|05.04.09 at 7:10 pm ET|
Part of what makes Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy such an engaging guy to be around is his complete and utter refusal to tap-dance around a question. Ask him something he doesn’t like and he’ll let you know he doesn’t care for it.
Example: In his pregame chat with the press before Game 1, Van Gundy was asked if fatigue would be a factor.
“Who’s tired?” he asked.
Well, the Celtics presumably.
“They played one more game than we did,” Van Gundy said.
Yes coach, but all those overtimes too.
“It’s irrelevant,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. You guys do the analysis, we just play the games.”
OK then. But Van Gundy did not hold back his praise when asked about Kendrick Perkins.
“What’s Kendrick’s always been, in my opinion, is one of the better low post defenders in the league,” Van Gundy said. “He’s a good rebounder. A tough guy. Where his improvement has come has been on the offensive end of the floor. Before, this year, and even at the beginning of the year, pretty much his offense was limited to put-backs and some dishes on drives from (Rajon) Rondo. Now the can throw him the ball on the low post. Before he could just turn one way. Now he can go in either direction. He’s obviously a guy who has worked extremely hard.”
Van Gundy saved his best work though for the inevitable JJ Redick-Ray Allen question, as in how in the heck is Redick going to stay with Allen. (Not that it was asked that way, but that’s what everyone is thinking).
“I’ve been asked about the JJ-Ray Allen matchup a lot,” Van Gundy began. “I don’t know what to say about it. It’s two guys guarding each other. The funny thing is the perception you have about players. I didn’t hear a lot of those conversations in the Bulls matchup with Ray Allen and I saw him get 51 on them. My guess is JJ can probably hold him to that.”
Well-played, coach. Well-played.
|05.04.09 at 2:24 pm ET|
Rivers calls Orlando his home when he’s not coaching the Celtics. So, when the Celtics hit the road for Games 3 and 4, he’ll be going home.
“I get to go home and sleep in my own bed,” Rivers said Monday morning. “I’m in bed every night in my own bed, that’s not bad in a series. It’s rare that you can say that.”
But as for coaching in the playoffs against the franchise where he cut his NBA coaching teeth for four-plus seasons, including NBA Coach of the Year honors in 2000, Rivers said there’s no extra motivation. Rivers was fired after a 1-10 start to the 2003-04 season. Read the rest of this entry »
|05.04.09 at 1:32 pm ET|
Wondering what will work for the Celtics against the Magic and what won’t? We garnered the opinion of one scout who has seen both teams extensively to break-down what Orlando has to offer:
“He’s a really good three-point shooter so you you’re going to want to put the pressure on him because he’s not a great finisher when he drives. He will look to pass more than he looks to score when going to the hoop. I think (Rajon) Rondo can keep him under control. He isn’t Derrick Rose.”
“You have to limit his dunks. It sounds stupid, but you have to make him make offensive moves and score and not just give him dunks. I think you can attack him defensively because he is at his best when he is off the ball. That’s where he gets most of his blocks.”
“He’s the key to the whole series. It’s going to be tough for Big Baby (Glen Davis) to guard him because he can stretch the floor. That’s where (Brian) Scalabrine comes in. He’s going to play a big role. You have to limit his three’s but he is also a tough match-up for the bigs, that’s why using (Kevin) Garnett on him was so valuable. I thought Philly did a good job on him with Thaddeus Young.”
“He’s a very good three-point shooter who can get into foul trouble. He could have trouble trying to guard (Paul) Pierce. He’s really been able to make that transition from starter in Golden State to a valuable guy off the bench who can post-up and drive.”
“A three-point shooter, that’s all he is. You can really attack him defensively. He’s terrible defensively.”
“He comes in for Howard and supplies a lot of energy. He won’t hurt you with his shooting but he is good on the pick-and-roll, and gets garbage buckets. You just have to match his energy. He’s not a great shooter, and not a good post-up player, but he is a good rebounder. He’s one of the biggest reasons they beat Philly in that series’ last game.”
“He’s a solid backup point guard who is a pretty good penetrator and can hit an open three. He isn’t, however, a very good defender.”
“Very good three-point shooter who will also take you off the dribble. He’s a really solid player. Bigger guards can post him up a bit.”
“He’s just a very good player, and has done a good job with Pierce. Paul has some trouble guarding him because he has a very good first step and he’s a big guy who can shoot over you.”
KEY TO THE SERIES
“Two things: You have to limit the Magic’s three-point shooting, and limit the number of dunks by Howard. They aren’t going to move the ball like Chicago, but they will spread you out with guys outside and look for Howard inside.”
– ROB BRADFORD
|05.04.09 at 1:07 pm ET|
WALTHAM -Everyone knows this will be a different challenge for the Boston Celtics.
From the style of play to the expectations, this series with the Orlando Magic figures to be a different set of circumstances altogether for the defending NBA champs.
Another thing that will be different right out of the gate will be the intensity level, at least for Game 1 tonight at the Garden. Just ask Kendrick Perkins.
“It’s hard because you try to keep the same focus or you try to approach the game like you did in Game 7,” said the Celtics center in charge of managing Dwight Howard when he’s in the game. “I don’t care what you say, Game 7 is way different from a Game 1 because you know you have another day. With a Game 7, you know if you lose, you go home. The approach to the game is different, the intensity level is different so you just try to keep the same focus.”
|05.04.09 at 12:40 pm ET|
WALTHAM – The Celtics have all the excuses working for them tonight but their coach wants to make sure they don’t need them.
After a seven-game series against Chicago that left them tired and exhausted, they had exactly one day of rest (Sunday) before opening their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Orlando Magic tonight at TD Banknorth Garden.
The satisfaction of surviving the Bulls had not yet dissipated on Saturday night when the players got in their vehicles and found the scouting report book on the Magic waiting for them, courtesy head coach Doc Rivers and the coaching staff. Read the rest of this entry »
|05.04.09 at 12:24 pm ET|
Make life tough on NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. And don’t get caught up in the stat sheet if Howard is putting up video game numbers, especially in the rebounding column.
“He has to work for it, 20 and 20,” Perkins said at this morning’s shootaround at the team’s practice facility. “You know one thing, he’s going to grab every (rebound). He’s the only guy that rebounds on their team. So, he’s going to grab all the defensive rebounds. He may grab 15 to 17 defensive rebounds so you can’t get caught up in that. If you can make 20 points on 20 attempts, that’s pretty good.” Read the rest of this entry »
|05.04.09 at 10:54 am ET|
LeBron James will be named NBA MVP today, according to Brian Windhorst of Cleveland’s Plain Dealer. Citing league sources, Windhorst reported the announcement will be made this afternoon at the St. Vincent – St. Mary High School in Akron, the same gym where James announced his decision to enter the NBA. James averaged 28.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 7.6 assists this season. He will be the first Cavalier in franchise history to win the award, which will be presented prior to Game 1 of the Cavs-Hawks series on Tuesday night in Cleveland.