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Lakers get cash for drawing charges 06.02.10 at 2:28 pm ET
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Lakers coach Phil Jackson has tried every approach he can to get his players to take charges. The coach’s strategy includes insulting them ‘€” calling his big men “thin-chested” ‘€” as well as offering $50 cash for each charge.

“To motivate us in a way to take charges and getting away with it,” Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic told ESPN’s Shelley Smith.

Vujacic said the Lakers see an opportunity to get some spending money vs. the Celtics.

“Their whole team is kind of a charging possibility taking team,” he said. ” We’ve just got to be smart. They are a very smart team that can go from block to a charge, so we’ve been working a lot on charges and how to take them and stuff, so, we’ll see.”

The ESPN story indicated the money comes from players’ fines ‘€” for example, the team collects $25 from a player every time he gets called for illegal defense. Assistant coach Frank Hamblen said Lamar Odom has been keeping the pot full.

“I mean, I just pencil him in every night for illegal defense,” Hamblen said. “I ask him every night: ‘Lamar, you know the illegal defense rules, don’t you?’ ”

Hamblen said the Lakers haven’t had many takers in the charge-drawing sweepstakes. At least one player isn’t interested in that strategy.

“I don’t even know how to take a charge,” Ron Artest said. “To get the charge, you have to fall. I’d rather not fall. You call an offensive foul [on the New York playgrounds], possibly be a fight. That’s just how we grew up playing basketball.”

Read More: Celtics, charge, Lakers, Lamar Odom
NBA mock draft 06.02.10 at 6:36 am ET
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The Attack Athletics Center in Chicago hosted various general managers, coaches and team scouts late last month. The assembled individuals tried to gather as much information as possible on 52 of the best college basketball prospects at the annual NBA draft combine. During the two-day event May 20-21, the players were tested on their physicals, group workouts, skills, drills and interviews.

Some prospects had their draft stock rise, while some didn’€™t participate at all and raised questions. One player that raised eyebrows and interest was 19-year-old Ryan Richards from England. Standing at 6 feet, 10 inches, the forward showed the ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter while being fundamentally sound. After heading into the combine as an unknown, Richards improved his status and looks like an intriguing second-round pick.

Paul George from Fresno State was another player who had eyes on him after playing at a lower-profile college. Like Richards, George raised his stock by showcasing his coveted combination of athleticism and shooting. He appears to be a lottery to mid-first round pick after demonstrating his skills at the combine.

Two players — among many — who declined an invitation for both days of the combine were Al-Farouq Aminu and Quincy Pondexter. While Aminu is projected to be a top 10 pick, Pondexter is on the fringe of being a first-round selection. Though their absence could mean they feel safe in their current project, it could also mean they don’€™t want to exemplify their weaknesses through drills and workouts.

One player who needed to impress in the interview portion was Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins. Coming into the combine with questions about his character, Cousins didn’€™t fully squash that perception. He answered questions by the media with short and seemingly curt responses. Despite the concerns about his maturity, Cousins demonstrated in his only season with the Wildcats that he can be an immediate factor in the NBA.

With that said, here is the first-round mock of the NBA draft, which will be held on June 24.

1. Washington

John Wall, Kentucky, Fr., PG, 6-foot-4, 196 pounds

Wall is the no-brainer No. 1 pick in this draft. Possessing incredible quickness and athleticism that allows him to drive by defenders in a Rajon Rondo-like fashion, he will give Washington a true point guard to play alongside Gilbert Arenas. Read the rest of this entry »

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Technical analysis: Breakdown of Perkins’ playoff T’s 06.01.10 at 1:42 pm ET
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Celtics center Kendrick Perkins has never been one to hold back emotions on the basketball court. His reactions to opposing players or calls by officials have often resulted in him receiving technical fouls. During the regular season, those technicals haven’€™t hurt Boston more than one point. In the playoffs, however, those technicals are threatening to force Perkins to sit out a game.

After the ‘€œBrawl at the Palace’€ between the Pistons and Pacers at Detroit in 2004, the NBA implemented a rule that limited the amount of technical fouls a player could receive in the playoffs before being suspended. The rule states that any player will receive a one-game suspension following a seventh technical and every other technical thereafter.

Entering the NBA finals, Perkins already has six technicals on his tab and could be going on his eighth if not for the league rescinding one in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. He’€™s picked up at least one technical in each of the three series the Celtics have played in this postseason.

Here are the six technical fouls Perkins has received in the playoffs:

1.  Game 5 vs. Miami

Perkins’€™ first technical came when he locked arms with Udonis Haslem in Game 5 against the Heat. Official Derrick Stafford blew the whistle with six minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter as Perkins and Haslem became tangled after a Dwayne Wade missed shot. Though it seemed as if Perkins was only trying to get free and into the offense, Stafford felt he was a little too wild with his elbow. (Skip to 6:40 mark) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, technical fouls,
Celtics-Lakers the dominant sports rivalry of last 50 years 06.01.10 at 12:45 pm ET
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Starting on Thursday, the Celtics and Lakers will meet for the 12th time in an NBA finals series. How remarkable is that? Consider this: Since the Celtics and Lakers first met in the NBA finals in 1959 (a four-game sweep for the Celtics,) the most common World Series matchup has been the Yankees and Dodgers, who have met four times. In the NHL? Maple Leafs and Canadiens, with three matchups. And for the Super Bowl it’s the Cowboys and Steelers, also with three.

Since 1959 the Celtics and Lakers have played in the NBA finals more times than the most common championship opponents in the other three major sports combined. Not that there was a whole lot of doubt, but this pretty much confirms that we are talking about the dominant rivalry in North American professional sports, right?

Celtics-Lakers matchup a hit on resale market 06.01.10 at 11:06 am ET
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The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the average resale price for a ticket to Game 1 of the 2010 NBA finals is $1,071. That is 52% higher than the price a Game 1 ticket was going for had the series started in Phoenix.

The Journal also noted that average ticket price in Boston has increased from $561 to $591 since the Lakers eliminated the Suns on Saturday night.

What Big Papi Sees in Big Baby 06.01.10 at 12:21 am ET
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The first time David Ortiz saw Glen Davis, he thought he was looking at a football player.

But the more Big Papi got to know Big Baby, the more he saw himself.

‘€œWhen I’€™ve watched him playing for the past few years, he kind of gave me goosebumps because he’€™s just a guy that told me straight up who he wanted to be,’€ said Ortiz.

When Ortiz met Davis at Josh Beckett‘€™s charity bowling event during Davis’€™ rookie year, he was surprised to learn the ‘€œhumongous dude’€ was actually one of the newest members of the Celtics. The two shared a brief conversation, one that has stood out in Ortiz’€™s mind for years.

‘€œHe said, ‘€˜I’€™m trying to work hard because I want to be one of them. I want people to remember me in this city as a great player, and I’€™m working hard to get to it,’€™’€ Ortiz recalled. ‘€œSo I said, ‘€˜Keep on doing what you’€™re doing and you’€™re going to be just fine.’€™’€

Davis’€™ ambition reminded Ortiz of his own. As Ortiz listened to the young athlete, he was taken back to the time when he was an eager ballplayer who had just joined the Red Sox from the Minnesota Twins.

He remembered how anxious he was to put his stamp on Boston, the same sense of excitement Davis exuded.

‘€œThat’€™s the reason exactly why he caught my attention a lot,’€ Ortiz said. ‘€œI remember when I first got here with the Red Sox coming from Minnesota and there’€™s nothing but history and great players around. I remember my agent telling me, ‘€˜If you go to this city and play well and help the team to win a World Series, they’€™re going to remember you forever.’€™ And I busted my tail off just to do that because it was my goal. Now watching him doing the same thing, it brings me highlights and memories back.’€

Now Ortiz enjoys the highlights created by Davis on the court.

‘€œBig Boy, I’€™m watching his game all the time,’€ he said. Ortiz applauds Davis’€™ energy, cheers for his intensity, and thinks he is simply ‘€œawesome.’€

‘€œJust watching him playing and watching him doing his thing out there hustling, he wanted to show the world that he was there, that he is the one guy they could count on,’€ said Ortiz.

Davis is hard at work making sure the Celtics, Ortiz, and the city of Boston can do just that.

Read More: Big Baby, Big Papi, Celtics, David Ortiz
Doc says C’s ‘are just going to be us’ 05.31.10 at 6:37 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Talk about walking a fine line.

Doc Rivers knows his team – and Kendrick Perkins in particular – needs to do just that to come away with its 18th NBA title when they match up against the Lakers in the next two weeks.

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.”

Perkins, Glen Davis, Kevin Garnett, Shelden Williams and Rasheed Wallace – if healthy – will be called upon to contain Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Didier Ilunga-Mbenga.

“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.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, Lakers
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