|Sheed lives||05.05.10 at 4:17 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Rasheed Wallace didn’t talk to the assembled media in front of his locker after his 17-point performance in Game 2, but there was a lot of words spoken on his behalf. Perhaps the most provocative were said by Kevin Garnett after the game to WEEI [Click here to listen to the audio].
“We’ve been talking all year,” Wallace said after practice Wednesday before ending his interview.
But, ever defiant, he refused to say that his Game 2 performance was anything special.
“No difference,” he said when asked what what the difference was for him between games. “Either or, y’all think it’s just one facet of this game. It’s not. There’s two facets to this game. If I’m not making shots, OK, then I have to something on defense. So if I’m missing shots or making shots it doesn’t affect my whole overall game.”
Still, there was no denying the impact he had on the game. The Celtics opened up a double-digit lead in the second quarter when he made his first five shots, including three 3′s.
“His play spoke for itself,” Rajon Rondo said. “He was big for us. He doesn’t have to score 20, or whatever he had, 17 each game. But if he can get us 10 [points] and 10 [rebounds] we can definitely win the championship.”
The Celtics obviously need Wallace to keep playing well, especially with injuries hampering Garnett and Kendrick Perkins.
“I need him to keep doing it,” Doc Rivers said. “Maybe he went into the Hot Tub Time Machine. He was good. Now we need him to follow it up, but we need everyone to. That’s just part of team basketball.”
Rivers didn’t specifically credit Garnett’s speech, but did note that players talking to players is often more effective than when the coach has to say something. “It’s been that way for 50 years,” Rivers said.
|Doc treads lightly on fouls||05.05.10 at 3:39 pm ET|
With the NBA cracking down on coaches and players who speak ill of the way the game is called, the Celtics have refrained from voicing their displeasure with the discrepancy. Doc Rivers adhered to that when he was asked about it at practice Wednesday.
“We’re going to play the way we play and we’re not going to change the way we play,” Rivers said. “We have to do a better job of doing it without fouling. And we have to do a better job, somehow, of drawing some fouls on them.”
Pressed further, Rivers said, “We have to be more aggressive offensively. We have to attack more. It is something we want. As well as we’ve played, the low free throw attempts for us, we have to get to that line more.”
There’s a subtle message in there. The Celtics have played well and usually the team that plays better is rewarded with more calls. The Cavs may have set an unofficial record by going more than 19 minutes without getting whistled for a personal fouls in Game 2.
Rivers was asked if he’s ever seen that before. “Nope.”
|Garnett, Perkins miss practice||05.05.10 at 2:55 pm ET|
Of the two, Garnett’s is apparently more worrisome. He suffered what the team called a right mid-foot strain late in the fourth quarter of Game 2. He arrived for practice but was told to shut it down by Doc Rivers.
“Honestly, today, if we had a game I don’t think he could have played,” Rivers said. “We just have to wait. I doubt if he’ll practice tomorrow. We’ll see. Perk we think will be all right. I don’t know if he can practice tomorrow either.”
Perkins suffered a hyperextended right knee during the team’s shootaround but did score 10 points and have nine rebounds in 30 minutes. He was also a team-best +20 in plus/minus. Perkins had a bout with knee tendinitis in March.
The Cavs have their own injury problems with LeBron James undergoing another MRI on his right elbow and Anderson Varejao missing part of the fourth quarter with back spasms. Varejao was examined by the team doctors Tuesday. The series has a three day break between games, which now seems like a very good thing for both teams.
“The rest, we were complaining, but now it turns out that rest is good for everybody,” Rivers said. “It’s probably good for Cleveland. They have a chance to get healthy.”
Garnett was not present to talk to the media Wednesday, but Perkins did an expressed confidence that both he and Garnett would play Friday.
“I’ll be ready for Friday,” Perkins said. “Hopefully I can practice [Thursday.] Kevin wanted to practice. He was mad that Doc wanted him to sit out. He’ll play.”
Perkins said that he hurt himself running and joked that he was, “just being clumsy. It happens.”
UPDATE: Garnett’s injury may have actually come in the second quarter when Perkins landed on his foot. Here’s the video:
|Cavs don’t rest on off day||05.04.10 at 9:47 pm ET|
The team elected to watch film in Cleveland Tuesday, even though they had a scheduled off day. Cavs coach Mike Brown ripped his team’s effort after Game 2 in which the Celtics evened the series with a decisive 104-86 victory.
“We have to decide if we are going to take the fight to them and take these games,” Brown said. “Ain’t a [expletive] thing is going to be given to us at all in this series. Plain and simple, they kicked our behind. This series is one to one. We are going to see what we’re made of in Game 3.’
The bigger story, however, is that LeBron James is scheduled to have another MRI on right elbow before Friday’s Game 3. He had one last week before the Cavs closed out the Bulls in their first-round series that revealed a bone bruise and a sprained elbow. James admitted that he started Game 1 tentatively and he faced questions after Game 2 when he attempted 15 shots (he also had 15 free throws).
Also, Anderson Varejao was examined by the team’s physician after back spasms took him out of Game 2. He is listed as day to day.Varejao was one of the few Cavs big men who played well in Game 2 and he was doing his best to try to rile up the Celtics.
[Go here to listen to Kevin Garnett's post-game interview with WEEI in which he talked about Varejao's play, as well as calling our Rasheed Wallace after Game 1]
This is a potentially huge problem for the Cavs who are getting minimal production out of Shaquille O’Neal and are also looking at big matchup problem with Antawn Jamison guarding Garnett. The Celtics believe they can exploit this matchup throughout the series and they have made a concerted effort to isolate Garnett on the left block against Jamison.
Rivers wants Garnett to look for his own offense more, which runs counter to his nature.
“He’s got to stay on that,” Rivers said between games. “He fights his own self because people don’t get that. They criticize him for being unselfish which is the craziest thing on earth, but that is who he is.”
Garnett has been aggressive. He tied a season-high with 20 shot attempts in Game 1 and shook off a slow first-half in Game 2 in which he went 2-for-9, by making his first three shots in the third quarter when the Celtics dominated play.
“Kevin was playing way too fast in the first half but he was still a concern on the post,” Rivers said after Game 2. “They’re trapping. They’re worried about him right now.”
Varejao is the key to the Cavs multiple frontcourt lineups because he can play both the four and five spots and is a much better defender than J.J. Hickson. Without him in the lineup, the Cavs have to either play small with James and either Jamison or Hickson up front, or go big with either O’Neal or Zydrunas Ilgauskus, which makes them much slower.
For their part, the Celtics took the day off and are scheduled to resume practice Wednesday.
|Varejao day to day with back spasms||05.04.10 at 7:54 pm ET|
Celtics antagonist Anderson Varejao left Monday’s Game 2 with back spasms and didn’t return to the game. He was examined at the Cleveland Clinic Sports Health on Tuesday by Cavs Physician Dr. Richard Parker, who confirmed the diagnosis after an MRI and X-Ray were negative.
The team said he is receiving treatment and is currently listed as day-to-day.
|Clarifying the calls for clarification||05.03.10 at 7:49 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — Cavs coach Mike Brown raised a few eyebrows when he suggested that the foul Shaquille O’Neal put on Rajon Rondo late in the game was actually not a foul, and that he asked for clarification from the league. It turns out that Brown was actually referring to a different Shaq foul on Rondo from the second quarter.
The act of asking the league to clarify calls in a specific game is a time-honored ritual for coaches during playoff series.Doc Rivers said he asked the league about four different calls. “I’m scared to tell you which ones because I may get fined for it,” Rivers said before Game 2. “They said I was right.”
|Expect more physical play in Game 2||05.03.10 at 1:40 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — There has been a lot made of the hard foul that Shaquille O’Neal administered to Rajon Rondo late in Game 1 that sent Rondo careening to the floor. One overheated Cleveland media member asked Cavs coach Mike Brown if it was the hardest playoff foul he’s ever seen.
Obviously it wasn’t, but Brown raised some eyebrows when he said he asked the NBA for clarification over whether it actually was even a foul. Brown’s contention is that Rondo initiated the contact.
That’s standard operating procedure during playoff series when teams will send a handful of plays to the league to ask for clarification. The real reason is to send a subtle message about calls that were, or were not made, during the course of a game to set the tone for the next one.
The referees for Game 2 are Dan Crawford, Dick Bavetta and Eddie Malloy. They should expect to see a lot of contact. For the record, the Celtics had no problems with the foul that O’Neal gave to Rondo.
“He’s just got to keep going in there,” Doc Rivers said. “Shaq’s doing what should do. I didn’t think what Shaq did was dirty or anything else. It was just a hard playoff foul. I actually applaud it. We need more of that. Both ways.”
Cavs guard Mo Williams lauded O’Neal for his foul both after Game 1 and again Monday morning as the team went through their shootaround.
“It’s a great asset to have, knowing that he’s going to give hard fouls,” Williams said. “Teams know that. They know that once they go in there they’re going to get hit, so brace yourself.”
Rondo can expect to get a huge amount of attention from the Cavs defense tonight. He saw Williams, Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon at times in Game 1. The Celtics expected as much and while Brown said he would probably start Game 2 the same way — with Williams on Rondo — he won’t hesitate to go back to Parker, who is being hailed around Ohio as a Rondo stopper. A notion the Celtics don’t agree with.
“Honestly, it didn’t really affect us much,” Rivers said. “I thought Rondo’s fourth foul affected Rondo far more than Parker guarding Rondo. I think Rondo likes that matchup in a lot of ways. But that’s what you do. That’s what teams do. That’s what I would do. It’s always better to put a longer guy on a quicker guy. We actually thought it would be LeBron more.”
One thing is certain. If the Celtics are going to come back to Boston with a split, they will have to be the aggressors. Both in taking the ball to the basket and in defending the rim.
“We do have to be more physical,” Kendrick Perkins said. “We have to take it to them tonight. We have to be the more physical team. Last game they were, so tonight we just got to go out there and do what we got to do to get the win.”