|06.06.10 at 7:42 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — The Lakers took Game 1 of the NBA finals in such a decisive manner that it would be tempting for them to think that they have things figured out against the Celtics. However, they have no illusions that Game 2 is going to resemble Game 1.
“It may have been first-game jitters,” Ron Artest said Friday. “We’re not expecting another game like that at all. They had a tough road in the East and faced a lot of adversity. That team, the Celtics, is special. We all respect that.”
Phil Jackson reiterated that point Sunday before Game 2.
“The response is usually, not always but usually, the team that has taken a loss,” Jackson said. “The adjustments and the response and we anticipate that’s going to happen tonight. It’s going to be a much more tight game, I think, going down the stretch. We anticipate the game is going to be highly-charged, there’s no doubt about that.”
For their part, the atmosphere in the Celtics locker room was business-like. Assistant coach Tom Thibodeau was spotted poring over film, while players mostly brushed off media inquiries.
In terms of adjustments, the Celtics aren’t tipping their hand although it seems likely that Paul Pierce may see more time on Kobe Bryant, particularly if Ray Allen gets in foul trouble again. Marquis Daniels is also on the active list and if nothing else he’s another body to throw at Bryant.
“We do what we do,” Doc Rivers said. “We didn’t do it. You can’t start changing because that’s not who you are and that would affect your team more than anything.”
|06.05.10 at 11:04 pm ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined The Big Show Friday afternoon to discuss the Celtics’ tough loss to the Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA finals, why he doesn’t believe they were out-hustled, and the future for assistant coach Tom Thibodeau.
“There was no rhythm in the game, there was a lot of fouls being called. ‘¦ I’m not making excuses, I just felt that our guy’s were ready to play, and played hard,” Ainge said about the way the team played in Game 1.
“[In Game 1] we really didn’t get a good performance out of anybody,” he continued. “Hopefully that will change.”
A lot of talk has been about the hustle in Game 1, did it seem like Lakers out-hustled the Celtics?
No i think that maybe some of the fouls early in the game took a little bit of that away, I know our guys were ready to play. A lot of times the team you’re playing does that to you. I thought, not so much effort, as much as tentative. We were in between on some of our defensive things, we weren’t quite on the ball. ‘¦ We were kind of in no man’s land so many times where we didn’t contest a shot or left the basket open. It looked like there was more indecisiveness, I thought that the natural, just effort. There was no rhythm in the game, there was a lot of fouls being called. ‘¦ I’m not making excuses, I just felt that our guys were ready to play, and played hard. I think [Rajon] Rondo got hurt half way through the game and kind of re-injured his back a little bit.
There is no way the Celtics can win when getting less second-chance opportunities.
Well I think there’s two things on that. I think 16 second-chance points is not good, and zero is really bad. I mean a lot of that is not effort, it’s just we’re not finding ourselves in those positions, or we’re taking shots too quick, as we were climbing the hill there coming from behind. You know we were taking quick shots and not even ready for offensive rebounds, I mean there are so many factors, more than just effort. But I believe rebounding is crucial for us, and has been for us the last three years. When we rebound the ball, and defensive team’s aren’t getting those second-chance points, that’s when we play our best. It gives us a chance to get out in the open court. If it’s going to be a halfcourt game on both ends, then that’s not our strength.
|06.05.10 at 8:55 pm ET|
Doc Rivers and Celtics players speak to the media prior to their practice session Saturday at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo. This was the last practice the Celtics will have leading up to Game 2.
|06.05.10 at 8:44 pm ET|
‘Last game in a way I was [holding back],’ he said prior to practice on Saturday. ‘But this game coming up, I’m just going to be myself. We’ve got to get this win, so whatever it takes.’
Perkins entered the NBA finals with six technical fouls, one shy of an automatic one-game suspension. Putting the potential consequence out of his mind is easier said than done. He scaled back his aggressiveness and didn’t go as hard on defense as he would have liked.
‘Just a few times where I probably would have went in there and mixed it up a little bit, just got tangled up with guys, I didn’t,’ he said. ‘I was like, ‘I can’t do it.’ Or a time a guy was holding me is a time I might have locked up with him just because. But there are times when you want to get in there and mix it up, go in there and bang a little bit, but you’ve just got to pick and choose.’
After the Lakers dominated the boards and got inside the lane with ease, Perkins knows he has to play differently in Game 2. He looks to find a balance between smart basketball and physical basketball.
Besides, Doc Rivers has made it clear what can happen if Perkins continues to hold back.
‘What didn’t he say?’ said Perkins. ‘He said everything, that we need to play harder, that this isn’t the team that played the last game against Orlando, it’s night and day. He said we need to come out and attack or we’d be getting sent home early, so we’ve got to come out and play hard.’
|06.05.10 at 8:11 pm ET|
EL SEGUNDO — The Celtics and Lakers held court with the media on Saturday as they looked ahead to Game 2. There have been common themes discussed following the C’s Game 1 loss — energy, rebounding, stopping Kobe Bryant, among others.
Over the past few days the players have heard the same questions posed in different ways. Many view it as part of being in the finals. Others have found a type of motivation in the repetition.
“I think it helps us a lot because you kind of get tired about hearing about the same things,” said Kendrick Perkins. “So you want to go out there and correct it so after Game 2 you won’t have to hear about it anymore.”
Here are a few soundbites from Saturday’s practice:
Helping Rondo be Rondo: As the point guard, it’s Rajon Rondo‘s job to get his teammate the ball. At the same time, the Celtics have to do a better job of setting him up for success as well. The Celtics lack of defensive stops in Game 1 prevented Rondo from getting into transition often, something they look to improve in Game 2.
‘When you don’t get stops, that means he’s taking the ball out every time and it doesn’t allow Rondo to get out there and use his speed in transition for fastbreaks,’ said Paul Pierce. ‘Every time they got stops, rebounds was another big Achilles heel for us. So it’s important to do a better job on rebounds after each shot, getting the ball in his hands so his speed and play-making ability can become a factor in game number two. So we’ve got to make a concentrated effort at doing a better job at that.’
Gasol reacts to Garnett comments: On Friday, Pau Gasol‘s comparison of Kevin Garnett from 2008 to 2010 became a media whirlwind when a small fraction of his comments were magnified. Gasol commented, ‘On Kevin’s part, he’s also lost some explosiveness. He’s more of a jump shooter now,’ before adding that he considers Garnett to be a ‘terrific player’ who brings everything he has to the court.
Gasol reacted to the buzz following Lakers practice. When asked if he was surprised that his comment had been portrayed as derogatory, he responded, ‘To an extent. To an extent. I understand media try to create situations for whatever reason, create attraction. But again, sometimes I extend my answers too long. Maybe I shouldn’t do that. I should be shorter with my answers and don’t give away just anything so it can’t be manipulated that way and used.’
The Celtics didn’t get worked up over Gasol’s comments, though. Rondo said losing Game 1 was motivation enough for the C’s in itself.
Said Kendrick Perkins, ‘I say speak your mind. Sometimes it livens up the series a little bit. So I say speak your mind. You never know who you might make mad when you say something crazy, so you never know. Everybody’s watching.’
Celtics know what they’re playing for: Kevin Garnett is no stranger to screaming, yelling, and getting in his teammates’ faces on the court to pump them up. But at this point in the season, Garnett says that isn’t necessary.
‘I think in this situation you don’t have to do any of that,’ he said. ‘I think we’re all kind of distasteful at this time, knowing what’s at stake and it being the finals. No one here has to come out and say a heroic speech or get in anyone’s face. It’s all self-explanatory to this point. Everyone is motivated. Everyone knows we’re motivated. Guys on the team are looking at themselves in the mirror and I’m no different from that.”
|06.05.10 at 6:02 pm ET|
Doc Rivers wouldn’t confirm the reports at practice Saturday.
“I hope it’s true,” Rivers said. “But we’re not going to comment on it, I can tell you that. We’re focused on the NBA finals. It’s the Lakers and the Celtics and that’s what we’re going to keep the focus on. But on Tom, he deserves the job. I think he’s the best candidate out there. Let’s hope it’s true, but we’re going to leave it at that.”
Rivers did say that Thibodeau’s future won’t have an impact on whether he returns next season to the Celtics.
“No, Thibs and I are very close, but that won’t have an impact,” Rivers said. “I want all of my coaches to get jobs. Kevin Eastman and Armond [Hill], those guys are gems. But that won’t have an impact. Honestly, I haven’t thought enough about it.”
|06.04.10 at 9:03 pm ET|
But it wasn’t to block out the jeers of the Lakers fans sitting behind the Celtics bench — ‘Fans are fans ‘¦ Everyone feels like they can joke on me,’ he said before practice on Friday. It was to block out loud noises, a cause of aggravation since suffering a concussion in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The earplugs worked. Well, after Davis made a minor adjustment.
‘You know what’s so funny?’ he said. ‘I didn’t think they worked well at first, but then Rasheed (Wallace) was like, ‘Turn them around,’ because I had them stuck in my ear the wrong way.’
Davis removed the ear plugs when he played, but said he gets into a zone on the court and doesn’t hear the noise anyways. But he never misses Doc Rivers calling for him to get in the game.
‘You can always hear him – ‘Baby! Baby!’’ Davis said, channeling an impression of his coach. ‘He’s loud, so I can hear him. I’m always looking at him anyways because he’s always standing up that way because the game’s that way.’
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Austin Ainge Offers Window to C's Pre-Draft Process
- Trade Possibilities for C's with Draft Approaching
- Latest Buzz Surrounding Jamal Crawford, Kristaps Porzingis, Celtics'...
- Latest NBA Trade Rumors, Buzz
- Ranking Celtics' Biggest NBA Draft Needs
- Buzz Surrounding Ty Lawson, Celtics Draft Plans and More
- Realistic Targets for Celtics to Chase During Offseason