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Ray: ‘One of the hardest feelings of my lifetime’ 06.18.10 at 2:40 am ET
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LOS ANGELES — Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen called the Game 7 loss to the Lakers Thursday night “one of the hardest feelings” of his life after the Lakers rallied for an 83-79 win over the Celtics at Staples Center, the first time in five tries the Lakers have beaten Boston in a Game 7.

Allen, in what could be his final game as a Celtic, finished with 13 points on 3-for-14 shooting.

“It’s disappointing,” Allen began. “This is probably one of the hardest feelings I’ve felt in my lifetime. We’re scratching and clawing, trying to do everything we could to pull this one out. That’s probably what hurt the most – just having the opportunity to win down the stretch. It didn’t go our way.”

And the mood in the locker room after what could be the final game together for these particular group of Celtics?

“Tears, just a lot of tears,” Allen said.

And would he return?

“It’s hard to think about playing,” he said. “You’ve got guys that are veteran players that come in and do their job every night. You know, we’re here for a reason. It’s tough to see it end this way.

“I’m extremely proud,” Allen continued. “We’re a group of guys that stay within ourselves and do what we’re capable of. We fought the good fight all the time. When people didn’t believe in us, we stayed true to ourselves and made sure we came in and did our jobs every day. We don’t win this final game, but we still have a lot to hold our heads high for.”

Read More: Celtics, Game 7, Lakers, NBA Finals
Sheed gets the starting call 06.17.10 at 8:13 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — Rasheed Wallace will start for the injured Kendrick Perkins in Game 7 of the NBA finals. Celtics coach Doc Rivers made the announcement about an hour before the game.

“He’s old. I figured I’d play the oldest guys,” Rivers joked of the 35-year-old Wallace before giving a serious explanation. “I just think it’s a good combination with Kevin [Garnett] because of the size, with Bynum’s size. I just think it’s a better fit for us.

“It also may give [Rajon] Rondo a chance to get loose early because of the spacing on the floor.”

The decision to go with a taller lineup against Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol also means that Glen Davis will come off the bench. Otherwise, Rivers doesn’t expect many other changes with the loss of Perkins to two torn ligaments in his right knee in Game 6.

“We’re not going to change a lot. We could, and if the game dictates that we need to do that, we’re ready to do it. But we’re not going to recreate the wheel tonight. We’re going to be basically who we’ve been. Not having Perk, we may have to do it a little different, but not much.”

[Click here to listen to Doc Rivers explaining his move to start Rasheed Wallace for the injured Kendrick Perkins.]

Read More: Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Lakers, Rasheed Wallace
Ray shoulders blame for Game 6 06.16.10 at 8:40 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — Ray Allen took the blame for the bench not scoring a single point through three quarters on Tuesday in an 89-67 loss to the Lakers in Game 6 at Staples Center. The Celtics‘ bench was outscored 24-0 through three periods as the Lakers built a 25-point lead.

That was some readily evident in Wednesday’s film session before practice in Los Angeles.

“A lot of missing and a lot of everything,” Allen said. “Just offensively, we’ve had this conversation before about the ball being stuck. We didn’t make the extra pass. It sucks, too, because we talk about this a lot in the aftermath of our losses. We saw it on film.

“You’re talking about the first quarter. We didn’t set a good trend. And talking about what our bench didn’t do, I take sole credit in the starting five for that because as the starters we didn’t set a good precedent. It’s on us me, Rondo, Kevin, Paul sitting right there, that’s the guys. You can look around at the guys coming off the bench or our coaching staff, but we’ve got to start the game on parallel, like getting back on defense, moving the ball on offense. Those are things that we have to do. Regardless of what plays are called, that’s the way it’s got to be for [Thursday’s] game.

Desperation along with other emotions are on the line now.

” I think it’s a whole bunch of those emotions that you throw in the pot and mix them around,” Allen said. “As a team, as individuals, I don’t want to be sitting around in July having to ask myself, did I do everything that I could have done? Have any regrets? I don’t want to be that person. I want to do everything I can to leave it all on the floor.”

Read More: Celtics, Lakers, NBA Finals, Ray Allen
Lakers preparing for a ‘fight’ in Game 7 06.16.10 at 7:50 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — Game 7 is the ultimate test. For the Los Angeles Lakers it means even more.

The Lakers have a chance to finally beat the Celtics with the title on the line in a seventh and deciding game. Four times before the Lakers have had a chance and four times the Lakers were denied, most recently at the old Boston Garden in 1984 as the crowd rushed the parquet.

In 1969, it was the Celtics going on the road to the old Forum in Inglewood and winning Game 7, 108-106.

Thursday, the scene will be the Staples Center. And millions will be watching to see if the Lakers can finally get it done or do the Celtics walk away with their 18th title.

“Historic,” Lamar Odom said in a one-word characterization. “When you’re talking about these organizations and these teams, what they stand for, the pride. This is what you envisioned when you were a kid playing in your backyard. This was what it was all about.”

Odom said he is expecting a fierce battle from the Celtics, especially with Kendrick Perkins out with torn ligaments in his right knee.

“It’s going to be a fight,” Odom said. “It’s going to be a fight. We expect a tough game. You know, all these games have been tough. Even with last night’s score, to me that’s misleading, sometimes the games just go like that. That team still plays hard, still makes you work.”

The Lakers have battled back from two losses in Boston to tie the series. And now they enjoy the same chance the Celtics had in Game 6 two years ago – celebrating a title over their arch-rival with their own fans on their home court.

“It is what it is,” Derek Fisher said. “It’s something that each time a series starts, you don’t necessarily know how it’s going to play out and what’s going to happen and how the momentum is going to swing back and forth. But here we are, and to have this opportunity on our home floor to win a championship, you know, I don’t know if you can ask for anything else, regardless of the Game 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7. Whatever it would take to win, and we have an opportunity.

“I just think that after losing Game 5, we have been in a position since then that was not very complicated,” Fisher said. “It was pretty simple. You have to win the next game or your season is over, and not over in a way you’d like it to be. You know, as opposed to kind of, I guess, starting to become selfish and kind of bunker mentality.”

“Whether it’s pretty or not, the Lakers can get another monkey off their back with a win. In 1985, Magic Johnson and the Lakers had never beaten the Celtics for a title. They did and followed with one two years later. So, would this mean anything more special?

“It’s hard to answer that question,” Odom said. “A championship is a championship. Any time you have to fight this team really makes you fight I guess you appreciate it a little bit more.”

Read More: Celtcs, Derek Fisher, Lakers, Lamar Odom
Perk: ‘I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me’ 06.16.10 at 5:16 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — When Kendrick Perkins was asked how he was feeling on Wednesday after getting the word from doctors that his season ended when he went down in the paint with 5:30 left in the first quarter, he responded with a question of his own.

“Physically, or mentally?” Perkins replied.

That response indicated just how painful Tuesday night’s season ending knee injury was to the Celtics starting center.

Perkins then elaborated that he tore his MCL and suffered a partial tear of another ligament in his right knee in Game 6 and will not play in Game 7 Thursday.

“Physically, I’m in pain,” Perkins announced. “I hurt my knee pretty badly. I’m out for [Thursday]. There’s nothing I can do about it.

“Torn MCL and a torn PCL, so got to watch from the sideline. I’d be lying to you if I told you it didn’t hurt, but it hurts. Game 7 of the finals, Game 6 of the finals, couldn’t help your team. Can’t do nothing but sit on the side and encourage guys to play better and play well. I’ll probably never get this opportunity again to even make it back to the finals. Physically I’m doing better than I am mentally.”

Had last night’s injury occured in the middle of the season, Perkins would not have even made the finals.

“Last night, pretty sure that I wasn’t going to play,” Perkins said. “But [Wednesday] morning, it was like, you’re out. That’s what it was, ‘You’re out.’ He told me if it was in December that if I had hurt my knee in December I probably would have missed the remainder of the season. So that tells you what it’s like.”

Perkins, who said he had yet to have an MRI on the knee, made the announcement himself as he met with the media on Wednesday afternoon at Staples Center. Perkins said he expects to have an MRI on Friday when the team arrives back in Boston.

Perkins injured his right knee in a collision with Andrew Bynum under the Lakers basket midway through the first quarter.

“Game 7 of the finals, Game 6 of the finals, couldn’t help your team, can’t really do nothing but sit on the sidelines and encourage guys to play better and play well,” Perkins said.

Perkins knew immediately that something was seriously wrong when he hit the floor.

“I knew something was wrong,” he said. “I didn’t know what it was. I couldn’t get up on my own. I couldn’t walk. My whole leg was hurting. The back of my knee was hurting, in pain. I heard something pop. I didn’t know what it was, but it was pain.”

Perkins decided to come out and meet with the media, something he didn’t necessarily have to do considering the emotional and physical pain he’s dealt with since going down in Game 6.

“It’s the finals,” Perkins said. “Last practice of the season, last game of the season, you kind of just want to be with your teammates and coaches, just be around the guys, especially after a tough loss like last night where you just kind of want to be around, just get that family feeling. You know, you don’t want to be in your room all day by yourself.

“I know when we lose, we always say when we get to the locker room, we feel a lot better when we get around each other. So I just felt like I needed to be around.”

The more Perkins talked, he sounded like a parent who didn’t want his children to get distracted by his own misfortune.

“It was hard [Tuesday] night,” Perkins said. “I think my teammates, coaches, the whole Celtics organization has been great supporting me. But it’s hard because you have a lot of people asking me, ‘How are you feeling and get better and things like that, at the same time, it’s not about me. We’re trying to win a championship. It’s not about me and I don’t want the focus to be on me from my teammates or nobody. I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. We have a game to win.

“I just want them to stay focused on the game. I’m going to be alright. It’s an important game coming up. I appreciate my teammates and coaches and their concerns. It’s not about me. This is about winning a title.”

And Perkins said he has complete faith in the group of Glen Davis, Rasheed Wallace, Shelden Williams and possibly Brian Scalabrine to fill his shoes.

“Very confident,” Perkins said of his thoughts going into Game 7. “I think we’re in pretty good shape. I like the way our film session went. A lot of positive criticism so it went well. I think we’re going to be alright [Thursday].

Lamar Odom said he’s expecting nothing less than the best from Perkins’ replacements.

“You know, it’s funny, I was sitting on the bench, and they got Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett on the court at the same time, and those guys have had great careers,” Odom said. “Glen Davis is a fighter, as well. I mean, their team is still really competitive. Of course, any time you lose anyone, especially at this time of the year but it happens. It’s something we have to go through as a team. I just wish him well.”

Perkins had one more word for his teammates.

“No regrets, no regrets tomorrow,” he said. “It’s the last game year, period. There’s no more games. You don’t want any more regrets after the game. I think the biggest thing is we have to be together.”’s Joe Zarbano has the video of Perkins from Staples Wednesday afternoon.

Read More: Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Lakers, MCL
Not tough enough 06.16.10 at 2:12 am ET
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LOS ANGELES — Say this much, you can’t pin this loss on officiating.

The problem was – with the Celtics on Tuesday night – they said all the right things after the game but did precious few of them during an 89-67 loss to the Lakers in Game 6 of the 2010 NBA finals at Staples Center.

“We got our ass kicked, point-blank, simple. They came out there and hit us hard. They beat us mentally, physically,” Glen Davis said.

Getting outrebounded, 30-13, in the first half of a game you could have won the NBA title with is never a good sign. Yes, they lost Kendrick Perkins to a sprained right knee midway through the first quarter to a terrible bad bit of luck. But even before that, there were signs that the Lakers were beat the Celtics at their own game – energy.

“They did a great job,” Davis said. “They were the better team today. We didn’t come out and establish the tempo and we didn’t come out there hit them back. We didn’t do that at all. We didn’t play Celtics basketball.”

So can Davis and company change it for Thursday?

“I don’t know,” he admitted. “I have no idea. But we better find something, make it happen.”

Pierce – as you would expect from a captain – was far more confident.

“I’ll tell you one thing, when I’m standing here on Thursday night, we won’t be talking about [lack of] energy,” Pierce said.

Still, it’s fairly mind-boggling that the Celtics had such trouble mustering up enough energy to compete with the Lakers, who were facing elimination for the first time in this playoff season.

“We have no choice,” Garnett said. “We come out [in Game 7] with the energy we had tonight, we’ll get blown out, embarrassed.”

Read More: Celtics, Lakers, Paul Pierce,
At home with the bench 06.15.10 at 9:51 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — The role of the bench may be the single biggest factor in home court advantage in this NBA finals series.

In Boston, Tony Allen, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson and Rasheed Wallace fed off the TD Garden crowd. It paid huge dividends in Games 4 and 5.

Both Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers have the luxury of having key players coming off their benches.

For the Celtics, everyone knows about the production of Davis, especially in wins in Games 4 and 5. Robinson was huge in Game 4 as well. Rasheed Wallace’s role took on a whole new meaning with an apparent right knee injury to starter Kendrick Perkins with 5:30 left in the first quarter Tuesday night.

For the Lakers, they have Lamar Odom, Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar.

Now with the series finishing in Los Angeles, the advantage has shifted by to the purple and gold.

At first glance, the Lakers domination in the first half of Game 6 seemed to render the bench moot. But upon a much closer look, the stat sheet revealed the Lakers got 15 points from their bench. The Celtics, a big goose egg. That 15-0 margin led to a 51-31 halftime Lakers cushion.

And with the Lakers building a 22-point lead, Jackson was afforded the luxury of not having to tax his starters, saving them for a Game 7.

“I think that the bench performance has to prove itself,” Jackson said prior to Game 6. “[They’ve] got to go out there. But in the same breath, benches play better on our home court than they do on the road. It’s like, okay, they certainly have to have a chance to play, and if they’re playing well, they’ll stay.”

Rivers admitted he has to be a little more careful with his bench at Staples Center.

“Well, you hope not, but you’re prepared to,” Rivers said of shortening the exposure of the bench on the road. “I think [Jackson] is right. I think role players tend to play better at home. I don’t think that’s anything new. We knew that.

“We do have a different cast of players with Rasheed being a veteran and Nate and Baby are so emotional they could possibly play well on the road. You just never know what you’re going to get from them. But that is true, you do prepare yourself to extend your starters’ minutes on the road. You always do.”

Read More: Bench, Celtics, Lakers, NBA Finals
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