This movie’s hysterical. I hate the ending (there’s no way Artest could ever throw a ball in the hole anyway), but certain parts were perfect. The Kobe “That’s my elbow!” complaint after a miss was perfect, as was Nash licking his hair. Also loved when Rondo said it must be the fourth quarter, because Kobe was being a hog.
Posts tagged: Ron Artest
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.
If you ask Tim Legler, the difference between the Celtics and Lakers is that the Celtics are all on the same page, while the Lakers are increasingly on different books, never mind pages. (WEEI)
“I think for Kobe Bryant, the problem right now is as the game goes on and the Celtics make a run in the second half, Kobe trusts his teammates less and less and less. And that’s a big problem for the Lakers,” Legler said. “You can see the frustration in the body language and the gestures he made towards some of his teammates and he frustration he showed in a couple of those huddles late in that game. He doesn’t necessarily feel he’s got the guys to with the intestinal fortitude to withstand a team as tough mentally as the Boston Celtics.”
As for the Celtics, Legler noted that, “They trust each other completely. That to me is one of the biggest differences between these two teams.”
I don’t think there’s any doubt that Kobe is starting to lose faith in his teammates. It’s clear in both his body language and shot selection.
To me, it’s on Kobe to help restore the confidence in his teammates. When guys are struggling (like Ron Artest and Derek Fisher have been the past couple games), you need to boost their egos and give them pep talks, not berate them every time they make a bad play. The Lakers are filled with players who have shown the ability to be very good in the past, they just aren’t getting the job done in the past two games. Blame the Celtics defense, partially, but I don’t think Kobe’s antics are helping matters.
Basketball is a game of confidence, and that confidence can be very fickle indeed. The Lakers’ role players need to find some, and quick, or the Celtics will end this series tonight.
Odom said he thought he was hit by a small vodka bottle, but couldn’t be sure.
As somebody I follow on Twitter said last night, it might not be the best idea to throw something onto the court while Ron Artest is playing basketball.
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.
Rich Levine, CSNNE – “‘I would say it was the toughest shots that I’ve ever seen somebody hit while I was on the court,’ said Paul Pierce. ‘It was like everything was — he was shooting fadeaway threes, fadeaway jumpers off the double‑team. You knew he was going to come out and be aggressive and try to carry his team. He’s a heck of a player. You’ve got to expect that from him.’ ‘When a player is in that kind of mode, man, you just put a hand up and you trap him and you do different things,’ said Kevin Garnett. ‘Other than that, you’re at their mercy.’ But as the points piled up, and Bryant’s legend grew, an interesting thing happened. The symbolism screamed louder than the 20,000 fans packed into the Garden. The juxtaposition was absolutely perfect. Over and over. Possession after possession. One vs. Five. Me vs. We. Kobe vs. the Celtics. And the Celtics were winning. Team was winning.”
Henry Abbott, ESPN TrueHoop – “A single win from an NBA championship, Rivers is prepared to joke about what a poor job his team — which has both Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace a single technical foul from an automatic one-game suspension — has done keeping level-headed. ‘That tells you how screwed up we are,’ says Rivers with a wry smile. ‘Kevin Garnett is calming our team down. It’s funny now, but it was Kevin and Tony Allen in the huddle telling everyone to calm down. I jokingly told [assistant coach] Armond [Hill] this is a crazy basketball team right here.’ Rivers finally concludes: ‘I don’t know if calming down and us goes together.’”
Bill Plaschke, LA Times – “So this is what the wall looks like. Sickly green, bulging with elbows, dripping with sweat, a solid sheet of basketball will. So this is how the Lakers look with backs flattened against it. Kobe Bryant screaming, Ron Artest bricking, Pau Gasol disappearing, Andrew Bynum limping, Lamar Odom smiling? ‘We’ll respond,’ he said. You will? How? If the Lakers’ answer is anything like it was on this steamroller of a Sunday night at TD Garden, they will soon end their season with a loud and pronounced cry of uncle.”
Bob Ryan, Boston Globe – “Doc Rivers knew there was a Kobe Bryant bomb planted somewhere in this series. ‘I hope so,’ he said after watching the maestro score 23 consecutive Lakers points in this one, beginning with the last 4 of the second quarter and the first 19 of the second half. ‘It’s amazing what that does to your team. We’re up 12, and I’ve got to call a timeout to settle down our guys.’ It was a great show, all right. But it’s just a footnote in Lakers history. Despite those 23 straight, and despite his series-high 38, the Celtics were once again a far better T-E-A-M, and with last night’s 92-86 victory they will head back to Los Angeles one game from another NBA championship. More and more the story of this series is the breadth and depth of the Celtics, who have not relied on any one, two, or even five players to grab this 3-2 series lead.”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “”From the standpoint that he’s providing points for his team and he’s in a rhythm, it’s a bit dangerous,” Garnett said. “But for the rhythm of his team, then it works in our favor. I can’t even come up with any kind of words because his flow is just deliberate. He was very keen on what he wanted to do; he got the shots that he wanted. I thought the second half he was really keen and hitting 3s. He was in a nice rhythm. ‘I thought for the most part we pretty much controlled everybody else, but in that scenario you put your hand up and play the best [defense] that you can. Strategically, all our defensive schemes and stuff that we have, you just hope that he misses.’ He hardly did, connecting on seven of nine shots overall in the frame for half of his game-high 38 points. But it didn’t matter. The supporting cast was 3-of-10 for seven points with only two other players generating buckets. Meanwhile, Boston combined for 12-of-19 shooting for 28 points with five contributors. ‘They played with more tenacity than we did in that stretch,’ Bryant said. ‘And we have to do a much better job Game 6.’ It’s clear Los Angeles can’t win if it’s five against one. It’s simply not a fair battle. Even if it’s the best shooter in the world.”
Arash Markazi, ESPN Los Angeles – “‘I thought we played pretty well,’ said Artest, who had 7 points, on 2-of-9 shooting, and two rebounds. ‘The games that we lost here, they were close. It wasn’t like a couple years ago where the game was a blowout. We played good. We played tough on the road. We played some competitive games.’ While reporters surrounded his locker, Artest sat in silence and perused the post-game stat sheet. He dragged his finger across Kobe Bryant’s 38-point line and looked at the other numbers on the page before putting it down and looking up. ‘No matter what it says on this stat sheet we did it together,’ Artest said. ‘We did all this together.’”
J.A. Adande, ESPN – “With the NBA Finals hanging in the balance, the Celtics put the basic premise they carried into this series — that if they made Kobe work for his shots, he couldn’t beat them by himself — to the ultimate test, and they prevailed. For those who were waiting to see Bryant break loose, to have the kind of outburst you expect from him (similar to what you expect when menacing dark clouds with sheet-lightning flashes are gathering overhead), you got your answer. He scored 19 points in the third quarter and even had the Celtics players asking their coaches to switch their strategy against him. And after the downpour ceased and the skies cleared, the Celtics had actually increased their halftime lead from six to eight. While Kobe had a galactic quarter, the rest of the Lakers were the exact opposite of our closest star: They came east and sank toward the horizon. So now Phil Jackson is in a quandary. Does he attempt to ask Bryant to carry the Lakers again, when that hasn’t proved to be effective against the Celtics? Or does he ask more from the rest of the team, when they haven’t played consistently? We know now, definitively, the Lakers will need a collective effort. One player might take a game off the Celtics, as Dwyane Wade did in the fourth game of the first round or LeBron James did in the third outing of the conference semis. But the Lakers are behind 3-2 in the series and need to win twice.”
Marc Spears, Yahoo! Sports – “Even the Celtics felt Pierce’s fury. With time running down in the second quarter, Rajon Rondo looked toward Ray Allen on the left wing instead of giving the ball to Pierce for the final shot of the half. Pierce angrily turned the other way and appeared to start walking off the floor as Rondo threw up a wild shot at the buzzer. Rondo darted toward Pierce afterward and the two exchanged words. Pierce later apologized to Rondo in the locker room. ‘It was nothing,’ Pierce said. ‘I told Rajon at halftime I had a couple buckets going and I wanted the ball and he wanted to do something different, and I was a little upset at that. Hey, he’s our point guard and I trust him. He’s made so many great plays for us throughout the year and throughout the playoffs. It was nothing. We’ve got spats with our team all the time. We always have spats. But the good thing about it is we always clean it up.’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “In the past two Celtics’ victories, each being a must-win, Pierce converted 19 of 33 shots for 46 points after scoring 49 in the first three games. Now, he has put himself in position to do something very few players have the opportunity to accomplish; win an NBA title in his hometown. He has two chances to cement himself as the boogeyman, a bugaboo in Los Angeles each time he steps off the plane at LAX. It will require another special performance, another somewhat selfish night in which he demands the ball and gets visibly furious at his teammates when he doesn’t get the ball in his sweet spot. Sometimes it’s like that. Sometimes Pierce needs to be a jerk when he is hot. He can’t always be a team player and distribute the ball, not when the elbow jumper is falling, not when he takes his burly body and dives into the chests of defenders to create space and drains those 17-footers.”
Chris Sheridan, ESPN – “The Celtics’ collective energy was head and shoulders above the Lakers’ throughout the evening (except for Bryant’s third quarter), and from a tactical standpoint, a precision standpoint, an execution standpoint, Boston was just flat-out better. But the C’s were sloppy at times and knock-kneed toward the end, allowing Los Angeles to stay within reach on a night when the Lakers’ turnover total (14) surpassed their number of assists (12). ‘I thought we had a spirited locker room at the end of our [postgame] session there,’ said Lakers coach Phil Jackson, whose 47-0 record when his team wins Game 1 of a best-of-seven series is in jeopardy. ‘They had a couple things fall into place, and we felt pretty good about our comeback and the way we played at the end of the game. We’re upbeat about going into [Game 6].’ If there is a stretch the Lakers can point to as the one in which this game was lost, it would be the third quarter, when the Celtics scored on 11 of their first 12 possessions to neutralize what Bryant was doing in hitting shots from all angles with varying degrees of difficulty. For more than a week, Rivers had been hammering home the point that a Kobe moment was going to happen and that the Celtics were going to have to withstand it. That they did, but it was an uncomfortable final four minutes until the Garnett-to-Pierce-to-Rondo play gave them some breathing room.”
T.J. Simers, LA Times – “Over the years it doesn’t always mean the Lakers are going to win when Our Ball Hog loses sight of everyone else, but you’ve got to admit it’s the best in basketball entertainment. In addition to scoring, he’s also going to give dirty looks to any teammate who doesn’t get him the ball, which is good for a chuckle if you’re watching. And tell me you didn’t grin or laugh when TV caught him coaching, pointing to himself and insisting he be the one to cover Paul Pierce. Later, I heard he wanted to fly the plane home, too. Our Ball Hog took 27 shots, maybe some of them were forced, but that’s become a part of his game. He scored 38 points, the reason folks watch the NBA to see the game’s best score. I know Phil Jackson likes to emphasize teamwork and all that other nonsense that makes a coach think he has an impact on the game, but I expect we won’t know how he really feels about Our Ball Hog until his next book. For now, he said, ‘he’s the kind of guy you ride a hot hand, that’s for sure.’ And ‘we were waiting for him to do that. ‘But then as he often does, he offered contradictory remarks. He said, ‘You know, other than that, you look at the assists, we had 12; they had 21. That’s a big differential in a game like this.’ And that’s because the ball was in Our Ball Hog’s hands and he wasn’t giving it up.”
Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports – “The big deal is unmistakable: The Lakers need to get tougher, stronger and smarter to beat Boston. Yes, they’ve regressed, Bryant confessed. Milk-carton defense, he called it. For that to happen this deep into the Finals, against this team, it was downright disconcerting to the best player on the planet. He was walking toward the bus Sunday night, on his way out of the Garden and back to L.A. for Game 6, trying to come back on a championship series, on a Celtics franchise that has been the bane of these Lakers for 50 years. All that screaming in the locker room, all that angst over a Game 5 that felt like ’08 again, and Bryant stopped walking and stood for a moment. He had to start building back these Lakers, building back the fragility of a defending champion on the brink of elimination. His eyes narrowed now, his lips stiffened, and Kobe Bryant would say late in this chase for a back-to-back championship, ‘Listen, if you told me at the beginning of the year that we’ve got two games at home to win a championship, yeah, I’ll take that [bleep].’ Two games in Staples Center and two final chances for Bryant’s wrath to deliver these Los Angeles Lakers an epic NBA title. All the cursing, all the screaming, was finally done as Bryant walked calmly, quietly to the purring bus. His words still hung inside the Garden, though. Still loomed over these Lakers. Someone has to make a stand with Kobe Bryant. Someone has to fight to save a championship season.”
Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles – “Two lapses Sunday sum it all up for L.A. The first came against Rajon Rondo in the final minute. With 38.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and after they had cut a 13-point deficit down to just five, the Lakers employed a full-court press. But the didn’t include anyone back as the deep man, protecting against a homerun pass. Paul Pierce leaked out towards half court, Kevin Garnett lobbed the ball to him, Rajon Rondo streaked ahead and Pierce whipped it out to Rondo for a fastbreak layup to extend the lead to seven points. In the second lapse, the Lakers later were able to cut the lead to five again, but this time allowed Rondo (a 61 percent free throw shooter in the playoffs) to work 10.2 seconds off the clock without being fouled, and to get the ball to Ray Allen (who shoots 86 percent from the charity stripe), who ended up taking the foul with 18.4 seconds left and hitting two free throws to put Boston back up by seven. ‘It was a critical time for us to get stops and run as a team and for guys to get into it,’ Lamar Odom, who had two of the Lakers’ nine steals, said. ‘We just couldn’t get none. Tonight was a game where if we’re getting stops, we would be talking about how Kobe got into it and how everybody else kind of followed after that, but we couldn’t get stops. It’s always the defensive end. This is the NBA Finals. You talk about the Super Bowl, the World [Series], in baseball it’s pitching and defense, defense, defense. It’s always the defensive end. We have enough guys that can score and play. It’s always the defense.’”
John Hollinger, ESPN – “Unfortunately for Bryant, his flurry came in a losing effort, thanks in equal parts to the no-show from his teammates and the equally torrid shooting of Pierce. The MVP of the 2008 Finals scored 27 points of his own and topped it with a spectacular falling-out-of-bounds assist to Rajon Rondo for a game-clinching layup with 35 seconds left. Pierce made two layups, but those were his only makes in the paint; like Bryant, the majority of his output came from distance, especially middle distance. Pierce’s other 10 baskets came from outside the paint, and he drew his only free throws on a runner contested by Bryant in the fourth quarter. ‘Paul was terrific,’ Rivers said. ‘He attacked all night. He did it through the offense, he did it through isos, he did it in pick-and-rolls.’ For the night, Pierce was 10-of-17 from outside the paint, including 8-of-13 on long 2s. That’s an unusually high conversion rate for anybody, even a shooter as good as Pierce.”
Mark Heisler, LA Times – “Those icy fingers up and down your spine… Or around your throat. No, it’s not witchcraft, just the Celtics, as usual. With Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom getting ever fainter until they looked like ghosts, and Ron Artest getting ever dizzier until he looked like a purple tornado, the Lakers capped a long bad week with Sunday’s 92-86 loss in Game 5, one of the great face-plants in a history replete with comic opera moments. Before the Celtics invited them back into the game, the Lakers gave it away with a third quarter in which everything they had accomplished this postseason went up in flames. While Kobe Bryant went off as only he and a few others in the game’s history could, scoring 19 of his 38 points in the third quarter, the Lakers let the Celtics score on 12 of the first 13 possessions. Four of the Celtics’ baskets came after missing shots. In other words, the Celtics made it or, when they missed, got it back and put it up again until it went in. Forget getting a rebound, the Lakers may not have touched one for the first eight minutes of the third quarter.”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “‘This team has lost more games in the fourth quarter than any other team,’ Jackson told his charges during a fourth-quarter timeout. ‘They know how to lose.’ Pierce shrugged. ‘Well, he’s right,’ Pierce said of one of his team’s greatest regular-season flaws. ‘That’s been the truth for us throughout the regular season. I haven’t really seen too much of that in the playoffs, but coaches say things to try to motivate their team. I probably would say the same thing if I was a coach in the same situation. It doesn’t bother me at all.’ That’s especially true when said coach is proven wrong.”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “Last night, to get his team to resist the urge to fight off the one-man army that was Bryant, Rivers reminded his team that the key words were ‘one man.’ ‘What we talked about before the game, you could see they wanted to change the defense, they wanted to start trapping, and I just tried to keep telling them, it’s only 2 points each time he scores,’ Rivers said. ‘It’s not 10. It’s just like if someone else was scoring. As long as we were going to keep scoring the way we were scoring, we were going to be good. But it makes you question your defense because he was terrific.’ Pierce was the Celtics’ answer for Bryant, particularly in the third quarter, when he scored 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting. The difference, though, was Pierce had reinforcements. The Celtics shot 56.3 percent from the floor. Bryant went 13 for 27 but while he went on his tear, his teammates seemed to go missing (a combined 18 of 51). Pierce did not see it as a game of one-on-one. ‘As far as Kobe going at it, I wasn’t in no personal duel with him,’ Pierce said. ‘I really didn’t even take the notice that we were going, I guess, back and forth at the time. I’m out there trying to help my ball club to win. Kobe is doing what he does for his ball club. He has to score the ball night in and night out. He makes tough shots, and he’s a proven winner. I wasn’t in the one-on-one deal with Kobe at all.’”
Gary Dzen, Boston Globe – “‘We had a timeout,’ said Celtics coach Rivers. ‘We had one timeout. I didn’t want to use it because we could advance the ball with the time out. So we were going to count to four, and if Kevin didn’t have anybody open, I was going to call it. Before I could get there, I see the ball in the air.’ Garnett threw the pass to Pierce near the same sideline on which he was standing. Pierce jumped in the air like a wide-receiver running an out pattern. He caught the ball under pressure from a Lakers defender, and — unlike a wide receiver — threw another pass to a cutting Rajon Rondo for a layup that would put the Celtics up seven. ‘I was just showing off my Randy Moss and my Tom Brady in one play,’ said Pierce. ‘Going up to catch it, then I went to my Brady mode when I was falling out of bounds to find Rondo for the receiving end.’”
Kevin Ding, Orange County Register – “Maybe the Lakers rally at home to win this NBA championship, maybe not. Either way, there will come a time next spring when they’re sitting in a foreign locker room and their stomachs are churning a bit with the pressure of having to win a pivotal road playoff game. And at that moment, Kobe Bryant can rightly turn to his shaggy-headed Lakers co-star and say: ‘You owe me something, Spaniard. Now show me something.’ That’s because Pau Gasol, for all his sweet skills and how pivotal he has been to the Lakers’ greatness these past three years, has been passive, indecisive and – yes – soft when the pressure is on, the footing is unfamiliar and the faces are even more so. Gasol faltered yet again Sunday night on the road and in the clutch, pushing the Lakers to a 3-2 NBA Finals deficit.”
Monique Walker, Boston Globe – “Back-to-back losses follow the Lakers back to Los Angeles, where the Celtics can clinch tomorrow night at Staples Center. If there were any lingering emotion from the Lakers losing the NBA Finals to the Celtics in 2008, Bryant didn’t want to hear about it. ‘Just man up and play,’ Bryant said. ‘What the hell is the big deal? I don’t see it as a big deal. If I have to say something to them, then we don’t deserve to be champions. We’re down, 3-2, go home, win one game, go into the next one. Simple as that.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “‘Yeah, you can be provocative and get out there and act kind of like they do if you want to and get in people’s faces and do that,’ he said. ‘But that’s not the way I like to coach a team. That’s not what I consider positive coaching, and that’s (not) what I like to think is the right way to do things.’ Jackson later praised Rivers for the way he exploited matchups and got his team ready for the playoffs. But he joked that he was supposed to ‘downplay’ his adversary. He wrapped up by saying, ‘Is that enough for you? I’ll give him a gold star.’ Gamesmanship aside, one might think Rivers would be bothered by the inferences that he coaches his team to act improperly. But if he is, he’s not saying. ‘I just think he’s making a point,’ Rivers said of Jackson. ‘I don’t think he’s making it toward me. And even if he is, I could care less.’”
Paul Flannery, WEEI – “They survived the ‘Kobe game’ that they knew was coming. They fought with each other at times and the Lakers at others. They got great shots and made them, and they gave away possessions carelessly. It was frantic, emotional, sloppy, beautiful and ugly and sometimes all of the above in the same possession. Just like this series. The 2009-10 Celtics won’t be back in the Garden anymore this season, but they left the faithful with optimism and hope that somehow, someway they can pull off this remarkable postseason turnaround. It won’t be easy, and it probably won’t resemble any of the games that have come before it, but the Celtics now have two chances to win one game and an improbable championship.”
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe – “Rondo drew criticism from Rivers only for overreacting to Artest giving Garnett a little extra shove on a foul in the first half, knocking Garnett to the floor. Rondo responded by shoving Artest and drawing a technical foul. Rondo’s view: ‘In Kevin’s defense, I pushed him back.’ His coach’s opinion: ‘I don’t like that stuff. Let’s just play . . . If you want to show toughness, toughness is walking away from all the other stuff.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “Kendrick Perkins disagreed. ‘I think Doc kind of got mad at him,’ Perkins said. ‘But I told Doc that was the right play that he made. A hard foul on Kevin, and he retaliated. He’s taking up for his big man. It’s many ways to have an effect on the game. That could have taken Artest out the game, just having Rondo push him from behind. You never know how that could affect him.’ Garnett said it was simply part of the game. ‘At the end of the day it’s basketball,’ Garnett said. ‘We’re not out here boxing. Everybody has played tough when it’s out here with three refs and a crowd full of people. We try to just tell everybody to control their emotions and protect one another, but you know, the way they call the game and the way they hand fines out and flagrants, all that goes out the window to be honest.’”
Kirk Minihane, WEEI – “Artest nearly fell down following the shove, which ABC color analyst Jeff Van Gundy found hard to believe, given the size difference between the two players. ‘Oh, he didn’t even shove him,’ Van Gundy said while watching the replay. ‘Oh, come on. He didn’t push him, he put his hand on him. This is another sell job. This guy [Rondo] weighs 112 pounds, and Artest weighs 280 pounds.’ Rondo was asked if he felt that Artest had ‘flopped’ on the push. ‘I’m not that strong,’ Rondo said. ‘He sold it a little bit. He’s probably the strongest guy on the court in this series. I’ve been lifting a little bit, but other than that I didn’t push him that hard.’”
Monique Walker, Boston Globe – “Meanwhile, Bynum played 32 minutes after getting his troublesome right knee drained for the second time this series. Bynum had 6 points, but just one rebound. ‘More than anything else, Andrew was out of rhythm in the game,’ said coach Phil Jackson. ‘I think he’ll feel much more comfortable getting back and playing. He’s really only played limited minutes since Tuesday night, so we anticipate that he’ll have some opportunity to get himself out there, shoot the ball a little bit, and give us more than just a big body in the sixth game.’”
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.
Chris Broussard, ESPN – “And while Davis muscled in layups over Lamar Odom, while Wallace drained a 3 and suffocated Gasol on defense, while Tony Allen covered Kobe like a rash and Robinson hopped around like an over-caffeinated break-dancer, Garnett, Pierce and Rondo rooted them on as if wearing skirts and cheer shoes. They stood, they shouted, they pumped their fists. Heck, they looked like high school scrubs just happy to be on the squad. ‘Just think about it,’ Tony Allen said. ‘Kevin Garnett’s telling you, ‘Good job, keep going!’ That’s big for a blue-collar guy like myself. That’s why I love Kevin Garnett.’ [...] ‘It feels like we’re in somebody else’s neighborhood and we’re gonna have to fight to get out of it,’ Garnett told them passionately. ‘We gotta fight, we gotta fight, we gotta fight to get out of this neighborhood.’ ‘He meant it’s going to take all of us to do this,’ Tony Allen said. ‘That for us to reach our ultimate goal, it’s going to take all of us. This whole year, he’s been talking about team, team, team. He always says something that makes you sit back and think, ‘Ah yeah, he meant everybody.” ‘We just try to keep it team,’ Perkins said. ‘Obviously, we’ve got the future Hall of Famers and we’ve got Rondo, an All-Star who had a great year. But we keep it one goal, one team. Doc does a great job making sure everybody stays doing their roles, not caring who gets the credit. All of them preach that, especially KG. He don’t like it when they say it’s ‘The Big Three’ or ‘The Big Four.’ He likes it when it’s team. That’s all he preaches is team.’”
Steve Buckley, Boston Herald – “Does Andrew Bynum really believe the Lakers ‘choked’ Thursday night? He spoke the word so casually while speaking with reporters early yesterday at the Garden that it’s possible not everyone heard it. But, yep, there it was. When the 7-foot Lakers center was asked about his team’s 96-89 loss to the Celtics [team stats] in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, he said, “We had the lead and we kind of, so to speak, choked. We had the lead going in (to the fourth quarter), 12 minutes to go, and we gave up a run . . . and we couldn’t do anything about it.” Imagine Kendrick Perkins saying that about the Celts, or Kevin Youkilis reacting to a Sox loss by staring into the cameras and proclaiming, ‘We choked.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “Asked moments earlier the best way to get him going, Pierce joked, ‘Just get me the ball, like Keyshawn Johnson.’ He forgot the ‘damn’ for authority.”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “If the Celtics are indeed a title team, they have to maintain home court and put the pressure on the Lakers. ‘Another must-win situation on Sunday,’ center Kendrick Perkins said. ‘I think it’s getting close to that time, we’ve got to go all out. There are three games left — however you want to look at it — we’ve got to go all out.’ A team that struggled at home throughout the regular season needs to capitalize on its home-court advantage one final time. TD Garden has been a haven in the postseason and the Celtics have won every big game there, but they have played uneven in two games against the Lakers. The issue has been the offense. The Celtics have played splendid defense this series, save a couple of stretches in Game 1 and the Derek Fisher-led fourth quarter in Game 3. The series could very well be decided tomorrow and the Celtics have to bring that same desperation from the fourth quarter of Game 4 into the next game. ‘I think we’ve got to get [this] one,’ Rondo said. ‘Whoever is going to win this series is going to have to win two in a row eventually. So last home game of the year, we’ll try to go out with a win.’”
Ron Borges, Boston Herald – “Yet as a group, the Big Three have been a big zero as a united front against the Lakers thus far. That is not to say individually they haven’t had their moments but the three of them have yet to play their best at the same time. Tonight is the night for them to do it because that would not make the Celtics difficult to beat. It would make them impossible to beat. ‘It definitely would help,’ Garnett said. ‘If you look at this series I don’t think there’s been a point where all three of us have had huge games. There’s never been a situation where it’s been multiple. It’s a bit frustrating, to be honest.’ It is time for Garnett’s frustration to end and the Lakers’ to begin. It is time for the Big Three to play like they are still big and still three. Not for a quarter. Not for a half. For 48 wild-eyed minutes.”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “‘You just can’t predict it, man,’ Pierce said as the captain and the rest of the C’s prepared for tonight’s Game 5 at the Garden against the Los Angeles Lakers. ‘You can’t predict how guys are going to shoot. You can’t predict how guys are going to play from a night-in, night-out basis. There’s really no way I can really answer that. I mean, it’s a different type of game. Teams have their scouting reports and some of the things they want to take away from us each and every night. Some guys more than others. So it’s hard to predict the other team’s game plan and what they want to give and what they want to take away. As far as having a great game from all of us, it’s real unpredictable.’ So unpredictable, in fact, that it has formed a pattern. At least one of the top four offensive options has disappeared in each of the first four games, including Allen (3-for-8 in Game 1), Garnett (six points in Game 2), Allen again (0-for-13 in Game 3), Pierce (5-for-12 in Game 3) and Rajon Rondo [stats] (5-for-15, three assists in Game 4). The offensive blend that emerges in Game 5 will depend largely on the Lakers’ defensive scheme. ‘Well, you just hope it comes together,’ Rivers said. ‘Both teams were really good defensively, and they’re going to take something away from you. You know, I think the willingness of our guys, and I think it’s stuck on trying to get that going and just go to the next part of it, is actually more important as far as I’m concerned. You know, it would be great if all three and Rondo and everyone got it going in one game. I’d feel very good about that game if that happens. We’re certainly going to try.’”
Mike Petraglia, WEEI – “‘We have the quickness and the size to defend this team,’ Odom said. ‘If we communicate, we’ll be alright. It wasn’t like they scored 125 points or anything like that.’ Time will tell if those words are enough to bring out more masks or spark more chants directed at his wife Khloe Kardashian. Odom can’t control that but he, like Bynum before him, said the Lakers need to control Glen Davis and Nate Robinson better. The pair, before their Shrek and Donkey routine after Game 4, combined to score 30 points off the bench. ‘Even with Glen Davis getting going and a couple of their other guys getting going, it wasn’t a barn-burner for them offensively,’ Odom said.”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “The Celtics wanted to negotiate a contract extension with Rajon Rondo last fall, but the skinny point guard suddenly became Glen Davis with pockets full of lead. He wasn’t budging. He and his agent had decided that Tony Parker money (five years, $55 million) was fair and just. Period. Call us back when you agree. The Celtics had hoped for something more moderate, but they eventually capitulated, and were pleased at the time to get Rondo locked in. Now, on the precipice of a summer free agent period that will resemble the California gold rush, they are even happier. Rondo, 24, would have been a restricted free agent, meaning the Celtics could have matched any offer. But they would have had to strike a large match. Said one NBA general manager, ‘You’re looking at a max-type guy in Rondo right now.’ ‘You know,’ said ]Rondo’s agent] Duffy, ‘the agent has a responsibility, in my estimation, to keep the player in a good situation and in the right environment. I felt comfortable with that figure. I still feel comfortable with it, even in light of the circumstances. And the way that that went down will benefit him in the long term, as well. You know, he’s the Boston Celtics’ starting point guard. He’s potentially a two-time NBA champion. You can’t ask for more than that. He could have been a free agent and gone to one of the worst teams in the league, then all of a sudden two years from now, he’s like, what am I doing here? What happened? You’ve got to keep that in consideration also.’ Rondo shrugged it off, but he raised another point when he said, ‘I didn’t want to be greedy. I’m blessed. I’m in a good situation, and I wanted to keep that.’”
Jessica Camerato, WEEI – “Glen Davis isn’t getting ahead of himself after scoring 18 points in Game 4. He understands his job on the team and is more focused on fulfilling his role than living up to any expectations set by his performance. ‘It’s not my job to go out there and score points,’ he said. ‘So [when people say] he’s not going to do that again, if I have to do it again, I will. But I’m not the primary scorer on the team. I’m not the go-to guy in the clutch. I’m just a guy that goes out there, don’t have no plays called for me, just goes out there and plays the game like it’s supposed to be played, and that’s all will and determination to get the game won. So if I don’t score at all next game, I know my effort and just the will to win will be there. And that feels even greater to me, especially if we get the win.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN – “Could the free throw woes, along with the presence of bigs like Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard, be affecting his ability — and, more importantly, his desire — to go to the basket? ‘I’m always likely to go to the basket,’ a defiant Rondo said Saturday. ‘I’m going to the basket, regardless of Bynum, Dwight Howard or whoever’s down there.’ But even his coach said the free throw troubles might have subconsciously given Rondo pause, even if just temporarily. The Celtics are working on both the mental and physical aspects of his free throw shooting. ‘We’re going to work on it,’ Rivers said. ‘He knows what he’s not doing, we know what he’s not doing. Last summer [assistant coach] Armond [Hill] went down [and] I went down and watched him and [former NBA standout] Mark [Price] work on it. There’s certain things that he has to do. Clearly the first two he was — nothing that he can be taught, I can tell you that, he fell away, his elbow was out. The first one you could see it right away. So we’ll get it back. But then the confidence part has to come back as well. I will say this: I was really proud of him because I thought in [Game 3] when he missed a couple, he stopped driving, and that’s what happens when you miss free throws and then you don’t want to get fouled anymore. I thought [Thursday] night [in Game 4], he kept taking it to the basket, and for me that was huge. That’s a good sign for him.’”
Gary Dzen, Boston Globe – “”I think a lot of people for years have felt like any team Ron is on doesn’t have a chance to win because he’s going to mess it up,’ said Fisher. ‘If anything he’s done a great job of putting us in that position. We’ve found Ron to be a great teammate and a guy who has made as much or more of a sacrifice than anybody on our team this season….I think if we can win this thing that will answer the question of whether Ron Artest is misunderstood.’ Artest’s reputation as a team-killer comes mostly from comments he’s made or things he’s done off the court, but the Lakers forward hasn’t had a banner Finals on the court, either. Artest is averaging eight points on 32-percent shooting during the Finals. With Ron’s role, and the teams he’s usually been on, this is vastly different from what he’s been asked to do for his team,’ said Fisher. ‘He’s continued to have the right attitude about just finding ways to fit in. We’re trying to push him and encourage him to just be himself. And at the same time recognize that we have a system of doing things and a way of doing things that is supposed to provide those opportunities. Some of it is just, we haven’t done everything as a team where it makes it easier for everybody to just play their game, and not necessarily have a bust-out game but a game where you have five or six guys in double figures. We’ve struggled in those games where Kobe’s had to carry the load.’”
Broderick Turner, LA Times – “When told Lakers Coach Phil Jackson joked Friday that he was thinking of using an ‘electrode’ as a way to stimulate Odom’s play, Odom didn’t smile or respond. He stared ahead. He was told Jackson said Odom looked uncomfortable in Game 5. ‘No, I’m comfortable,’ Odom said.”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “‘[Glen Davis has] matured more than anything, and he’s still maturing,’ Rivers said. ‘He still has a ways to go. But I think he’s becoming more comfortable in his own skin. He accepts who he is. The incident that happened at the beginning of the year was not the best thing for him or our team, and I wouldn’t want it to happen to any other player. But in some ways, it may have helped him understand that he had to mature now. I think he also understood that the team was not going to wait for him. We were going to move on. And when he came back, he didn’t immediately play, and I thought that all that probably in some way helped him.’ People assume maturity is somehow microwaveable, that in the nine months since the fight, Davis has grown into that man he said he wanted to become. Has he learned? Yes. Has he changed? As much as anyone could in nine months. ‘I’m sure he probably wouldn’t make that mistake again,’ Rondo said. ‘But he’s still Big Baby.’”
Monique Walker, Boston Globe – “‘As much as we want Andrew and need him, we at the same time don’t want him doing anything that’s going to jeopardize the rest of his career,’ veteran guard Derek Fisher said. ‘He’s a young and extremely talented player and has a very bright future ahead of him. So everybody wants to take one for the team and do everything that they can, but we don’t want to do anything that’s going to hurt him later. Based on the information that he’s getting and doctors and everything, if he’s comfortable, then of course we’d love to have him out there, even in a limited fashion, whatever it is. He’s been limited the whole postseason. But he still found ways to be effective for us. And if he’s out there, just his size and length around the basket can help us out a great deal, particularly on the boards.’ Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said the team is keeping Bynum’s health in mind in the final week of the series. ‘It’s our understanding that the injury is something that really can’t turn into something that’s career-threatening and it’s a decision he was in the loop with and he wanted to try to play,’ Kupchak said. ‘Our doctors won’t let him do something that we don’t think is in the best interest of the organization in the long run. So it’s all right.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Mal Graham, who was a second-year guard, recalls the meeting called by player-coach Bill Russell on the eve of the ’69 Finals against the Lakers. ‘Before the series Russ told everyone, ‘OK, keep your mouths shut,’ ‘ said Graham, a Boston judge. But there was one particularly roguish character beyond even Russell’s control. ‘We get out there and it was in all of the LA papers,’ Graham said. ‘There’s Red (Auerbach) quoted saying, ‘When it comes to the playoffs, everyone is scared of us.’ ‘”