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Mashburn on D&H: ‘No one man’ can beat Celtics

06.14.10 at 5:00 pm ET

Former NBA player and current ESPN NBA analyst Jamal Mashburn appeared on the Dale & Holley show Monday afternoon to discuss the NBA finals, Kobe Bryant, and the coaching matchup and how it has thus far worked in the Celtics’ favor.

Following are some highlights. To hear the interview, click on the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Is there any way the Lakers lose three straight in the finals?

Well, you know what, it’s possible, if Kobe doesn’t get any help from some of his other supporting cast members, such as Lamar Odom and also Ron Artest on the offensive end. And we can discount Pau Gasol a little bit for his performance, he just had a bad game, but he’s been productive throughout the course of this series. But I think the real factor is the health of Andrew Bynum. ‘€¦ They don’t have any defense, nobody is stopping anybody at the rim. Paul Pierce was having his way with Ron Artest, and it’s going to be awfully difficult, but if anybody can do it and pull it off, it’s the Boston Celtics. They’ve been very good on the road in the regular season as well as in the postseason.

What did you expect after Game 2?

Well, my basketball mind told me that the Los Angeles Lakers would possibly get two out of the three games in Boston. I was sold after Game 3, when Derek Fisher had his performance in the fourth quarter, but then the Celtics just took over, but I did not see this coming. It seemed like the whole series, each game has had a personality of its own. If Boston can put it together, as far as their stars showing up, as far as their bench players showing up, and their defense continues to be stingy, Game 6 looks like theirs for the taking. But I’m awfully nervous when Game 7 comes around and you have Kobe Bryant on your team. And I think the Celtics should look at Game 6 as being their Game 7.

Does Kobe playing so well affect the way you play offensively?

It does. But those guys have played with Kobe for some time, they know what he’s capable of doing, and that he can go on these streaks. The main thing is is that those guys have to stay ready. If you watched Kobe’s body language in the first part of the game, he was being passive. ‘€¦ But at the end of the day the Los Angeles Lakers, if they want to get back in this series, they have to play defense. There is no way they can allow the Boston Celtics to shoot over 50 percent and expect to win a playoff game. I think you have to start on the defensive end and let it matriculate itself to the offensive end.

Do you think Phil Jackson’s management of minutes has hurt the team?

Yeah, and I also think that the production, or the lack thereof production of Lamar Odom, really affects that scenario as well. The Celtics have done an outstanding job of putting Kendrick Perkins along with Rasheed Wallace and also Kevin Garnett on Pau Gasol, and all those guys are different defenders. Perkins has a low base and can root Pau Gasol out of the low post area, making him shoot those 15-foot jump shots. Rasheed Wallace has done a great job using his size and also his length. Kevin Garnett is still very athletic for his size so he can defend him well as well as go at him on the offensive end. Pau Gasol, when he’s not playing alongside Andrew Bynum, and Andrew Bynum’s not playing at an effective level, they gang up on Pau Gasol quite a bit. It seems to me he’s wore down a bit, even though he started to come alive a little bit in that fourth quarter.

What is your opinion of the coaching matchup?

I always loved Doc Rivers, and I always loved Phil Jackson. But Doc Rivers in my opinion knows the X’s and O’s. He’s been a player in the league and played at a high level at that point guard position for multiple teams in the NBA. But I think one thing that Doc Rivers does, is that he understands the pulse of his team and he’s always positive. And sometimes you get the sound from him wired from the sideline and you almost think of him as a motivational speaker. He knows his team, he knows his buttons to push, he’s always positive and he trusts his players. And they’re one unit, and they all believe in one another. So I think Doc Rivers, from that standpoint ‘€” his communication skills, his mastery of the Xs and Os, and the defensive schemes ‘€” he’s done a masterful job. I love what Doc Rivers has done, it’s no surprise in my book of what Doc Rivers has accomplished thus far as a head coach.

You picked the Lakers coming into the series. Would you like a do-over?

Yeah, knowing what I know now, it would make me a better analyst. But the games have to be played, and the Boston Celtics ‘€” I had them beat to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers — I think I saw that one coming. And what we noticed from them in those series, and also the series before, playing against Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat: There is no one man that is going to beat the Boston Celtics. It’s going to take a complete team effort, and also you have to be mentally and physically tough and be able to match their intensity. If I had a do-over for sure, yeah, I would pick Boston. It would make me look a lot smarter.

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jamal Mashburn, Kobe Bryant
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