|06.15.10 at 8:37 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — The mood inside the Celtics locker room prior to Game 6 wasn’t loose and it wasn’t grim. They were neither joking around nor were they tight. They know what they have in front of them in Game 6 and there is no sense of relief of foreboding.
They feel like they have zeroed in on the two most important big-picture areas: defensive rebounding and turnovers and it’s a testament to how off this series has been that they weren’t able to do either well in Game 5 and still get the win.
“The offensive rebounds is what allowed them to stay in the game,” Doc Rivers said. “We turned the ball over too much. And the first thing we talked about is we got away with that in a home game, we will not get away with that on a road game.”
The Celtics are also expecting Kobe Bryant to be at his best. “I mean, that’s all you can assume for is he’s going to give us his best game, very similar to last game and maybe more, maybe more assists, more rebounds,” Rivers said. “That’s why he’s Kobe. But that’s fine. I mean, we understand that. But we have to figure out a way of winning the game if that happens.”
Laker coach Phil Jackson emphasized the opposite tact, while allowing that Bryant is capable of taking the game over.
“We talked about that in our pregame today,” Jackson said. “Once he’s hot, he’s as hot as any player could be in the NBA, so you want to keep the ball on him. There’s no doubt with that. But there’s too much individual action. There’s got to be more team play on the offensive end.”
While the Lakers try to get back to what made them successful, the Celtics are simply focused on “doing what they do,” as it was written on the whiteboard in the locker room. While they have the advantage, the Celtics are aware that momentum can turn in an instant, especially if there is a Game 7.
“We just want to avoid another game,” Rivers said. “We’ve got a chance to win now, so that should be our urgency, is right now.
But you know, the Lakers have the same urgency, and their urgency is to play another night. I think you’re going to see both teams’ best tonight.”
|06.15.10 at 7:25 pm ET|
All you have to do is watch him about 3 1/2 hours before tip-off.
Whether it’s a January game at the Garden against New Jersey or a potential championship-clinching Game 6 of the 2010 NBA finals, Allen shows up before everyone and has the floor to himself and start draining shot after shot from beyond the 3-point arc.
Tuesday here in Los Angeles was no different as he went through several series of solo H-O-R-S-E games on the floor before finishing with free throws. He is known for his work ethic before each game, getting on the court and warming up. It paid off in Game 2 as he hit his first seven 3-point attempts on his way to setting NBA Finals records for most 3s in a half  and a game  as the Celtics won, 103-94 to even the series.
This is hardly news but still, it’s a reminder of the small details Allen keeps attention to, and that’s no easy task considering his diabetic four-year old son Walker just recovered from another bout of hypoglycemia early Saturday morning.
|06.15.10 at 6:41 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — Over 2,600 miles from where they hope to clinch their record 18th banner, the Celtics are already impacting traffic back in Boston.
The Red Sox announced Tuesday the Boston Transportation Department will close various streets in the Fenway neighborhood and surrounding areas during tonight’s Celtics playoff game here at the Staples Center.
Brookline Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic from the Landmark Center to Kenmore Square beginning at the end of the third quarter of tonight’s Celtics game. The area around Fenway Park has been posted with no parking/tow zone signs.
Starting at 7:30 p.m., the Boston Transportation Department will begin towing vehicles parked on Ipswich Street, from Boylston Street to Charlesgate, and on Brookline Avenue, from Park Drive to Kenmore Square.
This will also be the case on Thursday if there is a Game 7 between the Celtics and Lakers that evening in Los Angeles. The Red Sox urge fans to use public transportation if at all possible.
|06.15.10 at 11:20 am ET|
ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler discussed the NBA finals Tuesday morning with the Dennis & Callahan show and among the topics of conversation was Kobe Bryant‘s lack of trust in his teammates late in games.
‘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.’
Below are some of the highlights from that interview. To hear the entire interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
There could be two things to worry about headed into Game 5. One is the refs changing the tone, and a lot of Celtics get in foul trouble early. The other is this whole mentality of, ‘We have two chances to win one game?’ If you were Doc Rivers, would those bother you?
I don’t think that they’re necessarily thinking that way. I just believe they’re trying to say the right things rather than, ‘We’re going to go back there. We’re going to close this out in six.’ I think they’re just trying to be PC on this one, but I think their mentality is absolutely they’re going to go back there tonight and win the series. And I think they’re very confident they can do that based on how they played against them the last couple games. I think Doc Rivers and that team feel like they now defensively have got this team figured out to the point where they’re not that the Lakers could go off and get into over 100 points. I think that that’s what Doc Rivers’ mindset with this team is right now. He’s very comfortable with the series. Read the rest of this entry »
|06.15.10 at 11:17 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — The Celtics are one game away from an unlikely championship but they understand that what they are going to try to do tonight in Game 6 of the NBA finals will be difficult. Elimination games always are, and even in this fantastic playoff run, the Celtics are only 3-2 when trying to close out the other team and 0-2 on the road.
“This will probably be the hardest game of the season, if not of the series, if not of everybody’s career,” said Kevin Garnett. “This game coming up.”
The Celtics don’t want a Game 7. They want to end it tonight. Here’s five things to watch as they try to do just that. Read the rest of this entry »
|06.15.10 at 12:06 am ET|
Tony Allen made it clear where he wants to play basketball next season.
‘I am a Celtic,’ he told WEEI.com. ‘I love being a Celtic. It’d mean everything in the world [return next season].’
Allen will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. He has garnered attention during the playoffs with his gritty defense against some of the league’s best perimeter scorers, most recently containing Kobe Bryant in the NBA finals.
While Allen attested that he is focused on winning a championship, not free agency — ‘I haven’t really thought about summer right now,’ he said. ‘All I’m worried about is the finals.’ — he hopes he has played his way to another contract in Boston.
Allen has spent his entire career with the Celtics. He was selected by the team with the 25th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft and signed his current two-year deal (worth $2.5 million a year) following the 2008 championship season.
Even though basketball is a business and the look of a team can change in an instant, Allen can’t imagine himself wearing anything but green next season.
‘None whatsoever, none whatsoever,’ he said. ‘I mean, things happen but I feel like I’m going to be a Celtic for life.’
|06.14.10 at 11:27 pm ET|
But there’s more than just a long frame and outside shot that separates Gasol from other big men around the league.
‘He’s seven-foot with skills,’ Kendrick Perkins told WEEI.com.
The Barcelona, Spain native honed his skills playing international basketball, where assists are applauded just as loudly as dunks and the emphasis is placed on the team, not just the individual. His international accolades include winning a gold medal and MVP honors in the 2009 EuroBasket tournament and a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics.
‘The thing about international big men is they’re kind of like guards,’ Perkins said. ‘They’ve got a lot of crafty things in their game. Like they could maybe face you up and try to cross you over. They can handle the ball a little bit better, I think, and they’ve got a lot of guard things in their game. ‘¦ When you’ve got a big man from the United States or wherever it may be, growing up we learn more dunks and stuff like that. They learn everything.’
The versatility promoted in Gasol’s international experiences has made him a threat both inside and away from the basket. He is averaging nearly 19 points and 10 rebounds per game in the NBA finals. Even though he had an off-night in the Celtics Game 5 victory (5-12 FG, 12 points), the C’s know he is capable of being a game-changer, especially when the Lakers season is on the line.
‘He’s arguably one of the – he might be the best player on getting a bucket on the block,’ said Perkins. ‘He’s got a mixture. He’s got right, left-hand jump hook. He can take you off the dribble. He’s got a nice jumper, so in his game, he’s got a mixture of everybody [in the league].’
Added Glen Davis, ‘He’s more coordinated, he can do a little bit of everything. That’s the European ball, they kind of thrive on that, being big perimeter guys, guys that can shoot on the corner. He gives you a different match up.’
The Celtics recognize the differences in Gasol’s game that makes him stand out in the league. It’s their job to make sure he doesn’t stand out in Game 6.
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