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Legler on D&C: Kobe ‘trusts his teammates less and less’

Posted By Sam Dykstra On June 15, 2010 @ 11:20 am In General | 1 Comment

ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler discussed the NBA finals [1] Tuesday morning with the Dennis & Callahan show and among the topics of conversation was Kobe Bryant [2]‘€™s lack of trust in his teammates late in games.

‘€œI think for Kobe Bryant, the problem right now is as the game goes on and the Celtics make a run in the second half, Kobe trusts his teammates less and less and less. And that’€™s a big problem for the Lakers,’€ Legler said. ‘€œYou can see the frustration in the body language and the gestures he made towards some of his teammates and he frustration he showed in a couple of those huddles late in that game. He doesn’€™t necessarily feel he’€™s got the guys to with the intestinal fortitude to withstand a team as tough mentally as the Boston Celtics [3].’€

As for the Celtics, Legler noted that, ‘€œThey trust each other completely. That to me is one of the biggest differences between these two teams.’€

Below are some of the highlights from that interview. To hear the entire interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page [4].

There could be two things to worry about headed into Game 5. One is the refs changing the tone, and a lot of Celtics get in foul trouble early. The other is this whole mentality of, ‘€œWe have two chances to win one game?’€ If you were Doc Rivers [5], would those bother you?

I don’€™t think that they’€™re necessarily thinking that way. I just believe they’€™re trying to say the right things rather than, ‘€œWe’€™re going to go back there. We’€™re going to close this out in six.’€ I think they’€™re just trying to be PC on this one, but I think their mentality is absolutely they’€™re going to go back there tonight and win the series. And I think they’€™re very confident they can do that based on how they played against them the last couple games. I think Doc Rivers and that team feel like they now defensively have got this team figured out to the point where they’€™re not that the Lakers could go off and get into over 100 points. I think that that’€™s what Doc Rivers’€™ mindset with this team is right now. He’€™s very comfortable with the series.

As far as the officiating, it makes sense from a Celtics’€™ standpoint to be worried about that because they let them play the last couple games. They’€™re pretty physical. They haven’€™t called as many touch fouls. They’€™ve let them bang a little bit more in the paint. That’€™s obviously going to benefit Boston because they’€™ve got more guys up front, they’€™ve got more depth up front. The Lakers have, with Andrew Bynum [6] limited, basically Pau Gasol [7] taking on the entire front line by himself because Lamar Odom is a perimeter player. So you’€™ve got Pau Gasol up against four guys up front for the Celtics. That’€™s definitely going to benefit Boston if they continue to let them play like that. We all know that these series take weird twists and turns with the officiating so I think we’€™ll all have to just sit back and see what’€™s going to happen. The first quarter, I think that’€™s going to setthe tone for the entire game.

Can the Lakers win with just plus-plus performances from Kobe Bryant and Gasol?

No, they can’€™t. They need more than that. I think the Lakers are going to play obviously with a sense of desperation. That’€™s kind of how Boston played the last two games, and I think now that desperation shifts to the Lakers. You’€™re going to see them come out with a little bit more energy, a little bit more adrenaline than anything else. If you’€™re Phil Jackson [8], you’€™re just, ‘€œSomebody, please give me something that I don’€™t expect tonight.’€ Whether it’€™s Shannon Brown [9] who comes in and gives you 10 points or [Ron] Artest [10] has a better game defensively, but somebody has to do more because Kobe Bryant is not going to beat this team by himself.

And Pau Gasol is not a guy, as great as he’€™s been in the postseason and as much as he’€™s involved as a player, he’€™s not a guy I look at if I’€™m a Lakers fan and say, ‘€œI completely trust that Pau Gasol is going to show up tonight and have a great game.’€ He just doesn’€™t come off that way, particularly in a physical game. If you’€™re Phil Jackson, you hope you can get it from somewhere because I don’€™t care what Kobe Bryant does tonight, it’€™s not going to be enough unless he gets some more balance across the board.

In the last few minutes of Game 5, we saw Paul Pierce [11] and Bryant duking it out for a ball because both had to have it. Does the last two minutes provide a scintilla of an edge for am player?

Both of those guys know that that’€™s their time. I think for Kobe Bryant, the problem right now is as the game goes on and the Celtics make a run in the second half, Kobe trusts his teammates less and less and less. And that’€™s a big problem for the Lakers. You can see the frustration in the body language and the gestures he made towards some of his teammates and he frustration he showed in a couple of those huddles late in that game. He doesn’€™t necessarily feel he’€™s got the guys to with the intestinal fortitude to withstand a team as tough mentally as the Boston Celtics.

Paul Pierce, as he good as he individually one-on-one in those situations, if he’€™s double-teamed or he’€™s having a tough time creating a shot for himself, he has no issue whatsoever throwing the ball to Kevin Garnett [12] or [Rajon] Rondo [13] or Ray Allen [14] or Rasheed Wallace [15] or Nate Robinson [16], whoever’€™s out there. They trust each other completely. That to me is one of the biggest differences between these two teams.

If you were a player in this series, what would you rather have on your side? Phil Jackson’€™s 47-0 record in seven-game series after winning Game 1 or in the previous 25 times in the finals, the team that won Game 5 after being tied 2-2 has won 19 of those times? Which stat makes you feel  better?

Oh, the second one, without question, because now you’€™re deep into the series. And now that we’€™re at that moment, definitely you want two of that number. I think the Celtics feel that they’€™ve shifted the momentum of the series completely around now, and I don’€™t think they care that they have to go to LA. If for whatever reason they don’€™t win tonight, I’€™m still very confident that they can win a Game 7 on the road. I know the numbers in that situation are against the road team. I think it’€™s something between 80 and 85 percent of the time the home team wins Game 7 so that’€™s another number to put out there. But I think this could be the year the Boston Celtics prove to be the exception to that.


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URL to article: http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2010/06/15/legler-on-dc-kobe-trusts-his-teammates-less-and-less/

URLs in this post:

[1] NBA finals: http://media.weei.com/basketball/nba-finals.htm

[2] Kobe Bryant: http://media.weei.com/basketball/kobe-bryant.htm

[3] Boston Celtics: http://media.weei.com/basketball/boston-celtics.htm

[4] Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page: http://audio.weei.com/weei/dennis_and_callahan.htm?resultType=media&media=audio

[5] Doc Rivers: http://media.weei.com/basketball/doc-rivers.htm

[6] Andrew Bynum: http://media.weei.com/basketball/andrew-bynum.htm

[7] Pau Gasol: http://media.weei.com/basketball/pau-gasol.htm

[8] Phil Jackson: http://media.weei.com/basketball/phil-jackson.htm

[9] Shannon Brown: http://media.weei.com/basketball/shannon-brown.htm

[10] Ron] Artest: http://media.weei.com/basketball/ron-artest.htm

[11] Paul Pierce: http://media.weei.com/basketball/paul-pierce.htm

[12] Kevin Garnett: http://media.weei.com/basketball/kevin-garnett.htm

[13] Rajon] Rondo: http://media.weei.com/basketball/rajon-rondo.htm

[14] Ray Allen: http://media.weei.com/basketball/ray-allen-celtics.htm

[15] Rasheed Wallace: http://media.weei.com/basketball/rasheed-wallace.htm

[16] Nate Robinson: http://media.weei.com/basketball/nate-robinson.htm

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