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Simmons on D&C: Officiating is the headline of finals 06.10.10 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
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.

‘€œ[He] won the game for them,’€ Doc Rivers said. ‘€œDerek 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.

‘€œWe let Derek Fisher dribble the ball all the way up the court, unattended, get a 3-point play,’€ said Rivers. ‘€œIf you get a stop there, we had two timeouts left, three timeouts at the time, we had plenty of time.’€

Said Glen Davis, ‘€œI 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.

‘€œWe’€™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
Doc on Lakers whining: ‘Maybe they do different math’ 06.08.10 at 9:39 pm ET
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Doc Rivers took objection with the complaints of several Lakers following Game 2 after Kobe Bryant was whistled for his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter, limiting his effectiveness in the final period.

“I’m just miffed and amazed how the other team complained about the fouls since we’ve been the team in foul trouble for two games,” Rivers said Tuesday night prior to Game 3. “Maybe they do different math there or something. I don’t get that one.”

In the Game 1 loss to the Lakers, the Celtics had several players with three fouls before halftime and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen each played most of the fourth quarter one foul from disqualification. The Celtics had 28 fouls called on them in Game 1 to 26 for the Lakers. In Game 2, the Lakers actually took 15 more free throw attempts than Boston, 41-26.

Fouls aside, Rivers knows he must keep Kevin Garnett and Pierce on the court at the same time if there’s any hope of finding them rhythm in this series, especially Garnett.

“We just have to keep him on the floor,” Rivers said. “Two of his fouls [from Game 2] were not smart fouls, so he has to do a better job of that. But listen, this is a physical series. Gasol adn Bynum, they’re big adn they’re going to keep attacking, and we just have to figure out a way of keeping them out of foul trouble. It’s huge for us.”

What was just as huge for the Celtics in the wrong direction on Tuesday were the fouls that Pierce and Garnett picked up within the first five minutes of the third quarter.

Pierce picked up his fourth and Garnett his third and the Lakers sensing the kill went immediately to the paint to feed Gasol.

“To win [Game 2] the other night with [Garnett] in foul trouble and Paul not being great offensively, we felt very fortunate,” Rivers said. “We were happy to win, but we have to be better than that.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Lakers, NBA Finals
Video: Celtics Saturday practice 06.05.10 at 8:55 pm ET
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Doc Rivers and Celtics players speak to the media prior to their practice session Saturday at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo. This was the last practice the Celtics will have leading up to Game 2.

Read More: Doc Rivers, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins, NBA Finals
Doc: Defense was ‘horrible’ 06.04.10 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
Doc says C’s ‘are just going to be us’ 05.31.10 at 6:37 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Talk about walking a fine line.

Doc Rivers knows his team – and Kendrick Perkins in particular – needs to do just that to come away with its 18th NBA title when they match up against the Lakers in the next two weeks.

Rivers was told by more than one member of the recently-excused Phoenix Suns that if you plan on carrying through with the directive of Celtics fans everywhere, you better bring your hard hats and be prepared to rebound against the defending NBA champs.

That, of course, means being physical and not backing down. That also means that Kendrick Perkins needs to play with perfectly-controlled fury or risk his seventh technical foul, bringing with it an automatic one-game suspension.

“Our talks [with Perkins] haven’t worked yet, so maybe I should have another one,” Rivers said. “I’m concerned by it, honestly. What I’m concerned by with this is that it’s going to be a physical series. There’s going be guys that get tangled up under the basket, and there are going to be officials who are going to want to clean the game up. Perk may be in that. And the double technical — that’s why I’ve been on the double technical thing for a month now. This double technical thing should not be part of the seven techs, it really shouldn’t be. But it is and it’s a factor. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a factor in this series.”

Perkins, Glen Davis, Kevin Garnett, Shelden Williams and Rasheed Wallace – if healthy – will be called upon to contain Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Didier Ilunga-Mbenga.

“We’re just going to be us,” Rivers said following Monday’s practice. “I don’t know if that’s with any particular person. We’re going to be us and if that’s physical, that’s what we’re going to be.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, Lakers
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