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Kobe credits Celtics defense 06.11.10 at 2:20 am ET
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Paul Pierce wouldn’t budge on the effectiveness of Ron Artest‘s defense. Kobe Bryant, though, was more generous with his praise after the Celtics Game 4 victory.

After shooting 10-for-22 for the second time this series, Bryant admitted the Celtics are doing their job on defense.

“They’re a great scheming team,” he said following the Celtics’ 96-89 win. “They have a strategy in place and they execute extremely well. I feel pretty comfortable. Wasn’t pleased with the way I took care of the ball tonight. I thought I did a horrible job of that. But it’s a great defense.”

The Celtics forced seven turnovers on Bryant, the most he committed since May 4 against the Jazz. He entered the game averaging just over three per game.

After the Lakers loss, Bryant denied questions of a tweaked knee or any type of exhaustion. The Celtics defense was simply effective.

Said Bryant, “Oh, it’s right up there with the best of them.”

Read More: Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Lakers, Paul Pierce
Jackson: Bynum playing with pain 06.10.10 at 8:49 pm ET
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Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said that his starting center will try to play through right knee pain in Game 4 of the NBA finals against the Celtics.

“I think he’ll give it a shot and see how he goes from there.” Jackson said. “The big factor is he knows he’s going to be in some kind of discomfort during course of a game. It comes. It goes. He feels sharp pain when he makes a certain move. He understands what it is so it’s not something he gets concerned about doing again.”

[Click here to hear Phil Jackson talk about the pain Bynum is playing through.]

Bynum had the knee drained just before the Finals began and was told by Lakers doctors and trainers to expect discomfort and limited mobility if he chose to play in the series. Bynum has started all three games and played at least 28 minutes in each of the first contests.

Read More: Andrew Bynum, Celtics, Lakers, NBA Finals
Phil to his Lakers: Play above referees at 8:47 pm ET
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With all the talk of Eddie F. Rush officiating Game 4 and Kendrick Perkins one technical away from a one-game suspension, there’s been plenty of talk about the quality of officiating of the 2010 NAB Finals. Lakers coach Phil Jackson said the officiating this Finals series is no more controversial than in other championship series he’s been in.

“I don’t think it’s any hotter than any other Finals I’ve been a part of,” Jackson said. “It’s always contentious. There’s been a little more focus, perhaps, this time. Perhaps, some of it has been undercurrent in the past. What we like to say to the players is you play beyond the refereeing, you play above the refereeing.”

Jackson is coaching in his 13th NBA Finals series and has a 10-2 mark in previous championship series.

[Click here to listen to Jackson explain how his team needs to deal with the officiating.]

Read More: 2010 Finals, Celtics, Lakers, NBA Finals
Rebounding key to rebounding from loss at 8:40 pm ET
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If the Celtics want to rebound from their Game 3 loss, they know they have to rebound in Game 4.

“I think whoever wins the rebounding war wins the game,” said Kendrick Perkins. “That’s how it’s been in the last three games for some reason.”

The Celtics have been outrebounded 124-110 in the first three games of the series, an average of 41 to 37.

They had a five-board edge in their Game 2 victory, but were outrebounded by a total of 19 boards in their Games 1 and 3 losses.

Perkins said the length of the Lakers big men, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, make them tough to defend. Gasol’s versatility to play the power forward also spreads the floor and creates additional defensive challenges for the Celtics.

But the Celtics can win the battle of the boards. They have already proved it in this series. There’s nothing complicated about it, just a matter of going out and doing it.

“I just feel like it’s got to be a team effort,” said Perkins. “Guys have got to come in, make them take contested jumpshots, grab a lot of long rebounds. Our guards come in and they can start the break.

“But I just think when we put our minds together and go out there and do it, I just think with Paul (Pierce) and (Rajon) Rondo and Ray (Allen), they can grab a few rebounds. Then Kevin (Garnett) and myself, we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. Then when the bench comes in, they’ve got to make sure that they rebound also.”

The Celtics know the gameplan. Now they have to execute it.

“It’s just us,” said Glen Davis. “We’ve got to show up tonight. We’ve got to make sure that we do what we have to do.”

Read More: Celtics, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins, Lakers
C’s minority owner could face fine at 4:39 pm ET
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Celtics minority owner Jim Pallotta may be receiving a fine from NBA commissioner David Stern after Pallotta verbally confronted the commissioner with complaints about the Game 3 officiating after the Celtics’€™ 91-84 loss at home, according to a Boston Globe report.

Pallotta reportedly told Stern that the league should be embarrassed by the job its officials are doing. There have been 159 fouls called in the first three games of the NBA finals, with the Celtics outnumbering the Lakers by nine in that category.

Stern has a past of fining owners who criticize NBA officials, most notably Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has doled out as much as $250,000 for his critical comments. Cuban’s comments, though, were made in the public sphere. Pallotta’€™s comments were made to Stern directly, meaning that there is a slight chance that his fine could be for less if there is even a fine at all.

Read More: Celtics, David Stern, Jim Pallotta,
Menino flubs again, criticizes NBA officials at 2:18 pm ET
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Tom Menino is at it again.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Tobin Community Center in Boston Wednesday, the Boston mayor thanked ‘€œDonald Sterns’€ and the NBA instead of David Stern, the actual NBA commissioner. (Click here for the video evidence.) The flub is somewhat defensible, given that Donald K. Stern was the U.S. attorney for the Bay State from 1993 to 2001. It’€™s probable that the mayor simply mixed up his Sterns.

This, however, is the second time in recent memory that Menino has mixed up his sports icons. Last month, at the ceremony commemorating the new Bobby Orr statue in front of the TD Garden, he claimed that Boston sports remember ‘€œVaritek splitting the uprights,’€ rather than Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri, as one of the ‘€œionic’€ moments in Boston sports history.

Earlier in his Wednesday speech, Menino came very close to directly criticizing the much-publicized officiating of this year’€™s NBA finals.

“I’m not saying anything; the commissioner is right behind me,” Menino said, according to a Los Angeles Times piece by Baxter Holmes. But in just saying that, Menino had said enough.

Later in the piece, which can be read in its entirety by clicking here, the mayor talked about the effects a high-foul count has on the game.

“You just can’t take control,” Menino said. “You ruin it for the fans. The referees aren’t supposed to be the show. The players are supposed to be the show, but sometimes the referees want to be the show. That’s unfortunate.”

Eddie F. Rush, Scott Foster and Greg Willard have been announced as the referees for Thursday’€™s Game 4.

Read More: Celtics, David Stern, Thomas Menino,
Simmons on D&C: Officiating is the headline of finals at 10:39 am ET
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ESPN columnist Bill Simmons joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday morning and talked about the quick turnaround from Game 2 in Los Angeles to Game 3 in Boston, the inconsistencies of the officials, and the sloppiness of both teams in the series.

Following are some highlights. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On Game 3:

I was worried about Game 3 because it was 48 hours after Game 2, cross country trip, and it just seemed like, ‘€œUh oh, this is going to be bad.’€ If you look at what happened in the game, Kobe [Bryant] had a bad game, [Paul] Pierce and [Ray] Allen both had bad games, the only old guy who had a good game was [Kevin Garnett] and KG didn’€™t play a lot in Game 2 because he was in foul trouble. My biggest fear about this whole series is that they just wasted an epic KG game and I’€™m not sure how many he has.

On the inconsistency of the officials:

I think for the most part in the finals, the right team is going to win each game. That’€™s what bothered me about Game 3 was basically both teams didn’€™t play well and it came down to officiating. If we’€™ve learned anything from the Celtics team this year, for whatever reason, the officiating determines how they’€™re going to do. ‘€¦ It just seems like so many things are predicated on how the officials decide beforehand, ‘€œThis is what we’€™re going to do tonight.’€

That’€™s my biggest problem with NBA officiating. Why can’€™t they just call it the same way every game? ‘€¦ Should we go to a system where there’€™s just three refs for the entire finals, the same three every game. There just has to be a better solution. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Simmons, Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
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