|Kobe Bryant: ‘I’ll bust your ass’||02.11.11 at 1:10 am ET|
Kobe Bryant scored 20 of his game-high 23 points in the second half to help his Lakers drop the Celtics 92-86 and even their season series at one apiece. And then he issued a warning to the four Celtics who will be attending the All-Star Game in Los Angeles next weekend.
“It doesn’t matter who I play,” said Bryant. “I could play you, and I’ll bust your ass.”
During a five-minute interview with the media following the Lakers’ victory, Bryant hit on everything from Ray Allen‘s record-breaking 3-pointer to the latest book assignment he’s received from coach Phil Jackson. Here’s a rundown of the conversation:
- On Ray’s record: “I just told him congratulations. It’s a mutual respect kind of thing, because we came into the league together. There’s not too many guys from that draft still playing and competing at a high level. I’m just very, very happy for him. We always compete when we go at it. That’s part of it. At this stage of our careers, there’s a respect because of that. I don’t get along with chumps very well, and he’s not a chump.”
- On the Garden: ‘It’s great. This is one of the best atmospheres ‘ if not the best atmosphere ‘ you can play in in the league today. This arena, what they do, this is a challenging place to play, but it’s a lot of fun.’
- On his play: ‘I wanted to be more aggressive in the first half, but I didn’t want to force it too much. I wanted to keep my guys in the game a little bit. In the second half, I just forced it. The game wasn’t coming to me, so I took it.’
- On the win: “It depends on where we go from here. We don’t go to New York and lay a dud. Then this game doesn’t much.”
- On the Lakers: “We always remain a pretty confident bunch. It’s good to see the hard work that we’ve been putting in paying off. We’re seeing results. From the last time we played them until now, we’ve gotten a little bit better in our defensive rotations, and we didn’t make as many mistakes down the stretch.”
- On the East: ‘[The Celtics] are right up there. It’s them and Miami. We’ve played against Boston twice and Miami once, and they look good.’
|Fast Break: Lakers put damper on Ray Allen’s night||02.10.11 at 10:54 pm ET|
With two first-quarter 3-pointers, Ray Allen set the all-time record as Reggie Miller could only watch from his broadcasting chair. Oh, and it came against the Lakers ‘ off a transition pass from Rajon Rondo, over Kobe Bryant ‘ but the Celtics lost, 92-86, Thursday night at the TD Garden.
Allen led the Celtics (39-13) with 20 points. Rondo (12 points, 10 assists) and Kevin Garnett (10 points, 11 rebounds) each registered double-doubles, but Bryant scored 20 of his game-high 23 points in the second half as the Lakers (36-17) earned a season split with the C’s.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Rebounding (what’s new?): It was their Achilles’ heel in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA finals, and the rebounding issue reared its ugly head again. The Celtics were outrebounded 35-24 on the defensive end and 47-36 overall against the Lakers.
Points in the paint: With the O’Neal “brothers” and Semih Erden all out of action, the Celtics had little if any depth behind Kendrick Perkins at the center position. They not only paid for it on the glass but in the paint as well. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum combined for 36 points and 19 rebounds, as the Lakers outscored the C’s 50-32 in the key.
Emotional letdowns: The Celtics rode an emotional wave after Allen’s record-breaking trey to a 45-30 lead midway through the second quarter, but the Lakers responded with a 14-4 run that cut the lead to five and gave LA its confidence back. Another 10-0 run to start the third gave the Lakers a lead and even more momentum.
Finishing the game with just four healthy players on the bench ‘ two of them rookies ‘ the C’s had nobody but Von Wafer to give them a lift, especially considering the fact that Glen Davis struggled from the floor (3-for-10) all night long.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Ray Allen’s big 3: In what was probably the best singular moment at the new Garden since the 2008 title run, Allen ripped his record-setting 2,561st career 3-pointer 10:12 into the game. The crowd let out a deafening roar as Allen pumped his fist in celebration.
Following the first quarter, the C’s recognized Allen, who in turn acknowledged the fans, shook Miller’s hand, hugged his mother Flo and kissed his wife Shannon and his children.
The shot also helped Allen record 12 points in the first quarter, as the C’s took a 27-20 lead.
Taking care of the ball: The emotion of the night didn’t hurt the Celtics’ concentration. They committed just three first-half turnovers. Much of the credit went to Rondo, who the Lakers simply had no answer for in the first half. The point guard had eight assists and zero turnovers in the opening 24 minutes of the game, helping the C’s establish a 53-45 halftime advantage.
In the second half, however, Bryant cracked down on defense. Rondo produced just five points and two assists in the final two quarters. The C’s finished with only 10 turnovers. Of course, one of them was an errant Paul Pierce pass on a fast break that would’ve cut the lead to three with two minutes to go.
Von Wafer’s boost: With Marquis Daniels (bruised spinal cord) and Nate Robinson (bruised right knee in 3:39 of playing time) out, the Celtics had to rely heavily on Wafer. And he produced. His eight second-quarter points actually gave him an 8-3 scoring edge against Bryant at the half. Yup, you read that correctly.
|NBA Power Rankings, 2/10||02.10.11 at 8:28 pm ET|
A quick explanation of the top four: While the Celtics and Lakers have fallen prey to the annual February malaise at times, the Spurs continue to separate themselves in the standings, establishing a 5.5-game lead for homecourt throughout the playoffs.
Meanwhile, neither the Heat nor the Lakers have proven this season they can beat the Celtics, although that could change when both come to town in the next four days. While the Mavericks have won 10 straight and swept the C’s this season, I’m still not confident they’re any better than the third-best team out West. There you have it.
Now, it’s time to unveil this week’s full NBA Power Rankings. In a tribute to Ray Allen‘s chase for Reggie Miller‘s all-time 3-point record, we give you the best current and former long-distance shooters on each of the league’s 30 teams …
1. San Antonio (44-8): Sinking 916-of-2,450 (37.4 percent) in his Spurs career, Manu Ginobili is both the team’s current and all-time leading 3-point shooter.
2. Boston (38-13): Sinking 1,540-of-4,158 (37.0 percent) in his Celtics career, Paul Pierce is both the team’s current and all-time leading 3-point shooter. Allen has made 639 of his 1,586 3-point shots (40.3 percent) since coming to Boston in 2007.
3. Miami (38-14): Sinking 806-of-2,263 (35.6 percent) in his Heat career, Tim Hardaway is the team’s all-time leading 3-point shooter. Dwyane Wade is Miami’s current 3-point shooting leader, making 288-of-985 (29.2 percent) in his career with the team.
4. LA Lakers (36-16): Sinking 1,370-of-4,042 (33.9 percent) in his Lakers career, Kobe Bryant is both the team’s current and all-time leading 3-point shooter.
5. Dallas (37-15): Sinking 1,175-of-3,084 (38.1 percent) in his Mavericks career, Dirk Nowitzki is both the team’s current and all-time leading 3-point shooter.
|Shaquille O’Neal to levitate over the Garden?||02.10.11 at 3:43 pm ET|
Accompanying girlfriend Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander on WGBH’s Emily Rooney Show Thursay, he announced plans to perform a magic act on top of the TD Garden.
“Now, listen,” O’Neal told WGBH. “I asked Criss Angel to levitate me over the top of the TD Boston Garden, and he said yes so we just have to figure out a date.”
Angel is a magician who appears on an A&E television show entitled “Mindfreak.”
Alexander also revealed that the two have taken dancing classes together in their hometown of Sudbury. Unfortunately, there’s no video available of that. She and O’Neal also debated whether or not she’s ever defeated him 1-on-1 in tennis.
Suffering from an inflamed Achilles tendon, O’Neal hasn’t played since Feb. 1 against the Kings. He is expected to miss Thursday night’s game against the Lakers and could be out through the Feb. 18-21 NBA All-Star break.
|Irish Coffee: Ray Allen 3-Point Timeline||02.10.11 at 1:46 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
In case you haven’t heard, Ray Allen trails Reggie Miller by one 3-pointer for the NBA’s all-time record of 2,560 career treys. Considering he’ll likely surpass Miller against the Lakers on Thursday night, what better time than now to create the Ray Allen 3-Point Timeline?
- Nov. 1, 1996 (Bucks 111, 76ers 103): Allen made the first 3-pointer of his NBA career.
- Nov. 2, 2000 (Rockets 114, Bucks 93): Allen made the 500th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
- Jan. 1, 2003 (Bucks 106, Cavaliers 94): Allen made the 1,000th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
- Jan. 11, 2005 (Sonics 104, Clippers 99): Allen made the 1,361st 3-pointer of his NBA career, passing Dan Majerle for fifth on the all-time list.
- Nov. 9, 2005 (Cavaliers 112, Sonics 85): Allen made the 1,500th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
- Dec. 13, 2005 (Warriors 110, Sonics 107): Allen made the 1,543rd 3-pointer of his NBA career, passing Tim Hardaway for fourth on the all-time list.
- Dec. 20, 2005 (Suns 111, Sonics 83): Allen made the 1,560th 3-pointer of his NBA career, passing Glen Rice for third on the all-time list.
- April 7, 2006 (Sonics 121, Trail Blazers 108): Allen made the 1,720th 3-pointer of his NBA career, passing Dale Ellis for second on the all-time list.
- Jan. 5, 2008 (Celtics 92, Pistons 85): Allen made the 2,000th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
- Dec. 25, 2010 (Orlando 86, Celtics 78): Allen made the 2,500th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
When Allen had a chance to tie or surpass a milestone or a top-five 3-point shooter, he generally accelerated past them. In fact, the only time he had the chance to set a new milestone but didn’t was the night before he eclipsed 2,000, finishing 0-for-3 that evening.
Given a chance to pass those milestones, Allen finished 35-for-70 (50.0 percent) from 3-point range in those games. He also averaged 23.5 points under those circumstances.
With 1,540 3-pointers in his NBA career thus far, Paul Pierce needs just seven to pass Hardaway and Jones for 10th on the all-time list. Oh, Avery Bradley and Kendrick Perkins have a shot at sinking the first 3-pointer of their NBA careers. Allen has just 236 fewer career 3-point baskets than the entire rest of the Celtics team combined.
|Irish Coffee: Jim Calhoun and Ray Allen team up again||02.09.11 at 12:15 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
So, Webster Bank’s new spokesman is naturally Ray Allen, because when you think money you think Ray Allen, right? Anywho, this is the new commercial. It’s pretty funny — much better than the Dunkin’ Donuts ad he does — so I figured I’d share it.
The chest bump and paper swat outtakes at the end are especially hilarious. And so is this from UConn head coach Jim Calhoun: “Everybody talked about this Ray, Roy, Rip Allen. I didn’t know his name, but boy could he play.”
A couple other interesting promotions from the Celtics: Shaquille O’Neal donated a pair of shoes to the Boston Children’s Museum’s Big & Little exhibit; adidas is giving fans a chance to design shoes inspired by Celtics history; and Marvel created Hulk-inspired Celtics gear.
REGGIE MILLER ‘EXCITED TO BE A PART OF HISTORY’
In case you haven’t heard yet, Allen is one 3-pointer away from tying Reggie Miller‘s all-time career record of 2,560 3-pointers and two away from breaking it. And Miller is making every attempt to bask in Allen’s limelight. Of course, the fact that he’ll be a part of Thursday night’s TNT broadcasting crew makes that easier for him.
In a conference call about TNT’s NBA All-Star Game coverage, Miller discussed the potential of Allen breaking the record in his presence against the Lakers:
“We had this game on the schedule for Steve [Kerr] and I to call months ago. Now who would’ve thought that it would come down to Ray Allen being able to tie and break the record in our presence? To me, there is such a thing as a ‘basketball God.'” …
“I am excited. This is going to be wonderful. It’s not very often that you get to see history being made. We all know Ray very well. He’s a very humble guy, a family man. I’m excited to be a part of history being made.”
|Irish Coffee: Phil Jackson, Eduardo Najera diss Kevin Garnett||02.08.11 at 11:45 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
In addition to Spike Lee‘s hypocritical comments that Garnett “needs to calm the f#%$ down” — which we detailed at length Monday afternoon — the names Phil Jackson, Gerald Henderson and Eduardo Najera can be scratched from the Kevin Garnett Fan Club.
“Pau knows who he is. He’s tenacious. I like him to be aggressive offensively. He’s always a willing passer. The one thing I’m on him about is getting that first rebound. Don’t let them knock it out of your hands. Don’t let them knock it away.
“Otherwise, all this talk about how aggressive he is or how aggressive he isn’t falls on deaf ears. He totally gets it. He is who he is. We’re not going to make him into Garnett. He’s not going to go around and punch guys in the balls. He’s too nice of a guy.”
Prior to Monday night’s 94-89 loss to the Bobcats, Celtics coach Doc Rivers defended Garnett against Lee, Jackson and the growing list of critics who suggest Garnett’s intensity has crossed the line from healthy to dirty play (the low blow to Frye, in particular):