|06.03.10 at 8:58 pm ET|
‘I wasn’t really nervous Game 1 of the Finals. I’m not really nervous right now,’ said Rajon Rondo. ‘It’s kind of hard to tell right now until the lights actually go on and there’s two minutes left ticking down. Right now it’s no big deal, it’s the same thing.’
The emotions are different this time around. In 2008, the Celtics were suddenly thrust from the lottery to the finals after acquiring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. This season, they know what it takes to win it all and are trying to recreate the success they achieved two years earlier.
‘I think we’re more poised than we were last time. I think that’s the biggest difference. I don’t think the stage is as big a deal as the game plan. We’re more focused on the game plan than the finals,’ said Brian Scalabrine.
‘It’s the second time around, we’ve been there. We’ve done it before and there’s nothing really that surprises you. We know it’s going to be crowded out there, we know media day is going to be crazy, we didn’t know any of that. The intensity of this team in ’08 was different. It was a more high-strung team, we’re much more laidback. That’s not a bad thing. We can compartmentalize better than we did in ’08.’
Doc Rivers is prepared either way.
‘In some ways we have the same starters, but the bench is completely different,’ he said. ‘For some of the guys, this is their first time around. So you have to kind of watch their emotions. And even some of the guys who were on the bench last year, the last time when they were not in the rotation as much. Then in a lot of ways, it’s their first time. ‘¦ We’ve got a veteran group, so we know what we’re in store for.’
|06.03.10 at 8:39 pm ET|
Rivers was talking about Rasheed Wallace (back) and Rajon Rondo (muscle spasms) who both missed practice time this week while they were healing their injuries. There is, however, one issue. Marquis Daniels (concussion) is not available for the start of the series, although he told WEEI.com when he arrived at the arena that he is “feeling much better.”
Brian Scalabrine will be active in his place, although Rivers did say that Daniels could be available by the end of the playoffs. “[Daniels] did drills, has feeling again,” Rivers said. “Before the series is over I think Marquis will be playing.”
As for Wallace, Rivers’ primary concern is not his back, but his conditioning. Wallace seemed to be in good spirits before the game, warning reporters to stay back of his locker, which is generally a good sign for him.
|06.03.10 at 8:39 pm ET|
|06.03.10 at 8:34 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES – Derek Fisher has been in the NBA for 14 years, but he still poses new challenges for Rajon Rondo.
In the previous two rounds of the playoffs, Rondo has been matched up with younger point guards in Jameer Nelson and Mo Williams. Even though 35-year-old Fisher may not be as quick, he can create problems for Rondo that he has yet to encounter this postseason.
‘He’s smarter,’ Rondo said prior to Game 1. ‘I think he’s been to seven finals so this is probably the same old story for him. He’s probably going to play like this is his last, but Derek’s a veteran. Like I said, he’s very smart and he’s a unique player, so I have to be aware of his tricks he may try to throw at me, some of his veteran moves he may have to draw fouls against me or whatever it may be.’
Fisher’s basketball IQ will keep Rondo on his toes throughout the series. The combination of his skill and intelligence has Rondo on the alert.
‘You can’t underestimate Derek,” he said. “He definitely can shoot the 3, you can’t lose sight of Derek, and he draws fouls. He shoots 99 percent from the line so he’s not an easy match up. He’s a tough match up.”
|06.03.10 at 8:32 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — Ray Allen is a creature of habit. For him, the only thing worse that not doing his pregame routine, which isn’t really an option anyway, is not being able to do his pregame routines because there are no games.
The extra rest may have been necessary to get his teammates healthy, but Allen has never liked having a long break in his rhythm. “It’s seem like it’s been forever, but it’s here,” Allen said. “You wait five, six, seven days, but it just happens just like that.”
However, this time is a little bit different because this is the NBA finals.
“You get a chance to soak up the sun and enjoy the success that you’ve had,” Allen said. “Once you get that you have to keep going and keep focus. There is definitely no comparison to the first few rounds. The conference finals are no comparison. As a team, as a player, it’s the Super Bowl. It’s just another level.”
|06.03.10 at 6:57 am ET|
According to a report in the New York Post, Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau turned down the Hornets’ offer of their head coaching position. Thibodeau reportedly had been given until the start of Thursday night’s Game 1 of the NBA finals to accept the offer, with Charlotte planning to give the job to Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams as a backup plan.
Thibodeau also is in the running for the Bulls vacancy, and reports indicated that Bulls executives Jon Paxson and Gar Forman flew to Los Angeles to interview Thibodeau, who also interviewed with the Nets before the Celtics departed for the West Coast.
Meanwhile, ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy removed himself for consideration from all vacancies, according to the The Star-Ledger in New Jersey. Van Gundy reportedly was considered a leading candidate with the Nets, who also interviewed former Mavericks coach Avery Johnson.
|06.02.10 at 11:30 pm ET|
‘I’m all the way with the Celtics,’ he said.
Ortiz believe the Celtics have what it takes to win it all against the Lakers. He offered up his NBA finals analysis, including why he thinks Paul Pierce is the key to the Celtics success, how Kevin Garnett pumps him up, and what makes the C’s a ‘team.’
Kevin Garnett: ‘KG is a monster down there. KG, he puts everybody in the mood. When he’s [trash talking] people out there and getting mad, that pumps me up. That even gets me ready to play baseball. I love it. I love it. I’m telling you, when I see KG doing that, I want to jump on the court and [kick butt] with him. It’s not a secret that his game is something else.’
Paul Pierce: ‘I believe that Pierce has got to keep his game up the way he’s been doing it [for the Celtics to win]. ‘¦ I want Pierce to stay where he’s at, scoring those 25, 30 points.’
Rajon Rondo: ‘Rondo’s fine in his game. I’m not worried about Rondo.’
Kendrick Perkins: ‘My man the center, Perkins, keep on [kicking butt]. Clean it out down there (in the paint). Don’t let anybody get in there.’
Ray Allen: ‘I don’t worry about Allen. He’s shooting the [heck] out of the ball. That’s a game that you know is going to be there because he’s been hot as hell. I don’t know how he does it. He’s been shooting some balls with everybody on top of him.’
Glen Davis: ‘Big Boy, I’m watching his game all the time. ‘¦ He’s just awesome. I love watching him down there hustling and doing his thing.’
The bench: ‘The bench is unbelievable, too. When those guys (the starters) take a break, it’s like they’re still in because those guys on the bench, they come out and get it done. That’s a team, that’s a team. That’s what I call a team. So I’m cheering for them big time.’
Key to victory: ‘They’ve got everything. First of all, everybody’s healthy to begin with. The games have been unbelievable. They just have to increase the defense just a little bit more, just a little tiny bit. Not anything crazy because their defense has been great too, just a little more and that’s about it, it’s an easy win.’
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