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At home with the bench 06.15.10 at 9:51 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — The role of the bench may be the single biggest factor in home court advantage in this NBA finals series.

In Boston, Tony Allen, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson and Rasheed Wallace fed off the TD Garden crowd. It paid huge dividends in Games 4 and 5.

Both Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers have the luxury of having key players coming off their benches.

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.”

Read More: Bench, Celtics, Lakers, NBA Finals
Perkins injures right leg at 9:28 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — Celtics starting center Kendrick Perkins had to be helped off the court after his right knee appeared to buckle in a collision with Andrew Bynum under the Lakers basket midway through the first quarter. League officials reported during the game that Perkins had sustained a sprained right knee.

The center had X-rays on the leg and his return for Game 6 was ruled out by the team during halftime. Perkins will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. His status for possible Game 7 on Thursday is uncertain.

Perkins and Bynum collided going for the rebound with 5:30 left in the first and Perkins landed awkwardly and remained on the floor several minutes while pointing at his right knee. He was helped off the court by Brian Scalabrine and Shelden Williams and could not put any weight on the leg as he made his way back to the dressing room.

Read More: Celtics, Lakers, NBA Finals,
Celtics are calm, confident before the storm at 8:37 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — The mood inside the Celtics locker room prior to Game 6 wasn’t loose and it wasn’t grim. They were neither joking around nor were they tight. They know what they have in front of them in Game 6 and there is no sense of relief of foreboding.

They feel like they have zeroed in on the two most important big-picture areas: defensive rebounding and turnovers and it’s a testament to how off this series has been that they weren’t able to do either well in Game 5 and still get the win.

“The offensive rebounds is what allowed them to stay in the game,” Doc Rivers said. “We turned the ball over too much. And the first thing we talked about is we got away with that in a home game, we will not get away with that on a road game.”

The Celtics are also expecting Kobe Bryant to be at his best. “I mean, that’s all you can assume for is he’s going to give us his best game, very similar to last game and maybe more, maybe more assists, more rebounds,” Rivers said. “That’s why he’s Kobe. But that’s fine. I mean, we understand that. But we have to figure out a way of winning the game if that happens.”

Laker coach Phil Jackson emphasized the opposite tact, while allowing that Bryant is capable of taking the game over.

“We talked about that in our pregame today,” Jackson said. “Once he’s hot, he’s as hot as any player could be in the NBA, so you want to keep the ball on him. There’s no doubt with that. But there’s too much individual action. There’s got to be more team play on the offensive end.”

While the Lakers try to get back to what made them successful, the Celtics are simply focused on “doing what they do,” as it was written on the whiteboard in the locker room. While they have the advantage, the Celtics are aware that momentum can turn in an instant, especially if there is a Game 7.

“We just want to avoid another game,” Rivers said. “We’ve got a chance to win now, so that should be our urgency, is right now.
But you know, the Lakers have the same urgency, and their urgency is to play another night. I think you’re going to see both teams’ best tonight.”

Read More: Celtics, Game 6, Lakers,
Ray continues his target practice at 7:25 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — Want to know why Ray Allen comes up with games like Game 2 of the NBA finals?

All you have to do is watch him about 3 1/2 hours before tip-off.

Whether it’s a January game at the Garden against New Jersey or a potential championship-clinching Game 6 of the 2010 NBA finals, Allen shows up before everyone and has the floor to himself and start draining shot after shot from beyond the 3-point arc.

Tuesday here in Los Angeles was no different as he went through several series of solo H-O-R-S-E games on the floor before finishing with free throws. He is known for his work ethic before each game, getting on the court and warming up. It paid off in Game 2 as he hit his first seven 3-point attempts on his way to setting NBA Finals records for most 3s in a half [7] and a game [8] as the Celtics won, 103-94 to even the series.

This is hardly news but still, it’s a reminder of the small details Allen keeps attention to, and that’s no easy task considering his diabetic four-year old son Walker just recovered from another bout of hypoglycemia early Saturday morning.

Read More: Celtics, Lakers, NBA Finals,
C’s road show affects Fenway traffic at 6:41 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — Over 2,600 miles from where they hope to clinch their record 18th banner, the Celtics are already impacting traffic back in Boston.

The Red Sox announced Tuesday the Boston Transportation Department will close various streets in the Fenway neighborhood and surrounding areas during tonight’s Celtics playoff game here at the Staples Center.

Brookline Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic from the Landmark Center to Kenmore Square beginning at the end of the third quarter of tonight’€™s Celtics game. The area around Fenway Park has been posted with no parking/tow zone signs.

Starting at 7:30 p.m., the Boston Transportation Department will begin towing vehicles parked on Ipswich Street, from Boylston Street to Charlesgate, and on Brookline Avenue, from Park Drive to Kenmore Square.

This will also be the case on Thursday if there is a Game 7 between the Celtics and Lakers that evening in Los Angeles. The Red Sox urge fans to use public transportation if at all possible.

Read More: Celtics, NBA Finals, Red Sox,
Legler on D&C: Kobe ‘trusts his teammates less and less’ at 11:20 am ET
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ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler discussed the NBA finals Tuesday morning with the Dennis & Callahan show and among the topics of conversation was Kobe Bryant‘€™s lack of trust in his teammates late in games.

‘€œI think for Kobe Bryant, the problem right now is as the game goes on and the Celtics make a run in the second half, Kobe trusts his teammates less and less and less. And that’€™s a big problem for the Lakers,’€ Legler said. ‘€œYou can see the frustration in the body language and the gestures he made towards some of his teammates and he frustration he showed in a couple of those huddles late in that game. He doesn’€™t necessarily feel he’€™s got the guys to with the intestinal fortitude to withstand a team as tough mentally as the Boston Celtics.’€

As for the Celtics, Legler noted that, ‘€œThey trust each other completely. That to me is one of the biggest differences between these two teams.’€

Below are some of the highlights from that interview. To hear the entire interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

There could be two things to worry about headed into Game 5. One is the refs changing the tone, and a lot of Celtics get in foul trouble early. The other is this whole mentality of, ‘€œWe have two chances to win one game?’€ If you were Doc Rivers, would those bother you?

I don’€™t think that they’€™re necessarily thinking that way. I just believe they’€™re trying to say the right things rather than, ‘€œWe’€™re going to go back there. We’€™re going to close this out in six.’€ I think they’€™re just trying to be PC on this one, but I think their mentality is absolutely they’€™re going to go back there tonight and win the series. And I think they’€™re very confident they can do that based on how they played against them the last couple games. I think Doc Rivers and that team feel like they now defensively have got this team figured out to the point where they’€™re not that the Lakers could go off and get into over 100 points. I think that that’€™s what Doc Rivers’€™ mindset with this team is right now. He’€™s very comfortable with the series. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Lakers, Tim Legler,
What to Watch For: Game 6 at 11:17 am ET
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LOS ANGELES — The Celtics are one game away from an unlikely championship but they understand that what they are going to try to do tonight in Game 6 of the NBA finals will be difficult. Elimination games always are, and even in this fantastic playoff run, the Celtics are only 3-2 when trying to close out the other team and 0-2 on the road.

“This will probably be the hardest game of the season, if not of the series, if not of everybody’s career,” said Kevin Garnett. “This game coming up.”

The Celtics don’t want a Game 7. They want to end it tonight. Here’s five things to watch as they try to do just that. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Game 6, Lakers,
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