|Celtics, Lakers look ahead to Game 2||06.05.10 at 8:11 pm ET|
EL SEGUNDO — The Celtics and Lakers held court with the media on Saturday as they looked ahead to Game 2. There have been common themes discussed following the C’s Game 1 loss — energy, rebounding, stopping Kobe Bryant, among others.
Over the past few days the players have heard the same questions posed in different ways. Many view it as part of being in the finals. Others have found a type of motivation in the repetition.
“I think it helps us a lot because you kind of get tired about hearing about the same things,” said Kendrick Perkins. “So you want to go out there and correct it so after Game 2 you won’t have to hear about it anymore.”
Here are a few soundbites from Saturday’s practice:
Helping Rondo be Rondo: As the point guard, it’s Rajon Rondo’s job to get his teammate the ball. At the same time, the Celtics have to do a better job of setting him up for success as well. The Celtics lack of defensive stops in Game 1 prevented Rondo from getting into transition often, something they look to improve in Game 2.
“When you don’t get stops, that means he’s taking the ball out every time and it doesn’t allow Rondo to get out there and use his speed in transition for fastbreaks,” said Paul Pierce. “Every time they got stops, rebounds was another big Achilles heel for us. So it’s important to do a better job on rebounds after each shot, getting the ball in his hands so his speed and play-making ability can become a factor in game number two. So we’ve got to make a concentrated effort at doing a better job at that.”
Gasol reacts to Garnett comments: On Friday, Pau Gasol’s comparison of Kevin Garnett from 2008 to 2010 became a media whirlwind when a small fraction of his comments were magnified. Gasol commented, “On Kevin’s part, he’s also lost some explosiveness. He’s more of a jump shooter now,” before adding that he considers Garnett to be a “terrific player” who brings everything he has to the court.
Gasol reacted to the buzz following Lakers practice. When asked if he was surprised that his comment had been portrayed as derogatory, he responded, “To an extent. To an extent. I understand media try to create situations for whatever reason, create attraction. But again, sometimes I extend my answers too long. Maybe I shouldn’t do that. I should be shorter with my answers and don’t give away just anything so it can’t be manipulated that way and used.”
The Celtics didn’t get worked up over Gasol’s comments, though. Rondo said losing Game 1 was motivation enough for the C’s in itself.
Said Kendrick Perkins, “I say speak your mind. Sometimes it livens up the series a little bit. So I say speak your mind. You never know who you might make mad when you say something crazy, so you never know. Everybody’s watching.”
Celtics know what they’re playing for: Kevin Garnett is no stranger to screaming, yelling, and getting in his teammates’ faces on the court to pump them up. But at this point in the season, Garnett says that isn’t necessary.
“I think in this situation you don’t have to do any of that,” he said. “I think we’re all kind of distasteful at this time, knowing what’s at stake and it being the finals. No one here has to come out and say a heroic speech or get in anyone’s face. It’s all self-explanatory to this point. Everyone is motivated. Everyone knows we’re motivated. Guys on the team are looking at themselves in the mirror and I’m no different from that.”
|The story behind Big Baby’s ear plugs||06.04.10 at 9:03 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — Glen Davis raised a few eyebrows when he was spotted wearing ear plugs during Game 1 of the NBA finals.
But it wasn’t to block out the jeers of the Lakers fans sitting behind the Celtics bench — “Fans are fans … Everyone feels like they can joke on me,” he said before practice on Friday. It was to block out loud noises, a cause of aggravation since suffering a concussion in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The earplugs worked. Well, after Davis made a minor adjustment.
“You know what’s so funny?” he said. “I didn’t think they worked well at first, but then Rasheed (Wallace) was like, ‘Turn them around,” because I had them stuck in my ear the wrong way.”
Davis removed the ear plugs when he played, but said he gets into a zone on the court and doesn’t hear the noise anyways. But he never misses Doc Rivers calling for him to get in the game.
“You can always hear him – ‘Baby! Baby!’” Davis said, channeling an impression of his coach. “He’s loud, so I can hear him. I’m always looking at him anyways because he’s always standing up that way because the game’s that way.”
|What Ray Allen needs to ‘learn real quick’||06.04.10 at 6:10 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES – Throughout the postseason, players have studied Ray Allen’s game to learn how to defend the veteran sharpshooter.
Now Allen has his own assignment – finding a way to stop Kobe Bryant without getting into foul trouble.
Allen was whistled for five fouls in the Celtics Game 1 loss. He was limited to just 27 minutes and knows he has to stay on the court in Game 2.
“That’s a good lesson that I need to learn real quick,” he said prior to practice on Friday. “Because even on a couple of calls … I try to read the referees and how they call the games and they establish control early, so trying to figure that out without being a sieve on defense. Right now I’ve got to make that adjustment going into Game 2.”
Bryant scored a game-high 30 points on Thursday night. He shot 10-for-22 from the field and 9-for-10 from the line, a result of his aggressiveness at the basket.
“He just attacks,” said Allen. “He’s going to attack our defense, but I think primarily if he’s attacking that means he sees gaps.”
Whatever game plan Allen and the Celtics devise, Bryant is preparing for it.
“It’s not really a match up with me and Ray,” he said. “It’s really me trying to find gaps and holes in their defensive scheme and the help they provide.”
|Doc: Defense was ‘horrible’||06.04.10 at 2:40 am ET|
LOS ANGELES -For a defensive-minded team, the Celtics didn’t look like one in their Game 1 loss to the Lakers.
“It was horrible,” Doc Rivers said of the C’s defense following the game. “I thought we hugged up on guys all night. That wasn’t our defense tonight, I can tell you that. Give them credit, they moved the ball, they spaced the floor very well. But we didn’t shrink the floor at all tonight.”
The Celtics were outrebounded 42-31, including 30-23 on the offensive glass. Pau Gasol finished the night with 14 rebounds, while it was Paul Pierce, not Kendrick Perkins or Kevin Garnett, who led the Celtics with nine.
“In the first half, it made the bigs look bad because they were getting offensive rebounds. But it wasn’t the bigs’ fault,” said Rivers. “It was the guards dribbling down the middle of the lane. Our bigs have to help. They miss a shot and their bigs get an offensive rebound. They didn’t control the dribble at all. Before the game we told them the key to the game was rebounding, dribble penetration. We stop those two things, we’ll be in good shape. But we didn’t do either one.”
There are few second chances in the NBA playoffs, and the Celtics didn’t give themselves any. They were outscored 16-0 on second chance points, which correlated into a 48-30 deficit in the paint.
While Rivers believes it was the play of the Lakers guards that hurt the Celtics on second chance points more than their effort, his players are not letting themselves off easy.
“Our intensity [was missing],” said Kendrick Perkins. “Our energy level on both ends has been high throughout the playoffs. I think we were missing just our intensity. Our energy wasn’t there. We hung our heads a lot, we didn’t attack, we fouled every time down tonight. So I just think we’ve got to, first thing, stick together and bounce back in Game 2. We’ve got to go back, watch film, and come back down to earth and do what we do that got us here. We’ve got to get back to our roots, come back down to earth, and get back to doing the little things.”
|Finals have a different feeling||06.03.10 at 8:58 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES - It has only been two years since the Celtics suited up for Game 1 of the 2008 NBA finals. The majority of the faces are the same, but what about the feeling?
“I wasn’t really nervous Game 1 of the Finals. I’m not really nervous right now,“ said Rajon Rondo. “It’s kind of hard to tell right now until the lights actually go on and there’s two minutes left ticking down. Right now it’s no big deal, it’s the same thing.”
The emotions are different this time around. In 2008, the Celtics were suddenly thrust from the lottery to the finals after acquiring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. This season, they know what it takes to win it all and are trying to recreate the success they achieved two years earlier.
“I think we’re more poised than we were last time. I think that’s the biggest difference. I don’t think the stage is as big a deal as the game plan. We’re more focused on the game plan than the finals,” said Brian Scalabrine.
“It’s the second time around, we’ve been there. We’ve done it before and there’s nothing really that surprises you. We know it’s going to be crowded out there, we know media day is going to be crazy, we didn’t know any of that. The intensity of this team in ’08 was different. It was a more high-strung team, we’re much more laidback. That’s not a bad thing. We can compartmentalize better than we did in ’08.”
Doc Rivers is prepared either way.
“In some ways we have the same starters, but the bench is completely different,” he said. “For some of the guys, this is their first time around. So you have to kind of watch their emotions. And even some of the guys who were on the bench last year, the last time when they were not in the rotation as much. Then in a lot of ways, it’s their first time. … We’ve got a veteran group, so we know what we’re in store for.”
|Rondo’s new challenge||06.03.10 at 8:34 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES – Derek Fisher has been in the NBA for 14 years, but he still poses new challenges for Rajon Rondo.
In the previous two rounds of the playoffs, Rondo has been matched up with younger point guards in Jameer Nelson and Mo Williams. Even though 35-year-old Fisher may not be as quick, he can create problems for Rondo that he has yet to encounter this postseason.
“He’s smarter,” Rondo said prior to Game 1. “I think he’s been to seven finals so this is probably the same old story for him. He’s probably going to play like this is his last, but Derek’s a veteran. Like I said, he’s very smart and he’s a unique player, so I have to be aware of his tricks he may try to throw at me, some of his veteran moves he may have to draw fouls against me or whatever it may be.”
Fisher’s basketball IQ will keep Rondo on his toes throughout the series. The combination of his skill and intelligence has Rondo on the alert.
“You can’t underestimate Derek,” he said. “He definitely can shoot the 3, you can’t lose sight of Derek, and he draws fouls. He shoots 99 percent from the line so he’s not an easy match up. He’s a tough match up.”
|Big Papi breaks down the NBA finals||06.02.10 at 11:30 pm ET|
Big Papi is also a big Celtics fan. When he isn’t working in the batter’s box, David Ortiz enjoys watching the C’s work toward another championship.
“I’m all the way with the Celtics,” he said.
Ortiz believe the Celtics have what it takes to win it all against the Lakers. He offered up his NBA finals analysis, including why he thinks Paul Pierce is the key to the Celtics success, how Kevin Garnett pumps him up, and what makes the C’s a “team.”
Kevin Garnett: “KG is a monster down there. KG, he puts everybody in the mood. When he’s [trash talking] people out there and getting mad, that pumps me up. That even gets me ready to play baseball. I love it. I love it. I’m telling you, when I see KG doing that, I want to jump on the court and [kick butt] with him. It’s not a secret that his game is something else.”
Paul Pierce: “I believe that Pierce has got to keep his game up the way he’s been doing it [for the Celtics to win]. … I want Pierce to stay where he’s at, scoring those 25, 30 points.”
Rajon Rondo: “Rondo’s fine in his game. I’m not worried about Rondo.”
Kendrick Perkins: “My man the center, Perkins, keep on [kicking butt]. Clean it out down there (in the paint). Don’t let anybody get in there.”
Ray Allen: “I don’t worry about Allen. He’s shooting the [heck] out of the ball. That’s a game that you know is going to be there because he’s been hot as hell. I don’t know how he does it. He’s been shooting some balls with everybody on top of him.”
Glen Davis: “Big Boy, I’m watching his game all the time. … He’s just awesome. I love watching him down there hustling and doing his thing.”
The bench: “The bench is unbelievable, too. When those guys (the starters) take a break, it’s like they’re still in because those guys on the bench, they come out and get it done. That’s a team, that’s a team. That’s what I call a team. So I’m cheering for them big time.”
Key to victory: “They’ve got everything. First of all, everybody’s healthy to begin with. The games have been unbelievable. They just have to increase the defense just a little bit more, just a little tiny bit. Not anything crazy because their defense has been great too, just a little more and that’s about it, it’s an easy win.”