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McHale on Big Show: Celts must win ‘old-style’ game

TNT NBA analyst Kevin McHale [1] appeared on The Big Show Friday afternoon to discuss Celtics-Lakers, the controversial officiating throughout the playoffs, and whether or not he might coach again in the NBA.

Following are some highlights. To hear the interview, click on The Big Show audio on demand page. [2]

Did [Game 4] shock you?

No. I was actually more shocked by Game 3. ‘€¦ Kobe [Bryant [3]] goes 10-for-29, it’s kind of a muddy, muffed-up game, there was not a lot of flow to it. I thought they were going to win that game, I really did. [Derek] Fisher made some big shots and held them off. ‘€¦ I was telling somebody, they were saying, “Well, when the Lakers play free flow and they get their triangle” ‘€” they were talking like it was going to be 115, 114 points a night, that doesn’t happen in the playoffs. Everything tightens up, defense gets better, everybody’s after each other. So, no, I was more surprised that the Celtics [4] lost one of those grind-it-out games, and now they’re going  to have to find a way to win two more of those kind of ugly, grind-it-out,  just classic, old-style games.

With Pau Gasol [5] you have to keep him out of his sweet spot.

No question. I think that’s where Rasheed [Wallace [6]] has done a nice job of running him, coming around, tipping some balls away from him, getting him out of the sweet spot. And what Gasol’s tendency is when he feels pressure, he doesn’t push back and get closer, he starts drifting out to the ball. So I think [Kendrick Perkins [7]] and Rasheed have both pushed him off. ‘€¦ When you’re that much bigger and longer than the guy, you can get a one-dribble jump hook left, one-dribble jump hook right, pump fake, you’re just too close, just right under the basket.

With Andrew Bynum [8] out, how big is it for Glen Davis [9] to dominate down low?

It’s huge. I think the two guys who benefit the most are Big Baby and [Kevin Garnett [10]]. KG doesn’t have to guard Pau Gasol, he can go guard Lamar Odom. Now Perkins can go over and bang with Gasol, I think it changes the dynamic at times. When those two big guys are in there, and I agree with Big Baby, Big Baby was trying to pull a Moses Malone [11]; like shoot it and get it back, shoot it and get it back. But Moses ended that with a basket, Moses didn’t care about his field goal percentage, he just got a bunch of offensive rebounds.

What’s it like working with Charles Barkley [12] on TNT?

Well the best thing about Chuck is that there is no preparation ‘€¦ the TNT show starts at 8, Chuck shows up at 7:58. He get’s in there and Ernie says, “Well, you know, Chuck, we’ve got a great matchup tonight, the Celtics vs. the Lakers,” and Chuck would go, “Did you see the Alabama game the other day?” He’s great, though, he is. The thing about Chuck is, he really loves basketball, he watches the game, he’s very professional. Every once in a while he’ll say something and I’ll go, “You know what, you’re absolutely right. I didn’t even see that. He’s got a good eye for the game.

You talk about bad blood, both Rasheed and Perkins are one technical away from suspension.

I think Perk can control himself, but I don’t think Rasheed can. I have never seen such strange officiating. And I’m going to give the officials a break, I think they are good officials overall, they’ve done a good job. The three-second call on KG was unbelievable. That’s the one where you look at [referee] Greg Willard and you’re a coach, and you just go, “Come on.”

Would you like to continue to coach?

I don’t know, it depends, it would have to be the right situation. A solid team that’s got a good future and that you can work with the guys and kind of bring them along ‘€¦ just a younger team that’s got talent, that you can help form these kids,  and help them to get better. Help them understand how much fun basketball can be, but how hard you have to you have to play to get to really compete so you can have fun. That’s what I did when I took over the [Timberwolves [13]] head coaching position. We really competed hard, but a lot of the same stuff, [Cedric Maxwell [14]], that we did in our [1980s Celtics] practices we did in ours. We scrimmaged, we had games at the end, we’d shoot for money, we’d do all all kinds of different stuff. Basketball is fun. ‘€¦ And you’ve got to enjoy it, and that’s the one thing about it, you’ve got to find that ability to work really really hard, but yet really have fun. I think sometimes people work really hard but there’s no fun in the game.