|06.04.10 at 5:27 pm ET|
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has made the challenge and is waiting to hear from Boston Mayor Tom Menino as to whether he will accept or decline Villaraigosa’s wager.
“Once again, we find ourselves replaying the rivalry that defined a decade. The Lakers, having triumphed over the Phoenix Suns, and the Celtics, having defeated the Orlando Magic, will face off for the NBA championship for the 12th time in history,” Villaraigosa wrote in a letter to Menino.
“This time ‘ unlike two years ago ‘ it’s our turn to win and finally tie the Celtics for the most championships of any franchise.”
This time, there is much more on the line than just Boston Baked Beans. This wager involves some famous actors from each city. Villaraigosa is putting Lakers fan Jack Nicholson on the line to film a commercial praising the city of Boston. On the other side of the bet, Boston would have its hometown boys Matt Damon and Ben Affleck film a public service announcement touting LA.
Villaraigosa wrote: “Should the Celtics prove victorious, we will generously permit Hollywood legend and Lakers fan extraordinaire Jack Nicholson to don green and film a commercial touting Old North Church, the Common and all there is to see in Boston. Should the Lakers prevail, we will gladly accept your hometown boys, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, as spokespersons for a public service announcement extolling the virtues of the City of Los Angeles, where the climate, the beaches and the food are far superior.”
Officials in Menino’s office indicated that they are working on response.
|06.04.10 at 5:16 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — Pau Gasol was asked a lot of questions about Kevin Garnett on the day after he scored 23 points and had 14 rebounds in the Lakers Game 1 victory in the NBA finals. Gasol talked about how he has grown over the years and how playing Garnett was a big challenge when he was in Memphis and Garnett was in Minnesota.
Then he said this: “On Kevin’s part, he’s also lost some explosiveness. He’s more of a jump shooter now.” Gasol went on to say how Garnett is still a “terrific player, a terrific competitor, and he’s going to bring everything he’s got. You can count on that.”
Only the first part of the quote was relayed to Garnett who responded, “I have no comment for his comments.”
Pressed further, Garnett said, “I’m not getting caught up in what Pau’s talking about. I’m not going to play these games. I’m going to stick to my guns, continue to make the proper adjustments and move on. I’m not into this bull [expletive] that’s going on, you know what I mean? That’s it.”
So, we have our first media-driven controversy of the finals. Fair or unfair, and the set-up was more than a little bit dishonest, Garnett will have to bring more to the table defensively against Gasol in Game 2. He knows that, as does everyone else, but count on this being a major plot point over the next 48 hours.
For example, Rajon Rondo was asked about the Gasol’s comments, again without context, and he just grinned. “Every man is entitled to this opinion,” Rondo said. “You know, Kevin is fine. It’s just one game. We’ll see in Game 2.”
Asked how this would affect Garnett, Rondo said, “I just can’t wait. I didn’t know [Gasol] said that, but I’ll be excited to see how it goes in Game 2.”
|06.04.10 at 1:09 pm ET|
Actor Mark Wahlberg, a Boston native, is a big Celtics fan (although probably not as big as his brother Donnie, who was a guest of The Big Show Thursday at the Staples Center). Mark accepted a bet from legendary rapper (and Los Angeles-area native) Snoop Dogg on the NBA finals. The loser will donate $20,000 to the winner’s favorite charity. Here’s Snoop Dogg talking about the bet.
|06.04.10 at 12:58 pm ET|
A New Hampshire man is making news for accepting a challenge to walk from Boston to New York City for second-row seats to Games 3, 4 and 5 of the NBA finals. Tyler McGill of Rye, N.H., was given a week to finish the walk.
“Basically, two of my buddies got three seats to all of the Celtics home games in the finals,” McGill told Seacoastonline.com. “All I had to do was ask, ‘What would it take to get me all of those tickets?’ They said, ‘Walk from the Garden to New York City and we’ll get you to all the games.’ ”
After one false start Tuesday night that was curtailed after eight miles due to rain, the 27-year-old regrouped and began on his 200-plus-mile journey Wednesday morning. He reported that he was allowed to nap at Town Hall in Sherborn and was given a reflective vest by police, who made him promise to wear the vest to Game 3 at TD Garden.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” he said. “I hate walking. I’m basically walking a marathon and a 10K every day.”
McGill sends pictures from his cell phone to keep his friends updated on his trek.
|06.04.10 at 7:20 am ET|
According to an ESPN report, the New Orleans Hornets decided to give Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau at least one more day to accept their offer to be their head coach. The report says the Hornets offered Thibodeau the position last week, but Thibodeau did not accept by Thursday’s deadline, one day after he interviewed with the Chicago Bulls. Thibodeau also reportedly interviewed with the New Jersey Nets earlier in the week. New Orleans is said to be ready to offer its job to Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams if Thibodeau does not commit soon.
|06.04.10 at 2:48 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — Phil Jackson coached teams, as you may have heard, have never lost a series when his team won the first game. The number is 47-0 and it’s been getting a lot of play around here.
Ray Allen was unimpressed.
“Nothing,” was his answer to a question about what it meant to him. “Stats are made after the fact. Most of us don’t live in the past.”
It really doesn’t mean anything, other than Jackson has coached some pretty good teams. The Celtics have been bucking the odds the entire postseason.
They beat the hottest team in the league in the first round. They beat Cleveland after being down 1-0 and 2-1 and they took two games in Orlando after the Magic had not lost a game at all since early April.
Their entire playoff run has been something of an anomaly anyway, so no, they are not intimidated by this piece of historical data.
|06.04.10 at 2:40 am ET|
LOS ANGELES -For a defensive-minded team, the Celtics didn’t look like one in their Game 1 loss to the Lakers.
“It was horrible,” Doc Rivers said of the C’s defense following the game. “I thought we hugged up on guys all night. That wasn’t our defense tonight, I can tell you that. Give them credit, they moved the ball, they spaced the floor very well. But we didn’t shrink the floor at all tonight.”
The Celtics were outrebounded 42-31, including 30-23 on the offensive glass. Pau Gasol finished the night with 14 rebounds, while it was Paul Pierce, not Kendrick Perkins or Kevin Garnett, who led the Celtics with nine.
“In the first half, it made the bigs look bad because they were getting offensive rebounds. But it wasn’t the bigs’ fault,” said Rivers. “It was the guards dribbling down the middle of the lane. Our bigs have to help. They miss a shot and their bigs get an offensive rebound. They didn’t control the dribble at all. Before the game we told them the key to the game was rebounding, dribble penetration. We stop those two things, we’ll be in good shape. But we didn’t do either one.”
There are few second chances in the NBA playoffs, and the Celtics didn’t give themselves any. They were outscored 16-0 on second chance points, which correlated into a 48-30 deficit in the paint.
While Rivers believes it was the play of the Lakers guards that hurt the Celtics on second chance points more than their effort, his players are not letting themselves off easy.
“Our intensity [was missing],” said Kendrick Perkins. “Our energy level on both ends has been high throughout the playoffs. I think we were missing just our intensity. Our energy wasn’t there. We hung our heads a lot, we didn’t attack, we fouled every time down tonight. So I just think we’ve got to, first thing, stick together and bounce back in Game 2. We’ve got to go back, watch film, and come back down to earth and do what we do that got us here. We’ve got to get back to our roots, come back down to earth, and get back to doing the little things.”
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