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What Ray Allen needs to ‘learn real quick’ 06.04.10 at 6:10 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES – Throughout the postseason, players have studied Ray Allen’s game to learn how to defend the veteran sharpshooter.

Now Allen has his own assignment – finding a way to stop Kobe Bryant without getting into foul trouble.

Allen was whistled for five fouls in the Celtics Game 1 loss. He was limited to just 27 minutes and knows he has to stay on the court in Game 2.

“That’s a good lesson that I need to learn real quick,” he said prior to practice on Friday. “Because even on a couple of calls … I try to read the referees and how they call the games and they establish control early, so trying to figure that out without being a sieve on defense. Right now I’ve got to make that adjustment going into Game 2.”

Bryant scored a game-high 30 points on Thursday night. He shot 10-for-22 from the field and 9-for-10 from the line, a result of his aggressiveness at the basket.

“He just attacks,” said Allen. “He’s going to attack our defense, but I think primarily if he’s attacking that means he sees gaps.”

Whatever game plan Allen and the Celtics devise, Bryant is preparing for it.

“It’s not really a match up with me and Ray,” he said. “It’s really me trying to find gaps and holes in their defensive scheme and the help they provide.”

Read More: Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Lakers, NBA
Snoop Dogg bets Mark Wahlberg on Celtics-Lakers at 1:09 pm ET
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Actor Mark Wahlberg, a Boston native, is a big Celtics fan (although probably not as big as his brother Donnie, who was a guest of The Big Show Thursday at the Staples Center). Mark accepted a bet from legendary rapper (and Los Angeles-area native) Snoop Dogg on the NBA finals. The loser will donate $20,000 to the winner’s favorite charity. Here’s Snoop Dogg talking about the bet.

Read More: Celtics, Lakers, Mark Wahlberg, Snoop Dogg
Report: Hornets give Thibodeau more time to decide at 7:20 am ET
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According to an ESPN report, the New Orleans Hornets decided to give Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau at least one more day to accept their offer to be their head coach. The report says the Hornets offered Thibodeau the position last week, but Thibodeau did not accept by Thursday’s deadline, one day after he interviewed with the Chicago Bulls. Thibodeau also reportedly interviewed with the New Jersey Nets earlier in the week. New Orleans is said to be ready to offer its job to Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams if Thibodeau does not commit soon.

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Hornets, Tom Thibodeau
Doc: Defense was ‘horrible’ at 2:40 am ET
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LOS ANGELES -For a defensive-minded team, the Celtics didn’t look like one in their Game 1 loss to the Lakers.

“It was horrible,” Doc Rivers said of the C’s defense following the game. “I thought we hugged up on guys all night. That wasn’t our defense tonight, I can tell you that. Give them credit, they moved the ball, they spaced the floor very well. But we didn’t shrink the floor at all tonight.”

The Celtics were outrebounded 42-31, including 30-23 on the offensive glass. Pau Gasol finished the night with 14 rebounds, while it was Paul Pierce, not Kendrick Perkins or Kevin Garnett, who led the Celtics with nine.

“In the first half, it made the bigs look bad because they were getting offensive rebounds. But it wasn’t the bigs’ fault,” said Rivers. “It was the guards dribbling down the middle of the lane. Our bigs have to help. They miss a shot and their bigs get an offensive rebound. They didn’t control the dribble at all. Before the game we told them the key to the game was rebounding, dribble penetration. We stop those two things, we’ll be in good shape. But we didn’t do either one.”

There are few second chances in the NBA playoffs, and the Celtics didn’t give themselves any. They were outscored 16-0 on second chance points, which correlated into a 48-30 deficit in the paint.

While Rivers believes it was the play of the Lakers guards that hurt the Celtics on second chance points more than their effort, his players are not letting themselves off easy.

“Our intensity [was missing],” said Kendrick Perkins. “Our energy level on both ends has been high throughout the playoffs. I think we were missing just our intensity. Our energy wasn’€™t there. We hung our heads a lot, we didn’€™t attack, we fouled every time down tonight. So I just think we’€™ve got to, first thing, stick together and bounce back in Game 2. We’€™ve got to go back, watch film, and come back down to earth and do what we do that got us here. We’€™ve got to get back to our roots, come back down to earth, and get back to doing the little things.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, Lakers
Finals have a different feeling 06.03.10 at 8:58 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES –  It has only been two years since the Celtics suited up for Game 1 of the 2008 NBA finals. The majority of the faces are the same, but what about the feeling?

‘€œI wasn’€™t really nervous Game 1 of the Finals. I’€™m not really nervous right now,’€œ said Rajon Rondo. ‘€œIt’€™s kind of hard to tell right now until the lights actually go on and there’€™s two minutes left ticking down. Right now it’€™s no big deal, it’€™s the same thing.’€

The emotions are different this time around. In 2008, the Celtics were suddenly thrust from the lottery to the finals after acquiring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. This season, they know what it takes to win it all and are trying to recreate the success they achieved two years earlier.

‘€œI think we’€™re more poised than we were last time. I think that’€™s the biggest difference. I don’€™t think the stage is as big a deal as the game plan. We’€™re more focused on the game plan than the finals,’€ said Brian Scalabrine.

‘€œIt’€™s the second time around, we’€™ve been there. We’€™ve done it before and there’€™s nothing really that surprises you. We know it’€™s going to be crowded out there, we know media day is going to be crazy, we didn’€™t know any of that. The intensity of this team in ’08 was different. It was a more high-strung team, we’€™re much more laidback. That’€™s not a bad thing. We can compartmentalize better than we did in ’08.’€

Doc Rivers is prepared either way.

‘€œIn some ways we have the same starters, but the bench is completely different,’€ he said. ‘€œFor some of the guys, this is their first time around. So you have to kind of watch their emotions. And even some of the guys who were on the bench last year, the last time when they were not in the rotation as much. Then in a lot of ways, it’€™s their first time. ‘€¦ We’€™ve got a veteran group, so we know what we’€™re in store for.’€

Read More: Brian Scalabrine, Celtics, Doc Rivers, Lakers
Rondo’s new challenge at 8:34 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES – Derek Fisher has been in the NBA for 14 years, but he still poses new challenges for Rajon Rondo.

In the previous two rounds of the playoffs, Rondo has been matched up with younger point guards in Jameer Nelson and Mo Williams. Even though 35-year-old Fisher may not be as quick, he can create problems for Rondo that he has yet to encounter this postseason.

‘€œHe’€™s smarter,’€ Rondo said prior to Game 1. ‘€œI think he’€™s been to seven finals so this is probably the same old story for him. He’€™s probably going to play like this is his last, but Derek’€™s a veteran. Like I said, he’€™s very smart and he’€™s a unique player, so I have to be aware of his tricks he may try to throw at me, some of his veteran moves he may have to draw fouls against me or whatever it may be.’€

Fisher’s basketball IQ will keep Rondo on his toes throughout the series. The combination of his skill and intelligence has Rondo on the alert.

‘€œYou can’€™t underestimate Derek,” he said. “He definitely can shoot the 3, you can’€™t lose sight of Derek, and he draws fouls. He shoots 99 percent from the line so he’€™s not an easy match up. He’€™s a tough match up.”

Read More: Celtics, Derek Fisher, Lakers, Rajon Rondo
Big Papi breaks down the NBA finals 06.02.10 at 11:30 pm ET
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Big Papi is also a big Celtics fan. When he isn’€™t working in the batter’€™s box, David Ortiz enjoys watching the C’€™s work toward another championship.

‘€œI’€™m all the way with the Celtics,’€ he said.

Ortiz believe the Celtics have what it takes to win it all against the Lakers. He offered up his NBA finals analysis, including why he thinks Paul Pierce is the key to the Celtics success, how Kevin Garnett pumps him up, and what makes the C’€™s a ‘€œteam.’€

Ortiz on’€¦

Kevin Garnett: ‘€œKG is a monster down there. KG, he puts everybody in the mood. When he’€™s [trash talking] people out there and getting mad, that pumps me up. That even gets me ready to play baseball. I love it. I love it. I’€™m telling you, when I see KG doing that, I want to jump on the court and [kick butt] with him. It’€™s not a secret that his game is something else.’€

Paul Pierce: ‘€œI believe that Pierce has got to keep his game up the way he’€™s been doing it [for the Celtics to win]. ‘€¦ I want Pierce to stay where he’€™s at, scoring those 25, 30 points.’€

Rajon Rondo: ‘€œRondo’€™s fine in his game. I’€™m not worried about Rondo.’€

Kendrick Perkins: ‘€œMy man the center, Perkins, keep on [kicking butt]. Clean it out down there (in the paint). Don’€™t let anybody get in there.’€

Ray Allen: ‘€œI don’€™t worry about Allen. He’€™s shooting the [heck] out of the ball. That’€™s a game that you know is going to be there because he’€™s been hot as hell. I don’€™t know how he does it. He’€™s been shooting some balls with everybody on top of him.’€

Glen Davis: ‘€œBig Boy, I’€™m watching his game all the time. ‘€¦ He’€™s just awesome. I love watching him down there hustling and doing his thing.’€

The bench: ‘€œThe bench is unbelievable, too. When those guys (the starters) take a break, it’€™s like they’€™re still in because those guys on the bench, they come out and get it done. That’€™s a team, that’€™s a team. That’€™s what I call a team. So I’€™m cheering for them big time.’€

Key to victory: ‘€œThey’€™ve got everything. First of all, everybody’€™s healthy to begin with. The games have been unbelievable. They just have to increase the defense just a little bit more, just a little tiny bit. Not anything crazy because their defense has been great too, just a little more and that’€™s about it, it’€™s an easy win.’€

Read More: Celtics, David Ortiz, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins
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