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.’”