|Phil to his Lakers: Play above referees||06.10.10 at 8:47 pm ET|
With all the talk of Eddie F. Rush officiating Game 4 and Kendrick Perkins one technical away from a one-game suspension, there’s been plenty of talk about the quality of officiating of the 2010 NAB Finals. Lakers coach Phil Jackson said the officiating this Finals series is no more controversial than in other championship series he’s been in.
“I don’t think it’s any hotter than any other Finals I’ve been a part of,” Jackson said. “It’s always contentious. There’s been a little more focus, perhaps, this time. Perhaps, some of it has been undercurrent in the past. What we like to say to the players is you play beyond the refereeing, you play above the refereeing.”
Jackson is coaching in his 13th NBA Finals series and has a 10-2 mark in previous championship series.
[Click here to listen to Jackson explain how his team needs to deal with the officiating.]
|Lakers hope Ray-Ray ‘does it again’ Thursday||06.09.10 at 9:48 am ET|
The Lakers were as shell-shocked as anyone as Ray Allen rained down shot after perfect shot from beyond the 3-point arc on Sunday night in Game 2 in Los Angeles.
But the tables could not have been more turned on Tuesday night in Boston if Lou Piniella were managing the Yankees again and these were the 1980s.
Ray Allen finished 0-for-13, including misses on all eight from long range.
“I hope he does it again Thursday,” said a relieved Shannon Brown, one of the Lakers who were on the court for both the near-perfect performance from Allen in Game 2 and the perfectly-off display in Game 3.
Obviously, the Celtics had a different take.
“As a team, you have to stick together and stay focused on what you need to stay focused on, especially during that time during the game,” Glen Davis said. “We have to stay together as one and make things happen for each other, not just one person. It’s tough.”
In fact, Davis believes there’s a silver lining to Tuesday’s loss.
“Ray, 0-for-13? Who would have ever thought that? So, that won’t happen again,” Davis boldly predicted. “We only lost by a couple of points. He hits a couple of shots and we’re in the game. We’re winning the game, really. Today just wasn’t our day. In spite of him not hitting his shots and things like that, we’ve still got to win this game because it’s a winnable game for us.”
|Big Baby knows refs aren’t to blame for everything||06.09.10 at 4:15 am ET|
But Glen Davis is more than aware that the officials can’t be blame for all of the calls that went against them. Just a few key ones.
“We didn’t close out,” Davis said. ” I think at the beginning of the game, the first team established the tempo. I think the bench came out and really didn’t apply the pressure and that’s how we lost the lead.”
Indeed, the Celtics led, 12-5 out of the gate but thanks in very large part to the play of the Laker bench, which outscored Boston’s 16-8 in the first half, the visitors went on a 21-5 run to end the first quarter and never relinquished the lead again.
“I think a lot of the things in the first half, we just didn’t do right. I think we’ve got to be ready to play when we go in there. I blame it on myself, not establishing tempo, not bringing enough energy, turning the ball over, shooting bad shots. If I helped a little bit more in the first half, I think we would have done a better job.”
Davis was very aware of what was going on in the first half as the Celtics fell behind, 37-20, early in the second quarter.
“We had to dig our way back from [their] 17-point lead,” said Davis, who then had a very interesting take on the much-discussed and highly-criticized officials in this series.
“We did a great job of fighting back but then, calls didn’t go our way,” he said. “Referees aren’t perfect, they’re human, they’re going to make mistakes. Hopefully, they’ll see that some calls weren’t the right calls. But they did their best. I tip my hat to them. It’s tough in an environment like this to make the right call with thousands of people screaming at you, so it is what it is. I tip my hat to those guys.”
|Doc on Lakers whining: ‘Maybe they do different math’||06.08.10 at 9:39 pm ET|
Doc Rivers took objection with the complaints of several Lakers following Game 2 after Kobe Bryant was whistled for his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter, limiting his effectiveness in the final period.
“I’m just miffed and amazed how the other team complained about the fouls since we’ve been the team in foul trouble for two games,” Rivers said Tuesday night prior to Game 3. “Maybe they do different math there or something. I don’t get that one.”
In the Game 1 loss to the Lakers, the Celtics had several players with three fouls before halftime and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen each played most of the fourth quarter one foul from disqualification. The Celtics had 28 fouls called on them in Game 1 to 26 for the Lakers. In Game 2, the Lakers actually took 15 more free throw attempts than Boston, 41-26.
Fouls aside, Rivers knows he must keep Kevin Garnett and Pierce on the court at the same time if there’s any hope of finding them rhythm in this series, especially Garnett.
“We just have to keep him on the floor,” Rivers said. “Two of his fouls [from Game 2] were not smart fouls, so he has to do a better job of that. But listen, this is a physical series. Gasol adn Bynum, they’re big adn they’re going to keep attacking, and we just have to figure out a way of keeping them out of foul trouble. It’s huge for us.”
What was just as huge for the Celtics in the wrong direction on Tuesday were the fouls that Pierce and Garnett picked up within the first five minutes of the third quarter.
Pierce picked up his fourth and Garnett his third and the Lakers sensing the kill went immediately to the paint to feed Gasol.
“To win [Game 2] the other night with [Garnett] in foul trouble and Paul not being great offensively, we felt very fortunate,” Rivers said. “We were happy to win, but we have to be better than that.”
|Doc says C’s ‘are just going to be us’||05.31.10 at 6:37 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Talk about walking a fine line.
Rivers was told by more than one member of the recently-excused Phoenix Suns that if you plan on carrying through with the directive of Celtics fans everywhere, you better bring your hard hats and be prepared to rebound against the defending NBA champs.
That, of course, means being physical and not backing down. That also means that Kendrick Perkins needs to play with perfectly-controlled fury or risk his seventh technical foul, bringing with it an automatic one-game suspension.
“Our talks [with Perkins] haven’t worked yet, so maybe I should have another one,” Rivers said. “I’m concerned by it, honestly. What I’m concerned by with this is that it’s going to be a physical series. There’s going be guys that get tangled up under the basket, and there are going to be officials who are going to want to clean the game up. Perk may be in that. And the double technical — that’s why I’ve been on the double technical thing for a month now. This double technical thing should not be part of the seven techs, it really shouldn’t be. But it is and it’s a factor. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a factor in this series.”
“We’re just going to be us,” Rivers said following Monday’s practice. “I don’t know if that’s with any particular person. We’re going to be us and if that’s physical, that’s what we’re going to be.”
|Pierce: Doc is one ‘cool customer’||05.31.10 at 5:24 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Two of the most-respected coaches in the NBA also happen to have the most rings.
But whether the Celtics win another title or not in the next month, Paul Pierce believes he is playing for one of the best coaches of his generation. Pierce said Monday following practice that Rivers deserves credit for keeping the team focused on the task at hand and never showing panic through the course of a long season filled with many ups and downs.
“He’s definitely taken my career to the next level,” Pierce said. “You have to put him up there with the top-five coaches with Phil, Gregg Popovich.”
It wasn’t always that way as Pierce admitted earlier this season when he said his relationship with the Celtics and Rivers was sometimes like when a couple goes through growing pains early in their relationship.
Sometimes you come close to “breaking up” Pierce said but in the end, you work things out.
Such was the case, even this season, when the team went 27-27 to finish the season, losing at home to teams like Washington, New Jersey and Memphis. When the team was battling to find itself in January and February, Pierce said it was Rivers who kept things loose and easy.
“I think it’s everything to this ballclub,” Pierce said. “You can see at times when you play for coaches when things aren’t going right it just seems like the practices get harder and the yelling becomes louder and Doc is a cool customer.
“He didn’t panic, he didn’t get louder. He just stuck with the game plan. A lot of times, when you go through a stretch we went through like five games out of six, seven-out-of-10, you can tell from a coach’s body language that things are going downhill. You never really saw that with Doc. He came in and said, ‘Alight, we’re going to get back to work the next day.’ He always stayed positive and encouraged us and I think that was big for us throughout the year.”
Jackson has an NBA-record 10 titles as head coach while Gregg Popovich is second among active coaches with four. The Celtics are making their second trip to the NBA Finals in three years with Rivers as the coach and he is trying to join Red Auerbach, Bill Russell and K.C. Jones as Celtics coaches with two titles in three seasons.
|Why Nate Robinson was reason Celtics won||05.29.10 at 1:23 am ET|
When he speaks, everyone who cares about the team listens.
In the moments following Boston’s second Eastern Conference title in three years, he gave credit to one player for helping the Celtics to get over the emotional hump of losing two straight games after having a 3-0 lead against the Magic.
“He really won the game for us,” Pierce told ESPN’s Doris Burke in the midst of a parquet celebration following the 96-84 triumph.
Why did the man who scored a game-high 31 points while grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out five assists give so much credit to the man with the new tatoo on his throat? Because without him, the Celtics might have lost their swagger when Rajon Rondo took a hard first-quarter fall to the floor, courtesy Dwight Howard.
‘It was huge, it was big,” Robinson said after scoring all 13 of his points in a furious second-quarter spurt. “I am just speechless right now. My teammates, we got the job done today.
‘Just do whatever coach asked. He asked me to play as much defense as I could. The best way that I knew how, and the offense is going to come. That’s something that comes naturally, just play the game for what it is and for the love of it. That’s what I went out there and did.’
Robinson, who came to Boston in a much-talked about mid-season trade with the Knicks, didn’t even play in Games 1 and 2 of the series as Rondo was exerting his dominance. Coach Doc Rivers has always told his players to be prepared. Friday’s huge Game 6 stage was Robinson’s chance.
‘It was a great opportunity,” Robinson said. “I thank God, I thank Doc, the fans for giving me so much energy and my teammates for believing. They always told me be ready, be ready you never know. Today was that day.
‘I mean just the opportunity to play. I got my chance today. I just showed that I could play the game of basketball.’
And now Robinson gets his first chance to play on an even bigger stage: the NBA finals.
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