|Game 7 predictions roundup||06.17.10 at 2:36 pm ET|
Before the opening tip of this year’s NBA finals between the Celtics and Lakers, many NBA analysts predicted that the series between the heated rivals would go the full seven games. Now, with Game 7 officially upon us Thursday night, many of those same so-called experts are back with their predictions for the deciding game of the championship. Here’s a roundup of some of those predictions.
— Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and radio host Stephen A. Smith told Dennis & Callahan that he’s going to stick with his original pick of the C’s in 7.
— Several Sports Illustrated writers give their guesses at the outcome. Four of the six predict a Boston win, including frequent WEEI guest Ian Thomsen, who thinks the final tally will be 92-89 in favor of the Green.
— ESPN asked several of its experts what they expect for Game 7. Kevin Arnovitz and Chris Sheridan both think it will be a last-possession game but differ on who will make the game-winner. Arnovitz picked Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant while Sheridan went with Boston closer Paul Pierce.
— Also, as a part of its rivalry page, ESPN had two writers write why they believe the C’s will win and why the Lakers will win, with ESPNBoston.com’s Chris Forsberg doing the former and Land O’Lakers blogger Andy Kamenetzky doing the latter.
— ESPN analyst Jamal Mashburn, who also was a guest Thursday morning on the Dennis & Callahan show, says that ‘there’s no doubt in my mind’ that the Lakers will win. He also predicted that Glen Davis will start as the replacement for Kendrick Perkins.
–– Glen Davis gave his own prediction of a Celtics win in this piece from The Los Angeles Times.
— Finally, SportingNews.com ran an AccuScore projection of Thursday night’s game, and the Lakers won 76 percent of the 10,000 simulations run by the program. The average score was 97.4-89.7.
|Ray shoulders blame for Game 6||06.16.10 at 8:40 pm ET|
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.”
|Perk: ‘I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me’||at 5:16 pm ET|
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.”
“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.”
WEEI.com’s Joe Zarbano has the video of Perkins from Staples Wednesday afternoon.
|Not tough enough||at 2:12 am ET|
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.”
|Rivers: Celtics need to trust, play as a team||at 1:32 am ET|
But on Tuesday night, they C’s looked as if they had forgotten the point they had made just 48 hours earlier.
‘I thought we played an individual game tonight, really on both ends,’ Doc Rivers said following the Celtics 89-67 loss in Game 6.
Rivers praised the Lakers trust in one another before expressing disappointment in his own team’s. The Celtics, rooted in a we-not-me mentality, failed to share the ball and find the open teammate consistently for 48 minutes. They took contested shots (33% FG) and collectively dished 17 assists, down from their finals average of 20.6.
‘We never gave ourselves an opportunity offensively because we didn’t trust tonight. Everybody was trying to make their own plays,’ said Rivers. ‘When we’ve done that this year, we’ve lost games. We’ve been blown out in some of those games, and if you do that against a team like the Lakers and a team like the Lakers who are really ready to play and play desperate, you’re going to lose. And I thought we did that.’
The need for a total team effort is that much greater heading into Game 7 due to the injury of Kendrick Perkins. His status for Thursday night is unclear after leaving the game with a sprained right knee. Without Perkins, the Celtics lose size down low against the towering Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
Rivers will look to the bench, which was outscored in Game 6, to step up. If Perkins is unable to play, either Glen Davis or Rasheed Wallace will get the start. Rivers hopes Davis will bring the same level of energy he exuded in Game 4 — ‘The famous Shrek and Donkey game,’ Rivers dubbed it — and that the rest of the team will follow suit.
‘We need that again,’ he said, ‘And we need that from everybody.’
As Rivers preps the Celtics for the deciding Game 7, there is no way of knowing who could suddenly have the hot hand. But what he does know is that the entire lineup, not just one player, will make the difference.
‘I’m hoping both teams play great and the best team wins, and I’m hoping that’s us,’ he said. ‘The effort is going to be great by both teams. It’s really going to come down to the trust. It’s going to come down to the execution. One team will do that and one team will question it at some point in the game. We’ll see.’
|Five reasons the Celtics lost Game 6||06.15.10 at 11:43 pm ET|
The Celtics are headed to a deciding Game 7 against the Lakers after falling, 89-67, in Game 6 of the NBA finals on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Here are five reasons why the Celtics couldn’t get it done in six.
1. Kendrick Perkins went down: Perkins sprained his right knee and left the game halfway through the first quarter. He fell to the ground after fighting for a rebound (an effort the Celtics hardly made in the quarter as they were outrebounded 12-5) and did not return after being helped off the court. The injury had a ripple effect on the Celtics’ inside game. Not only did the C’s suffer by losing Perkins’ presence on the court, his injury forced Rasheed Wallace into the game. Wallace, who is just one technical away from a one-game suspension, picked up three personal fouls in just eight first half minutes. With Perkins’ injured and Wallace benched with foul trouble, the Lakers got to the basket at will, including 17 points and 13 rebounds from Pau Gasol.
2. One and done: The Celtics were four quarters away from winning their 18th championship, but they let the game slip away in the first. The C’s hung with the Lakers for the first five minutes of the game and were tied 12-12 at the seven-minute mark. The Lakers then went on a run and outscored the Celtics 16-6 to end the quarter. The C’s went scoreless for over two minutes during the beginning of the Lakers tear and did not hit a shot in the final 2:11 of the quarter. The Lakers led 28-18 after one. Kobe Bryant hit five field goals in the quarter, the entire Celtics team hit just eight.
3. Ron Artest appeared: Artest’s offensive numbers through the first five games of the finals were dismal – 7.8 points, 30.2% FG, 31.6% 3PG, 46.7% FT. Paul Pierce had contained him in the battle of the perimeter players, and he had offered little help to the Lakers on the scoreboard. But Artest showed up in Game 6. He scored 10 points in the first half alone and finished the game with 15. Artest doesn’t have to be the game’s leading scorer to make a difference. He spreads the defense and draws the Celtics away from his other teammates, like Bryant, when he is making his shots.
4. The bench never stood up: Just two games ago, they won the battle for the Celtics. But in Game 6, the C’s bench was ineffective, to say the least. Five reserves combined for just 13 points, and the only reason why those numbers are that high is because the starters were benched toward the end of the blowout. The Lakers bench, on the other hand, played with the energy and hustle exhibited by the Celtics in Game 4. Sasha Vujacic swished 3-pointers, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown got up for highlight reel dunks. With the Perkins injured, the Celtics bench needed to step up and help the starters. That didn’t happen.
5. Lakers attacked the glass: Doc Rivers told the Celtics at the start of the series that rebounding is key. It was key in their three wins, and it was key in their third loss. The Celtics were annihilated on the glass, 52-39, as three Lakers recorded double-digit rebounds — Gasol (13), Bryant (11), Lamar Odom (10). No one on the Celtics grabbed more than nine boards (Glen Davis led the team), which was magnified by Perkins’ absence on the glass.
|At home with the bench||at 9:51 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — The role of the bench may be the single biggest factor in home court advantage in this NBA finals series.
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.”
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