|Tony Allen wants to re-sign with Celtics||06.15.10 at 12:06 am ET|
Tony Allen made it clear where he wants to play basketball next season.
“I am a Celtic,” he told WEEI.com. “I love being a Celtic. It’d mean everything in the world [return next season].”
Allen will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. He has garnered attention during the playoffs with his gritty defense against some of the league’s best perimeter scorers, most recently containing Kobe Bryant in the NBA finals.
While Allen attested that he is focused on winning a championship, not free agency — “I haven’t really thought about summer right now,” he said. “All I’m worried about is the finals.” — he hopes he has played his way to another contract in Boston.
Allen has spent his entire career with the Celtics. He was selected by the team with the 25th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft and signed his current two-year deal (worth $2.5 million a year) following the 2008 championship season.
Even though basketball is a business and the look of a team can change in an instant, Allen can’t imagine himself wearing anything but green next season.
“None whatsoever, none whatsoever,” he said. “I mean, things happen but I feel like I’m going to be a Celtic for life.”
|The thing about Gasol||06.14.10 at 11:27 pm ET|
From the start of the NBA finals, Pau Gasol has posed a challenge for the Celtics. The combination of his size and versatility spreads the floor and creates match up problems down low.
But there’s more than just a long frame and outside shot that separates Gasol from other big men around the league.
“He’s seven-foot with skills,” Kendrick Perkins told WEEI.com.
The Barcelona, Spain native honed his skills playing international basketball, where assists are applauded just as loudly as dunks and the emphasis is placed on the team, not just the individual. His international accolades include winning a gold medal and MVP honors in the 2009 EuroBasket tournament and a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics.
“The thing about international big men is they’re kind of like guards,” Perkins said. “They’ve got a lot of crafty things in their game. Like they could maybe face you up and try to cross you over. They can handle the ball a little bit better, I think, and they’ve got a lot of guard things in their game. … When you’ve got a big man from the United States or wherever it may be, growing up we learn more dunks and stuff like that. They learn everything.”
The versatility promoted in Gasol’s international experiences has made him a threat both inside and away from the basket. He is averaging nearly 19 points and 10 rebounds per game in the NBA finals. Even though he had an off-night in the Celtics Game 5 victory (5-12 FG, 12 points), the C’s know he is capable of being a game-changer, especially when the Lakers season is on the line.
“He’s arguably one of the – he might be the best player on getting a bucket on the block,” said Perkins. “He’s got a mixture. He’s got right, left-hand jump hook. He can take you off the dribble. He’s got a nice jumper, so in his game, he’s got a mixture of everybody [in the league].”
Added Glen Davis, “He’s more coordinated, he can do a little bit of everything. That’s the European ball, they kind of thrive on that, being big perimeter guys, guys that can shoot on the corner. He gives you a different match up.”
The Celtics recognize the differences in Gasol’s game that makes him stand out in the league. It’s their job to make sure he doesn’t stand out in Game 6.
|Why Game 6 is still just another game||06.14.10 at 2:12 am ET|
One team is a game away from a championship, the other could be 48 minutes away from the end of its season.
The Celtics and Lakers know what’s at stake in Game 6 of the NBA finals, but neither team is getting distracted by the consequences of it.
Following the Celtics’ Game 5 victory, Kobe Bryant had a steady focus looking ahead to Tuesday’s matchup.
“We have a challenge, obviously, down 3-2,” he said. “We let a couple of opportunities slip away. But it is what it is. Now you go home, you’ve got two games at home that you need to win, and you pull your boots up and get to work.”
The Celtics also are staying even-keeled. They won’t let themselves look too far ahead and look past the keys to getting a clinching win.
“You have the tendency to look ahead,” Ray Allen said. “But for us it’s like you have to mentally block it out. All day tomorrow, you have to think about what you need to do, how you need to rest, the small things you need to do to start the game off. … To achieve that we want, it’s going to take everybody to do the things they do. We can’t leave any stone unturned, we can’t take any shortcuts.”
|Doc: We won’t change game plan for Kobe, Bynum||06.13.10 at 7:42 pm ET|
Doc Rivers knows Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum can be game-changers for the Lakers, but that doesn’t mean he is going to change the Celtics game plan because of them.
Bynum, who had his right knee drained after Game 4, will play in Game 5. He played just 12 minutes on Thursday, and while there is the possibility that his minutes could be limited, Rivers is not going to bank on the big man being on the bench.
“We’re going to play the game,” he said. “Andrew is not going to change how we play. Again, usually the last six or seven minutes of the game Andrew is not on the floor. It’s usually Gasol and Odom for the most part. That’s what they’ve done all year and they’ve done it in the series. But he is a factor, his size is a factor, and offensively we do change things when he’s on the floor to try to get the size out of the paint. But other than that, there’s not two game plans.”
Bryant remains a constant concern for the Celtics on defense. Even though Bryant has credited the Celtics D for limiting him offensively, the C’s know he is capable of scoring at will on any night. But they can’t plan their whole strategy around that threat.
“You don’t worry about it. I mean, hell, he’s Kobe Bryant,” said Rivers. “We’ve talked about it before. We are going to have to win a game eventually in this series where he goes off for a big number. But that number, whatever it is, it’s still not the final number. Other people still have to score for them. So as far as we’re concerned, we’re just going to do our best.
“What we can’t do is overreact to it, and I think that’s where the great players get you, the LeBrons and the Wades and who we’ve already faced. They have that big game and everybody overreacts and wants to change the defense and wants to change things. No, we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing.”
|Celtics, Lakers look ahead to Game 5||06.12.10 at 3:56 pm ET|
On Saturday the Celtics and Lakers prepared for Game 5 of the NBA finals. The players kept the same mentality that every game, not just the upcoming 2-2 tie-breaker, is a must-win. Here are a few soundbites from Saturday’s practice:
Big Baby knows his role: Glen Davis isn’t getting ahead of himself after scoring 18 points in Game 4. He understands his job on the team and is more focused on fulfilling his role than living up to any expectations set by his performance.
“It’s not my job to go out there and score points,” he said. “So [when people say] he’s not going to do that again, if I have to do it again, I will. But I’m not the primary scorer on the team. I’m not the go-to guy in the clutch. I’m just a guy that goes out there, don’t have no plays called for me, just goes out there and plays the game like it’s supposed to be played, and that’s all will and determination to get the game won. So if I don’t score at all next game, I know my effort and just the will to win will be there. And that feels even greater to me, especially if we get the win.”
Giving Kobe a break: Minutes have been a concern for the Celtics the entire season, and Phil Jackson is conscious of it too. Kobe Bryant is averaging 40 minutes through the first four contests, but Jackson wants to conserve his energy for the most critical minutes of the game.
“They like to get Tony Allen in there to make him really have to work, get a body on him,” said Jackson. “I’ve got to find a little space and time for him to give him some rest in that situation so he can come back with renewed energy. But after he’s played 30-plus minutes, to have that kind of energy to finish a game out is important to us, and we’ve got to get that back.”
Perkins gets technical with Sheed: Both Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace are a technical foul away from an automatic one-game suspension. Perkins has sought out advice from Kevin Garnett in the past, and now he has offered advice to Wallace on how to avoid being called for number seven. The Celtics were happy to hear of Perkins’ conversation.
“Whatever works because we need both those guys,” said Paul Pierce. “Those technicals, they can hurt you if we lose either one of those guys. Whatever Kendrick does for Sheed, whatever Sheed does for Kendrick, I hope they realize we need these guys in there for all of them. And whatever they can do, I’m all for it.”
Rivers addresses “flopping” comments: Following the Lakers Game 3 victory, Doc Rivers was asked about Derek Fisher’s ability to get through screens. Rivers began his response by saying, “Derek? What, besides flopping, he doesn’t do a lot extra.”
On Saturday, Rivers clarified his comments. “It’s funny, what I was saying about Fish the other day, I said he flops, he’s good at it,” he said. “I think guys, they understand that and there are certain guys who have perfected it. To be a great flopper, you have to be a great charge-taker too. … Fish and me and John Stockton, you can go through the list, they took charges and flopped on half of them too. It’s tough. It’s a tough call. He’s good.”
|Kobe credits Celtics defense||06.11.10 at 2:20 am ET|
Paul Pierce wouldn’t budge on the effectiveness of Ron Artest‘s defense. Kobe Bryant, though, was more generous with his praise after the Celtics Game 4 victory.
After shooting 10-for-22 for the second time this series, Bryant admitted the Celtics are doing their job on defense.
“They’re a great scheming team,” he said following the Celtics’ 96-89 win. “They have a strategy in place and they execute extremely well. I feel pretty comfortable. Wasn’t pleased with the way I took care of the ball tonight. I thought I did a horrible job of that. But it’s a great defense.”
The Celtics forced seven turnovers on Bryant, the most he committed since May 4 against the Jazz. He entered the game averaging just over three per game.
After the Lakers loss, Bryant denied questions of a tweaked knee or any type of exhaustion. The Celtics defense was simply effective.
Said Bryant, “Oh, it’s right up there with the best of them.”
|Rebounding key to rebounding from loss||06.10.10 at 8:40 pm ET|
If the Celtics want to rebound from their Game 3 loss, they know they have to rebound in Game 4.
“I think whoever wins the rebounding war wins the game,” said Kendrick Perkins. “That’s how it’s been in the last three games for some reason.”
The Celtics have been outrebounded 124-110 in the first three games of the series, an average of 41 to 37.
They had a five-board edge in their Game 2 victory, but were outrebounded by a total of 19 boards in their Games 1 and 3 losses.
Perkins said the length of the Lakers big men, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, make them tough to defend. Gasol’s versatility to play the power forward also spreads the floor and creates additional defensive challenges for the Celtics.
But the Celtics can win the battle of the boards. They have already proved it in this series. There’s nothing complicated about it, just a matter of going out and doing it.
“I just feel like it’s got to be a team effort,” said Perkins. “Guys have got to come in, make them take contested jumpshots, grab a lot of long rebounds. Our guards come in and they can start the break.
“But I just think when we put our minds together and go out there and do it, I just think with Paul (Pierce) and (Rajon) Rondo and Ray (Allen), they can grab a few rebounds. Then Kevin (Garnett) and myself, we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. Then when the bench comes in, they’ve got to make sure that they rebound also.”
The Celtics know the gameplan. Now they have to execute it.
“It’s just us,” said Glen Davis. “We’ve got to show up tonight. We’ve got to make sure that we do what we have to do.”