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Three things that went right and wrong in Game 3

06.09.10 at 12:23 am ET
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On Tuesday night at the TD Garden, Ray Allen followed his historic night in Game 2 with one of the worst performances in his Boston career. The Lakers also held the rest of the Celtics offense down, winning Game 3, 91-84, to take a 2-1 series lead (click here for the full recap). The lone bright spot for Boston was Kevin Garnett, who returned to his 2008 finals form. Game 4 is set for Thursday night.

What Went Right

KG answers the call: After having difficulties against the LA big men in the first two games of the series, Kevin Garnett came out of the gates in Game 3 and seemed like a different player. The Celtics found him early as he recorded the first six points of the game, including two field goals on alley-oops from Rajon Rondo. He was back to being KG in the paint, using his wide assortment of moves to score on Pau Gasol. KG answered the bell with 25 points, but didn’€™t get much help from Ray Allen or Paul Pierce, who both had trouble scoring.

Defense in the second half: Boston allowed 52 first-half points. The second half, however, was a different story as the Celtics tightened up the pressure on the defensive end. Los Angeles managed only 15 points in the third, and Kobe Bryant struggled to get into a rhythm, finishing the night with 29 points on 10-for-29 shooting.

Containing the bigs: After torching Boston for a combined 46 points in Game 2, Gasol and Bynum managed a pedestrian 22 points in Game 3. They still controlled the boards with 10 rebounds each, but couldn’€™t find the same scoring opportunities they did in the first two games of the series. Bynum and Gasol also didn’€™t have the same success challenging Boston shots, combining for only three blocks.

What Went Wrong

Ray Allen loses stroke: Allen seemed to forget to pack his shot when leaving for Boston after his historic performance in Game 2. Surprisingly, Allen didn’€™t make a single field goal in the entire game, finishing 0-for-13 overall and 0-for-8 from beyond the arc. His lack of shooting was easily the difference in the game.

Pierce struggles: When Boston needed points the most, Pierce wasn’€™t able to get it going until late in the fourth quarter. He finished with 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting, but was whistled for five fouls, causing him to play only 34 minutes.

Offense goes stagnant: A fast start quickly fizzled as the Celtics offense struggled at the end of the first quarter. Boston scored only 17 points in the opening period and had difficulty finding offense with its second unit. The Celtics held the Lakers to 91 points but only managed 84 points themselves. Boston’€™s defense played much better in the second half, but if it can’€™t score over 90 points, this series will be short.

Doc on Lakers whining: ‘Maybe they do different math’

06.08.10 at 9:39 pm ET
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Doc Rivers took objection with the complaints of several Lakers following Game 2 after Kobe Bryant was whistled for his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter, limiting his effectiveness in the final period.

“I’m just miffed and amazed how the other team complained about the fouls since we’ve been the team in foul trouble for two games,” Rivers said Tuesday night prior to Game 3. “Maybe they do different math there or something. I don’t get that one.”

In the Game 1 loss to the Lakers, the Celtics had several players with three fouls before halftime and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen each played most of the fourth quarter one foul from disqualification. The Celtics had 28 fouls called on them in Game 1 to 26 for the Lakers. In Game 2, the Lakers actually took 15 more free throw attempts than Boston, 41-26.

Fouls aside, Rivers knows he must keep Kevin Garnett and Pierce on the court at the same time if there’s any hope of finding them rhythm in this series, especially Garnett.

“We just have to keep him on the floor,” Rivers said. “Two of his fouls [from Game 2] were not smart fouls, so he has to do a better job of that. But listen, this is a physical series. Gasol adn Bynum, they’re big adn they’re going to keep attacking, and we just have to figure out a way of keeping them out of foul trouble. It’s huge for us.”

What was just as huge for the Celtics in the wrong direction on Tuesday were the fouls that Pierce and Garnett picked up within the first five minutes of the third quarter.

Pierce picked up his fourth and Garnett his third and the Lakers sensing the kill went immediately to the paint to feed Gasol.

“To win [Game 2] the other night with [Garnett] in foul trouble and Paul not being great offensively, we felt very fortunate,” Rivers said. “We were happy to win, but we have to be better than that.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Lakers, NBA Finals

Celtics happy to be home

06.08.10 at 9:30 pm ET
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The last time the Celtics played an NBA finals game at TD Garden was June 17, 2008.

The finals have returned to Boston almost exactly two years later on June 8, 2010, and the Celtics could not be happier to be playing at home.

‘€œIt feels good to be back home for a few games,’€ Kendrick Perkins said prior to Game 3. ‘€œI think it’€™s the finals, Boston-Lakers rivalry, just to see how the fans are going to be. I know there’€™s going to be a lot of energy in the building so it feels good just to be back home.’€

Even though the Celtics were 24-17 at home during the regular season, a drastic drop from their 35-6 records in the prior two seasons, they have reclaimed their turf during the playoffs. The C’€™s have clinched the previous three series at home.

‘€œ[We’€™re] back home,’€ said Tony Allen. ‘€œTime to take care of business.’€

Read More: Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Lakers, Tony Allen

Lakers concerned with Bynum’s minutes

06.08.10 at 8:56 pm ET
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Andrew Bynum had his way with the Celtics in Game 2, scoring 21 points. But that was with two days off between Games 1 and 2, and with the quick turnaround for Game, Laker coach Phil Jackson said he would monitor Bynum early to see how his injured knee responds.

“I certainly will,” Jackson said. “Hopefully we can get him in and out of the game in the first half. A little earlier time for Lamar [Odom] to give him an opportunity to perform.”

Odom has been a non-factor through the first two games, with more fouls [10] than points [eight].

The Celtics would be just fine with getting Bynum out of the game because he has been a huge factor defensively for the Lakers. He bothered Rajon Rondo in Game 1 and also made life tough for Glen Davis in Game 2, who shot 4-for-13.

Both Rondo and Davis adjusted, however, and Davis was able to be effective by continually going to the glass where he recorded five offensive rebounds.

“[Davis] was huge in Game 2,” Doc Rivers said. “He was great with his energy. You know, he’s not going to be taller than anyone in this series. This is a long team, and he goes underneath, sometimes he gets too deep, he can’t finish. One of the things he did better the other night, he got it up quick or he threw it back out.”

Read More: Andrew Bynum, Glen Davis,

Rappers push Celtics street anthem

06.08.10 at 4:25 pm ET
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Cambridge-based rap group N.B.S. (Natural Born Spitters) has released a Celtics street anthem titled “Who Are We (The Celtics)” that features highlights of the C’s run at Banner 18.

Update: NH man walks to NYC from Boston, will sit courtside for Games 3, 4 and 5

06.08.10 at 12:15 pm ET
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After a nearly week-long, 200-mile journey that sent him from the TD Garden in Boston to New York City on foot, Tyler McGill will finally be able to sit Tuesday night in his courtside seats to Game 3 of the NBA finals after completing the challenge set forth by friends in exchange for the exclusive tickets to all three championship games at the Garden.

McGill, a native of Rye, N.H., finished the epic quest when he finally reached the Big Apple Tuesday morning and said, despite some intense chaffing and several sock changes, he would do all it over again if given the chance.

‘€œCome on dude, what would you do for Celts tickets? I would have walked even further,’€ McGill said.

Now that he’€™s won his chance to see the game, expect McGill to make the most of it.

‘€œI’€™m going to be in Shannon Brown‘€™s head all day. I’€™m going to be riding Kobe [Bryant] like a pony out there,’€ McGill said. ‘€œThe Celts are going to have an extra man on the court with them at all times.’€

For fans both in the Garden and watching on television, look for McGill in a reflective police vest that he picked up from Sherborn police en route to New York as well as a bright neon green Summer Sessions Surf Shop shirt from the store he and his brother own in the Granite State. He says his seats will be at center court across from the benches.

Stern on D&C: ‘We’re proud, believe it or not, of our officials’

06.08.10 at 11:40 am ET
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NBA commissioner David Stern talked with the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning, and the topic of conversation, as it has mostly been after the first two games of the NBA finals, was officiating. Stern was quick to back the referees, who have called 112 fouls between Games 1 and 2 alone.

‘€œWe have a long way to travel, no doubt, as long as we’€™re going to be using humans, but we’€™re proud, believe it or not, of our officials. And we thank you very much for caring so much,’€ Stern said.

He also easily dismissed notions to change the rules concerning suspensions given to players who amass seven technical fouls in the playoffs. Kendrick Perkins currently has six for the Celtics and is just one away from a one-game suspension.

‘€œAt some point, our players have to play according to the rules,’€ Stern said. ‘€œWe don’t want to have to spend our time issuing lots of technicals. You know what’s amazing? When they get close to the limit, they stop. What do you think about that?’€

A transcript of the interview follows. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

One NBA league source told Sports Illustrated’€™s Ian Thomsen that more than anything else the league doesn’€™t want a brawl in the NBA finals thus perhaps the 112 fouls called in the first two games. Does that border on ‘€œoverofficiating?’€

I don’€™t know what league source. I’€™ll talk to Ian, because what he does and what many people do is they find somebody who’€™s a third assistant PR person on a team, and they dub them a league source. So I give no credibility to that.

Sources aside, it seems like the officials this year are determined to keep order, and it has hurt the flow. Do you disagree?

We can check the numbers. I look at them. I was sitting at the game on Sunday, being very thankful that I wasn’t an official. Because the pace and the speed and the intensity and the passion with which our guys play is very, very difficult to officiate. And once you make a decision that a foul has occurred in front of you and you are not going to call it, then you are endangering our players. That’s all. And it’s a hard job that these guys have.

These games are particularly intense. The teams have enough time to figure out what they’re going to do to the other. And they test the officials. They test them. They push and push and push. And if the officials don’t step up, then you’re going to have chaos and a game decided on [something] other than its merits. I recognized the risk that you are going to have a lot fouls called as well. But we’ve got very large bodies in small places, and it’s our job, our duty to protect these players. Read the rest of this entry »

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