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Artest on Rondo push: ‘Did what he had to do’

06.14.10 at 1:59 am ET
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Rajon Rondo received a technical foul at the 4:42 mark of the second quarter of Game 5 for pushing Ron Artest following a hard foul from the Lakers forward to Kevin Garnett. Artest, though, had no problem with Rondo when asked about the altercation in a postgame interview.

“That’s his teammate, his teammate hit the floor,” Artest said. “And he didn’t like it. He did what he had to do. Part of the game, I don’t care. He pushed me, I’m not going to push him back. I gave a hard foul, he pushed me, the ref called a tech. Next possession, you know? Move on.”

Rondo was asked the incident in his postgame press conference.

“Pretty self-explanatory,” Rondo said. “I felt that Artest pushed Kevin. It wasn’t just a regular foul, and we weren’t going anywhere, so in Kevin’s defense I pushed him back.”

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.”

Celtics video: Inside the locker room

06.14.10 at 1:48 am ET
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Glen Davis and Tony Allen speak to the media following the Celtics‘ Game 5 victory over the Lakers at TD Garden Sunday night in the NBA finals. The Celtics lead the series 3-2.

Read More: Glen Davis, NBA Finals, Ray Allen,

Allen fights through difficult time

06.14.10 at 1:09 am ET
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As soon as Ray Allen walked off the floor Sunday night following the Celtics‘ Game 5 win, he was greeted by his son Walker, who had a giant smile on his face. The night was an extra cheerful one for Allen, because he was forced to rush his son to the hospital early Saturday morning when Walker’s blood sugar dipped to an unsafe level. Following the win, Allen spoke to the media about a difficult 48 hours.

“It’s just tough to deal with with my son having diabetes, you know,” Allen said. “You do everything you can, but his body just wasn’t operating correctly. And as a family, we try to figure out what you can do at home. And it got to a point where it was about 12:45, 1 o’clock at night, he wanted to fall asleep, but we couldn’t let him fall asleep because his blood sugar was dipping into the 50s and 40s.”

Walker’s blood sugar dipped so low, he had to be rushed to the hospital around 1:30 in the morning.

“As parents, you try not to panic and try not to get unnerved,” Allen said. “We got him to the hospital, we got him situated, so he’s better now. And hopefully, we can keep him at the point he is now.”

Ironically, Allen found out his son was diagnosed with diabetes before Game 5 of the 2008 NBA finals. This time around, Allen was forced to go through an eerily similar experience. But in the end, everything turned out OK, and his son was able to attend the game.

“It meant a great deal to me because he doesn’t like missing games. Even if all the kids stay home, he wants to be at the games and he wants to wear green.”

Allen was excused from practice on Saturday but still attended. He finished Sunday’s game with 12 points, three rebounds and two assists. He was 0-for-4 behind the 3-point line.

Read More: NBA Finals, Ray Allen,

Five reasons the Celtics won Game 5

06.13.10 at 10:49 pm ET
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The Celtics are headed back to Los Angeles one win away from taking their 18th NBA championship, after beating the Lakers, 92-86, Sunday night at TD Garden. Here are five reasons that was made possible. (For a complete recap, click here.)

1. Limiting the Lakers’€™ top two options: Kobe Bryant might have gotten his points (38), but few were easy. Ray Allen was particularly effective against the LA star, staying on his shooting hand from the get-go, with Bryant going just 1-for-4 in the first quarter and 4-for-12 in the first half. Paul Gasol, who was checked by both Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins, couldn’€™t take advantage of the Celtics’€™ early willingness to let him shoot from the outside, going just 1-for-4 for the first half. Gasol did show a renewed aggressiveness in the second half, taking six shots in the third quarter. But at the end of the day, Gasol never established himself as the interior threat witnessed in the series’€™ first few games, finishing with just 12 points.

2. Paul Pierce: It was clear this was Pierce’€™s time to take top billing when it came to the Celtics’€™ offense, coming out of the shoot going 7-for-10 in the first half. He then continued in the third quarter, going 5-for-8 from the floor. With Ray Allen and Co. clearly deferring to Pierce, the Celtics captain never stopped displaying the kind of aggressiveness that he hadn’€™t offered at any point throughout the finals, finishing with 27 points. This was the Paul Pierce who carried the Celtics to their 2008 NBA championship.

3. The Celtics’€™ overall defense: As promising as it was that the Celtics had held the Lakers to just 33 percent shooting in the first half, the fact that they led by just six points heading into the intermission was cause for concern, especially considering the Celts had shot 65 percent. But the C’€™s defense never let up. And to cap it off, nobody on the Celtics was getting into foul trouble, with Allen becoming the first Celtic to pick up three fouls with just under eight minutes left in the game. Another sign of the Celtics’€™ resolve was their rejuvenation on the glass, with the C’€™s actually out-rebounding LA, 27-22, through three quarters. The Lakers finished shooting 40 percent from the floor, to the Celtics’ 55 percent.

4. Ability to control the paint: Remember the matchup problems the Celtics were supposed to continue to have on the interior? Many of them magically disappeared in Game 5. Leading the way was Kevin Garnett, who found his Fountain of Youth, going 5-for-6 from the floor through the first three quarters while grabbing nine boards and helping control Andrew Bynum (1 rebound) and Gasol during that time. Credit has to go out to Perkins, as well, with the center not only making both his shots from the floor while keeping the Lakers away from the glass, but also keeping his composure. At one point Perkins walked away from a rift with Gasol, holding his hands in the air while pointing to his head as a reminder that he wasn’€™t going to be coaxed into his seventh technical foul of the playoffs.

5. The point guards: Perhaps statistically, Game 2 was Rajon Rondo‘€™s best game, but Game 5 offered how far Rondo has come as a point guard. He consistently got the ball in the right hands (usually Pierce), while taking few bad shots (as his 8-for-11 showing from the floor would suggest). But it wasn’€™t only Rondo (18 points) who helped set the tone for the Celtics at the point, with Nate Robinson continuing to play with confidence, albeit not too much confidence. Robinson went 2-for-4 in his 10 minutes, only turning the ball over twice while coming away with a plus-1.

Doc: I like our focus

06.13.10 at 7:57 pm ET
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Every coach likes his team to be focused on the task at hand.

Doc Rivers believes his team spent Sunday in just the right frame of mind, not worried about the fact that win or lose, this will be their final game on the ‘Red Auerbach Parquet’ floor.

“Our guys haven’t talked about that a lot,” Rivers said. “I’ve heard it a lot. I think fans realize we don’t have Games 6 or 7 here so this is our final home game.

“Our guys really are just focused on THE game tonight and I like where our focus is, in this case, over the fans’ focus. I don’t know if players have the chance to look at big picture, or coaches in some ways, and that’s probably good.”

[Doc Rivers believes his team’s focus is where it needs to be.]

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Lakers, parquet

C’s need more from Rondo

06.13.10 at 7:42 pm ET
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Through the first four games of the NBA finals Rajon Rondo has been solid, yet hardly spectacular, save for a triple-double in Game 2. Rondo played only 31 minutes in Game 4, shooting 5-for-15 and finishing with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.

The key to Rondo’s effectiveness is defensive rebounding and the Celtics have been up and down in that regard. The Lakers have also done a better job of getting back in transition since Rondo was able to turn them inside out in the second game.

But there is a concern that Rondo’s inability to make free throws combined with the Lakers size inside has taken away some of his aggressiveness.

“He kind of got back to it in the second half of Game 4,” Doc Rivers said. “He missed some layups. I thought he hung his head a little bit, and that happens. You know, I still think we forget how young he is. So, he still has some growing to do.”

Maybe so, but the time for growth has passed, at least this season. The Celtics need Rondo to play at an All-Star level because the Lakers don’t have an obvious counter for him. If Rondo and Ray Allen can get going in the same game, as they did in Game 2, it would force Phil Jackson to make a choice between Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher and that plays heavily into the Celtics advantage.

Read More: Rajon Rondo,

Doc: We won’t change game plan for Kobe, Bynum

06.13.10 at 7:42 pm ET
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Doc Rivers knows Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum can be game-changers for the Lakers, but that doesn’t mean he is going to change the Celtics game plan because of them.

Bynum, who had his right knee drained after Game 4, will play in Game 5. He played just 12 minutes on Thursday, and while there is the possibility that his minutes could be limited, Rivers is not going to bank on the big man being on the bench.

“We’re going to play the game,” he said. “Andrew is not going to change how we play. Again, usually the last six or seven minutes of the game Andrew is not on the floor. It’s usually Gasol and Odom for the most part. That’s what they’ve done all year and they’ve done it in the series. But he is a factor, his size is a factor, and offensively we do change things when he’s on the floor to try to get the size out of the paint. But other than that, there’s not two game plans.”

Bryant remains a constant concern for the Celtics on defense. Even though Bryant has credited the Celtics D for limiting him offensively, the C’s know he is capable of scoring at will on any night. But they can’t plan their whole strategy around that threat.

“You don’t worry about it. I mean, hell, he’s Kobe Bryant,” said Rivers. “We’ve talked about it before. We are going to have to win a game eventually in this series where he goes off for a big number. But that number, whatever it is, it’s still not the final number. Other people still have to score for them. So as far as we’re concerned, we’re just going to do our best.

“What we can’t do is overreact to it, and I think that’s where the great players get you, the LeBrons and the Wades and who we’ve already faced. They have that big game and everybody overreacts and wants to change the defense and wants to change things. No, we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing.”

Read More: Andrew Bynum, Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Lakers
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