakdown, aside from the one in the Derek Fisher house, the Celtics were deemed to have the advantage at point guard. But the Lakers had the Celtics on their heels much of the night and while the real story of Game 1 was L.A.’s bludgeoning of Boston on the glass, there also was the alarming lack of cohesion on offense. Fairly or unfairly, that starts with the point guard. The Celtics shot a wretched 43.3 percent. They managed a meager 19 assists, or the same number Rondo himself had in Game 2 against the Cavs. Their 41 first-half points matched their lowest scoring first half of the playoffs. But on the previous two occasions in which they had a 41-point first half, they won (Game 1 vs. Miami and Game 1 vs. Orlando). That’s because they actually played defense in those games.”
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe- “‘I’m better than I was tonight,‘ Garnett said afterward in the glum visitors locker room.’I played like horse[expletive].’’ The game was lost largely in the paint, where the Celtics’ big men, primarily Garnett and Kendrick Perkins, were generally manhandled by Gasol and Co. The Lakers outscored Boston, 48-30, in the paint and outrebounded the Celtics, 42-31. Perkins, who finished with only 8 points and three rebounds, joined Garnett in accepting much of the blame for the loss. Perkins failed to block a shot and was outplayed from the start by Lakers center Andrew Bynum. ‘I didn’t have any impact on the defensive end at all, and it all starts with me,’Perkins said. ‘I’ve got to do better.’”
Kobe Bryant scored 30 points and Los Angeles won Game 1, 102-89, Thursday night at the Staples Center behind great defense and rebounding.
The Los Angeles Lakers held Boston to just 43% from the floor and the Celtics only one made three-pointer. Los Angeles also out-rebounded Boston 42-31, outscoring the Celtics 10-0 on second chance points in the first half.
Both Bryant and Pao Gasol (23 points, 14 rebounds) were fantastic offensively for the Los Angeles Lakers. Because the Lakers shot so well–49% from the field– Boston had trouble igniting the fast break, scoring just 5 fast break points for the game.
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo had 13 points and 8 assists, but he took 14 shots and was unable to set the pace for a suddenly dysfunctional Celtics offense. The Big Three shot a combined 16-37 from the floor and the lone bright spot for the Celtics was the 13 free throws Paul Pierce was able to generate while Ron Artest guarded him.
Pierce finished the game with a team–leading 24 points and,even more telling, a team-leading 9 rebounds. Pierce and Rondo–not Kendrick Perkins or Kevin Garnett– were the only Celtics with more than 5 rebounds.
The Lakers led 50-41 at halftime and the game did not get much closer the rest of the way. Bryant had 14 third-quarter points, leading a third-quarter charge that gave the Lakers their biggest lead of the game at 20 points, 84-64. Boston never recovered after a poor third quarter, despite multiple mini-runs that cut the lead to 11.
More coverage and analysis to come tomorrow at Celtics Town. Stay tuned.
You’re going to love this video clip. Not only do the Fenway fans chant ‘Beat LA,’ but the guy running across the field shows some real moves. He deserves a tryout with the Patriots after all those jukes and cut-back moves. Beat LA!
Paul Pierce may have been raised in Inglewood, CA, he may have grown up a Lakers fan, dreaming of wearing a Lakers uniform, but there’s no doubt about it–Pierce belongs to the Celtics family now.
According to Brian Kamenetzky of ESPN Los Angeles, Pierce praised the Celtics fans for their knowledge, while also taking a shot at Lakers fans.
When asked about the difference between fans in Los Angeles and fans in Boston, Pierce responded:
I’m more biased knowing that our fans are, I want to say, I think a little bit more knowledgeable to the game. I think a lot of celebrities come here to get out of the house to watch a game, to see the other celebrities. But then you’ve got your fans to mix with them. It’s an interesting crowd, whereas I think our fans really come to watch the actual game.”
Pierce was spot-on in his comparison of Lakers fans to Celtics fans. Many Lakers fans go to the Staples Center to enjoy a festive atmosphere and be entertained. On the other hand, Boston Celtics fans go to the TD Garden because they care deeply about the Celtics–almost as if they were a part of the team.
Though the Lakers have home court advantage, Pierce seems to be hinting that the Celtics will not be intimidated in the Staples Center. The Boston Celtics are coming into Los Angeles with one goal in mind–to win two games– and the happy, partying fans of the Staples Center will not deter them.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was a guest on the Dennis and Callahan Show this morning on WEEI Radio. Rivers discussed the Celtics-Lakers rivalry, Kobe Bryant, Nate Robinson’s break-out Game 6, and much more.
Click here for the full transcript.
Some highlights of the interview:
I’m going to guess that your players would recoil at the idea of ever being considered underdogs.
We don’t think that way. We don’t care what others think. We believed going into the playoff rounds that we could get here and win it. We thought we needed to be healthy, and we did get healthy. I don’t know how healthy we are now, but we’re getting closer again. That was key for us. We just believe that the 23-5 team was the real team, at the beginning of the season. The 27-27 the rest of the way was due to different circumstances that had nothing to do with basketball. And we believe that as a group.
Though Doc says the Celics don’t think that way or care what others think, I disagree. This Celtics team–like the 2008 champions– plays with a chip on their shoulder when they are the underdogs, or when they feel disrespected.
Just look at the Orlando series. With Orlando the prohibitive favorite before the series began, Boston took the first three games in dominant, statement-making fashion. After taking a 3-0 lead, however, Boston fell asleep at the wheel when the majority of sports fans expected them to take care of business in Game 4, or at least Game 5. Then, when the tide turned once again, and loudmouth sportwriters started comparing the Celtics to the Bruins, expecting a historical collapse, Boston once again made a statement with a dominant Game 6 victory.
Doc on Nate Robinson:
Nate Robinson didn’t play because we needed him in Game 6. Nate Robinson played because he played so well in Game 5, the game that Orlando beat us. It wasn’t the offensive end, it was the defensive end. He was doing all the things that we needed him to do, that we worked with him on. You could see that he had bought in. I remember turning to our bench early on and saying, “Hey, Nate’s going to help us.”
I look forward to seeing more of Nate Robinson in the NBA Finals, and I think he has solidified a spot in the rotation with his Game 6 performance. Like Doc said, his defense was fantastic. Robinson will be able to harass Lakers point guards Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar with his quick feet and in-your-face defense. Both defensively and offensively, Robinson–like any good bench player–provides a change of pace from Rajon Rondo.
On defense, Rondo is more of a gambler, trying to play passing lanes or reach for steals, while Robinson plays chest to chest defense. On offense, Rondo is a premier facillitator, while Robinson is more of a scorer and a much better shooter. Both should have their way with Derek Fisher. Too much quickness for the old man to deal with.
And, one last parting gift from Doc’s interview:
I know the history. I love the history of the game. To be part of it is huge for me, personally. But you feel a responsibility. You don’t want them to beat you. And that’s just the bottom line. Let’s say you were playing Phoenix. You still would want to win the world championship, obviously. But you’re playing the Lakers, and it’s like you’re thinking more about you want to beat them and less about wanting to win the title. And that’s probably good…But I think at the start of this year when we started out hot and they started out hot, I think both teams — I know we did, we thought, “Let’s get back to them.”