|A technical situation||06.11.10 at 2:57 am ET|
The Celtics came into this series with the knowledge that Kendrick Perkins was sitting on six technical fouls and a seventh would mean an automatic one-game suspension. You can add Rasheed Wallace to the endangered Celtic list after he was whistled for his sixth in the fourth quarter of Game 4.
For good measure, Nate Robinson also got one after getting in Lamar Odom’s face. The Celtics have a rule against getting techs in the fourth quarter, but Doc Rivers was happy to waive it for one night.
“They were playing with great emotion,” Rivers said. “Even Nate, that was the one I didn’t like more than Rasheed’s. We don’t have to be tough, especially at whatever height you are. But that’s who he is. But they were playing well. They were happy. They were excited. So, it’s a fine line.”
Rivers said he hoped the league would rescind the technical on Wallace because, “he did a dance but he ran away. I didn’t think he said anything. The dance was funny, and so I could see it, but i don’t know.”
Rivers is concerned that the Lakers will use that against both Wallace and Perkins. He even pulled Perkins after he got physical with Pau Gasol late in the third quarter, fearing that a double-technical was on its way. We’ve got to get him out because you could see it,” Rivers said. “The double-technical was about to come But listen, we put ourselves in this situation and we’re going to have to play ourselves out of it.”
|More need for Sheed||06.10.10 at 8:42 pm ET|
Rasheed Wallace has played just 55 minutes in this series, but they have been 55 effective minutes, particularly on defense where he has guarded Pau Gasol well.
Wallace would have played more in the first two games in Los Angeles when he scored 16 points and had 11 rebounds, but he been battling a back injury. He also has had to sit out practice and Doc Rivers said that was as big a factor as his back.
“It’s not as much as his back anymore,” Rivers said prior to Game 4 of the NBA finals. “It’s his conditioning. The two weeks or three weeks of literally just playing in games , they catch up to you conditioning-wise.”
Rivers said that Wallace has been able to run more on off days and that he should be able to play more in Game 4. “We anticipate playing him a little bit more tonight for sure.”
Wallace looked physically pained as he tried to get up and down the court in Game 3, and his shot was way off. The Celtics could use his height because he has caused Gasol problems when he’s been in there. Glen Davis has also played well off the bench, but his lack of height has hurt the Celtics at times on the boards.
“He’s feeling a lot better today,” Rivers said. “We can’t worry about it anyway.”
|Lakers concerned with Bynum’s minutes||06.08.10 at 8:56 pm ET|
Andrew Bynum had his way with the Celtics in Game 2, scoring 21 points. But that was with two days off between Games 1 and 2, and with the quick turnaround for Game, Laker coach Phil Jackson said he would monitor Bynum early to see how his injured knee responds.
“I certainly will,” Jackson said. “Hopefully we can get him in and out of the game in the first half. A little earlier time for Lamar [Odom] to give him an opportunity to perform.”
Odom has been a non-factor through the first two games, with more fouls  than points [eight].
The Celtics would be just fine with getting Bynum out of the game because he has been a huge factor defensively for the Lakers. He bothered Rajon Rondo in Game 1 and also made life tough for Glen Davis in Game 2, who shot 4-for-13.
Both Rondo and Davis adjusted, however, and Davis was able to be effective by continually going to the glass where he recorded five offensive rebounds.
“[Davis] was huge in Game 2,” Doc Rivers said. “He was great with his energy. You know, he’s not going to be taller than anyone in this series. This is a long team, and he goes underneath, sometimes he gets too deep, he can’t finish. One of the things he did better the other night, he got it up quick or he threw it back out.”
|Kevin Garnett’s odd night||06.07.10 at 2:20 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — All eyes were on Kevin Garnett after he was thoroughly outplayed by Pau Gasol in Game 1 and some comments from Gasol were taken out of context and became a dominant storyline heading into Game 2.
How would Garnett react? Could he handle Gasol? Would we see a vintage Garnett performance? In the end, none of those questions were answered definitively because Garnett spent the entire night in foul trouble.
Garnett played less than 12 minutes in the first three quarters and scored only two points to go with two rebounds.
“Obviously I would have liked to be in a better flow,” Garnett said. “But fouls, it goes like that.”
Despite his struggles to stay on the court, Garnett turned in a solid fourth quarter. He only had four points and two rebounds, but his one made basket came with the Celtics up one, 91-90. Additionally, Gasol scored only one point and Garnett set a number of screens that opened lanes for Rajon Rondo to drive to the basket.
Garnett did little to answer his critics in Game 2, but he did enough to help his team get a win.
|Jackson: It’s going to be highly charged||06.06.10 at 7:42 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — The Lakers took Game 1 of the NBA finals in such a decisive manner that it would be tempting for them to think that they have things figured out against the Celtics. However, they have no illusions that Game 2 is going to resemble Game 1.
“It may have been first-game jitters,” Ron Artest said Friday. “We’re not expecting another game like that at all. They had a tough road in the East and faced a lot of adversity. That team, the Celtics, is special. We all respect that.”
Phil Jackson reiterated that point Sunday before Game 2.
“The response is usually, not always but usually, the team that has taken a loss,” Jackson said. “The adjustments and the response and we anticipate that’s going to happen tonight. It’s going to be a much more tight game, I think, going down the stretch. We anticipate the game is going to be highly-charged, there’s no doubt about that.”
For their part, the atmosphere in the Celtics locker room was business-like. Assistant coach Tom Thibodeau was spotted poring over film, while players mostly brushed off media inquiries.
In terms of adjustments, the Celtics aren’t tipping their hand although it seems likely that Paul Pierce may see more time on Kobe Bryant, particularly if Ray Allen gets in foul trouble again. Marquis Daniels is also on the active list and if nothing else he’s another body to throw at Bryant.
“We do what we do,” Doc Rivers said. “We didn’t do it. You can’t start changing because that’s not who you are and that would affect your team more than anything.”
|Reports: Thibodeau to coach Bulls||06.05.10 at 6:02 pm ET|
EL SEGUNDO — Both the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times are reporting that Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau has agreed to a three-year deal to coach the Chicago Bulls next season.
Doc Rivers wouldn’t confirm the reports at practice Saturday.
“I hope it’s true,” Rivers said. “But we’re not going to comment on it, I can tell you that. We’re focused on the NBA finals. It’s the Lakers and the Celtics and that’s what we’re going to keep the focus on. But on Tom, he deserves the job. I think he’s the best candidate out there. Let’s hope it’s true, but we’re going to leave it at that.”
Rivers did say that Thibodeau’s future won’t have an impact on whether he returns next season to the Celtics.
“No, Thibs and I are very close, but that won’t have an impact,” Rivers said. “I want all of my coaches to get jobs. Kevin Eastman and Armond [Hill], those guys are gems. But that won’t have an impact. Honestly, I haven’t thought enough about it.”
|Lakers key to defending Rondo||06.04.10 at 5:48 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — With a new series upon us, we have yet another defensive gameplan geared to stopping Rajon Rondo.
The obvious opening gambit for the Lakers is assigning Kobe Bryant the task of guarding Rondo. Bryant is bigger than Rondo and will play off him to try to prevent him from getting to the paint. That is nothing new, of course. The Heat did it with Dwyane Wade. The Cavs did it with Anthony Parker and LeBron James.
But Rondo has said that he never concerns himself with the first defender. He always has his eye on the second wave and the Laker big men have a plan, as well.
“What happens is, he’s the kind of guy who waits for the bigs to cut and then he drops passes off to them,” Andrew Bynum said. “We’re trying to make him finish, and wait until he goes to shoot the ball instead of committing to him earlier. It gets their team going when KG gets dunks, when [Kendrick] Perkins gets dunks and screams and all that. We just want to eliminate all of that.”
The Lakers have faced a gauntlet of elite point guards in the playoffs, including Utah’s Deron Williams and Phoenix’s Steve Nash, but it was their first round opponent who provided the best test case.
“Russell Westbrook really got us prepared because he’s going to take it right to you,” Bynum said. “He’s athletic enough that he’ll jump over you.”
Rondo may not have quite the straight-forward athleticism that Westbrook has, but he has mastered the art of angles and has proven adept at getting off shots and using the glass. He noted that Pau Gasol was able to block two of his shot attempts and that he’ll have to come up with a counter move, but he insisted that it’s really all on him to make the right decisions.
“I think I drew their bigs a couple of times and got Perk to the free throw line,” Rondo said. “But other than that, it’s my read really. It’s nothing that [an opposing] big can do or sense. It’s all on me, my judgment, knowing how to play the game.”
The other obvious adjustment for Rondo and the Celtics is getting out in transition. They had only five fast-break points in six chances and that has to do with defensive rebounding and coming up with loose-ball rebounds.
“We had a film clip with all the 50-50 plays, and I don’t think we got any of them,” Rondo said. “They got all the loose balls. They dove on the floor first. They were the more aggressive team.”
That has to change in Game 2 or Rondo will be once again stuck in low gear with an entire defense geared to stop him.
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