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Mashburn on D&H: ‘No one man’ can beat Celtics 06.14.10 at 5:00 pm ET
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Jamal Mashburn

Jamal Mashburn

Former NBA player and current ESPN NBA analyst Jamal Mashburn appeared on the Dale & Holley show Monday afternoon to discuss the NBA finals, Kobe Bryant, and the coaching matchup and how it has thus far worked in the Celtics’ favor.

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

Is there any way the Lakers lose three straight in the finals?

Well, you know what, it’s possible, if Kobe doesn’t get any help from some of his other supporting cast members, such as Lamar Odom and also Ron Artest on the offensive end. And we can discount Pau Gasol a little bit for his performance, he just had a bad game, but he’s been productive throughout the course of this series. But I think the real factor is the health of Andrew Bynum. … They don’t have any defense, nobody is stopping anybody at the rim. Paul Pierce was having his way with Ron Artest, and it’s going to be awfully difficult, but if anybody can do it and pull it off, it’s the Boston Celtics. They’ve been very good on the road in the regular season as well as in the postseason.

What did you expect after Game 2?

Well, my basketball mind told me that the Los Angeles Lakers would possibly get two out of the three games in Boston. I was sold after Game 3, when Derek Fisher had his performance in the fourth quarter, but then the Celtics just took over, but I did not see this coming. It seemed like the whole series, each game has had a personality of its own. If Boston can put it together, as far as their stars showing up, as far as their bench players showing up, and their defense continues to be stingy, Game 6 looks like theirs for the taking. But I’m awfully nervous when Game 7 comes around and you have Kobe Bryant on your team. And I think the Celtics should look at Game 6 as being their Game 7. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jamal Mashburn, Kobe Bryant
Doc: I like our focus 06.13.10 at 7:57 pm ET
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Every coach likes his team to be focused on the task at hand.

Doc Rivers believes his team spent Sunday in just the right frame of mind, not worried about the fact that win or lose, this will be their final game on the ‘Red Auerbach Parquet’ floor.

“Our guys haven’t talked about that a lot,” Rivers said. “I’ve heard it a lot. I think fans realize we don’t have Games 6 or 7 here so this is our final home game.

“Our guys really are just focused on THE game tonight and I like where our focus is, in this case, over the fans’ focus. I don’t know if players have the chance to look at big picture, or coaches in some ways, and that’s probably good.”

[Doc Rivers believes his team's focus is where it needs to be.]

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Lakers, parquet
Celtics still want to run 06.11.10 at 1:07 pm ET
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Doc Rivers wants his team to look for more fast-break opportunities. (AP)

Doc Rivers wants the Celtics to look for more fast-break opportunities. (AP)

There is still a notion that the Celtics want to force the Lakers into a slow, grind-it-out game that prevents them from running. The second part of that statement is true, but the Celtics would prefer to get out in transition when they can and push the tempo.

“Well, we want that for the Lakers, but we want to run, really,” Doc Rivers said Friday. “We want to get out on the break. I think we have to run. They’re too big. They’re long. So we would like to get out in transition more, but they know that, too, and the two things they’ve done better is even when we’re getting stops, they’re getting back now. And on the first two games we thought we could beat them down the floor, and we did. Now they’re getting back. So we just have to keep getting stops and see how many times we can get [Rajon] Rondo out into transition.”

Rivers also is concerned with what he calls “empty possessions,” when his team fails to execute a set and is forced into a tough shot.

“I don’t mind missed shots, but the last two games we’ve had a ton of empty possessions where we — and we call it random, where we came down and really didn’t establish any flow and never got into a set or an execution, and that’s unlike us,” Rivers said. “That’s the only troublesome thing for me right now with our team, and we have to get out of that because it will come down to a one-possession game. If you keep wasting these possessions it’s going to come back and hurt you. I thought it did in Game 3.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Lakers,
Last run for C’s? Maybe not at 12:40 pm ET
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Throughout the Celtics postseason run, the elephant in the room has been the future of the team’s eight free agents, notably Ray Allen. (Paul Pierce also has a player option for next season).

Doc Rivers noted Friday that the team’s uncertain future has not been a regular topic of concersation in the locker room. “No, we don’t talk about it at all,” Rivers said. “I’ve said that — I said it in the middle of the year. I think hopefully we sign Ray back — I think I can say that. If not, I just got fined.”

Rivers also said that he thinks Kevin Garnett will be better next season as he moves further away from his knee surgery. As for the notion that this is the last run for the Celtics, Rivers disagreed. “We don’t think that,” he said. “I think everyone outside of us, a lot of people do.”

Read More: Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen,
Satch Sanders on D&H: Bench is C’s only edge at 12:40 pm ET
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Satch Sanders

Satch Sanders

Former Celtics player and coach Satch Sanders joined the Dale & Holley show Friday to talk about the NBA finals. To hear the interview, click on the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Sanders said Doc Rivers’ use of his bench in Game 4 Thursday night reminded him of Red Auberbach’s strategy during the Celtics’ dynasty in the 1960s, of which Sanders was a key part.

“It was consistent with Auerbach to use that second unit when games were extremely tight or when we were losing,” said Sanders, who won eight NBA titles as a player and briefly coached the C’s in the late 1970s. “Basically, he’d change that whole group up, and we’d get back in many a game. … That’s a good role to play if you’ve got that kind of bench, and certainly Rivers has that kind of bench, and he’s clearly not afraid to use it.”

Sanders said that because the Celtics and Lakers starters match up so evenly, the bench should decide the series. “Boston has a much deeper bench,” he said. “That’s the only edge that they have.”

As for the referees, Sanders said complaining isn’t worth the players’ time and focus. “Forget about the referees,” he advised. “They have a job to do, but you’d better do yours.”

Sanders will be on hand Monday night at TD Garden for The Tradition, the New England Sports Museum’s annual event honoring area sports legends. He will be there to help present former teammate Jo Jo White with the basketball legacy award.

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Lakers, NBA Finals
Simmons on D&C: Officiating is the headline of finals 06.10.10 at 10:39 am ET
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Bill Simmons

Bill Simmons

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, “Uh 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, “This 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
How Fisher ‘won the game for them’ 06.09.10 at 2:10 am ET
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Rajon Rondo did it in Game 2 and Derek Fisher followed suit in Game 3.

“[He] won the game for them,” Doc Rivers said. “Derek Fisher was the difference in the game.”

After the Lakers watched Rondo dominate the fourth quarter on Sunday night, Fisher scored 11 points in the final 12 minutes of the Lakers 91-84 victory on Tuesday.

Fisher shot five-for-seven during that stretch, an instant improvement from 5-for-16 shooting in the first two games. His late burst included a 3-point play that put the Lakers up seven with less than a minute to go.

“We let Derek Fisher dribble the ball all the way up the court, unattended, get a 3-point play,” said Rivers. “If you get a stop there, we had two timeouts left, three timeouts at the time, we had plenty of time.”

Said Glen Davis, “I think Derek Fisher won the game for them.  He took over the game. [48] seconds left in the game, down by four, our defense … let a guy all the way down the court for a layup, naked. Together as a whole we’ve got to do better.”

Fisher’s domination will undoubtedly be a hot topic of conversation as the Celtics prepare for Game 4, trailing 2-1. It may have burned them in Game 3, but there are lessons to be learned moving forward.

“We’ve got to hang in there,” said Rivers. “It’s not going to be an easy game. None of them are going to be, and that’s what we have to do.”

Read More: Celtics, Derek Fisher, Doc Rivers, Glen Davis
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