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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
Pierce: Doc is one ‘cool customer’ 05.31.10 at 5:24 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Two of the most-respected coaches in the NBA also happen to have the most rings.

And Celtics captain Paul Pierce would love to give Doc Rivers the chance to join Lakers coach Phil Jackson and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich as active coaches with multiple 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.

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Gregg Popovich, Lakers
Going from Gold to Green 05.31.10 at 2:51 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Tony Gaffney began his rookie season in purple and gold. This week he is headed back to the Staples Center, this time wearing green and white.

Gaffney, a Boston native, was signed to the Lakers training camp roster last summer after going undrafted out of the University of Massachusetts. He was the was the last player cut from training camp and went overseas to play in Israel before being signed by the Celtics in April.

It has been months since he returned to Los Angeles, and he’€™s thrilled to be arriving as a member of the Celtics.

‘€œI wouldn’€™t want to be going back any other way. I’€™m looking forward to it,’€ he said before the team flew out to California on Monday. ‘€œIt’€™s definitely unique, and having the two teams [that I’€™ve played for] be the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers makes it that much more special. Obviously they’€™re two top of the line, class A organizations, it’€™s no surprise as to why they are in the finals. Having gotten the chance to witness that and see it firsthand, to me this all makes sense.’€

Even though Gaffney has been on the inactive list during the postseason, he still can help the Celtics without being on the court. He learned the Lakers offense ‘€œfairly well’€ and was even praised by the organization for picking up the triangle offense so quickly. Gaffney would be happy to pass along his insight.

‘€œI got to know some of the guys pretty well and I was in the gym early morning when Kobe (Bryant) was the first one in there working on his left-handed shots for an hour before practice,’€ he recalled. ‘€œBut if any of the guys ask me anything or need anything, I’€™ll be more than happy to help them out.’€œ

And while he has seen firsthand just how dangerous Bryant can be on the court, Gaffney believes it is another player who can do damage.

‘€œObviously I believe Pau (Gasol) and Kobe make that team go, but I think as Lamar goes, they go,’€ he said. ‘€œWhen he gets off and he’€™s doing what he’€™s capable of doing, they’€™re tough to beat. But we have a counter to that and we have probably the best defensive team in the league. And I think keeping Lamar Odom in check is going to be huge in this series and we’€™ll have to go from there.’€

Gaffney is confident the Celtics have the pieces to win it all. Even though he still has his Lakers jersey, it is a reminder of his journey that has led him back to the team he hopes will win it all.

‘€œI’€™m blessed to have been able to be part of both organizations,’€ he said, ‘€œAnd now have a chance to win it with the greatest organization in the NBA.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers
Video: Top 10 plays in Celtics-Lakers rivalry 05.31.10 at 1:17 pm ET
By   |  Filed under General  |  3 Comments produced a video of the 10 top plays in the Celtics-Lakers rivalry. Warning: The top three plays all favor the Lakers, including one play in which Cedric Maxwell misses a shot and then gets dunked on by James Worthy.

Read More: Celtics, Lakers, top plays,
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