|Big Baby: Game 7 makes for long summer||06.18.10 at 7:50 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — Was the tank on empty? It was the same question asked after Game 7 against Orlando in 2009. And it’s a question that could linger with the Celtics all summer long after dropping the seventh and decisive game to the Lakers Thursday night at Staples Center.
The Celtics had built leads of 23-14 after one quarter, 40-34 at halftime and 57-53 going into the final period.
But the Celtics were outscored 30-22. And it’s the 30 points that most Celtics pointed to afterward as the real reason for the loss.
“Close is not enough,” summed up Glen Davis. “You’ve got to win it. This is the way it is. Someone else has to lose and it sucks. It’s how you look at it. It’s how you bounce back. I don’t know what’s going on with who’s coming back [next season]. But I’ll be ready when training camp comes around.”
Davis did acknowledge the play of one Laker in particular – Ron Artest. The forward burned the Celtics in Game 7 for 20 points, including a dagger of a 3 with just over a minute left that put the Lakers up six. He also ripped the ball from Davis’ own hands on a loose ball rebound with just under two minutes remaining and the Celtics down one possession.
“Artest was the difference in the game,” Davis said. “He wanted it. He took it from us.”
In the end, like everyone else in green, the next three months could be very difficult to stomach.
“It’s going to be a a long summer because of this. But, like I said, somebody has to lose and you have to take the approach in a positive way and look forward to next year.”
|Celtics video: C’s react to loss||at 7:12 am ET|
|The thing about Gasol||06.14.10 at 11:27 pm ET|
But there’s more than just a long frame and outside shot that separates Gasol from other big men around the league.
‘He’s seven-foot with skills,’ Kendrick Perkins told WEEI.com.
The Barcelona, Spain native honed his skills playing international basketball, where assists are applauded just as loudly as dunks and the emphasis is placed on the team, not just the individual. His international accolades include winning a gold medal and MVP honors in the 2009 EuroBasket tournament and a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics.
‘The thing about international big men is they’re kind of like guards,’ Perkins said. ‘They’ve got a lot of crafty things in their game. Like they could maybe face you up and try to cross you over. They can handle the ball a little bit better, I think, and they’ve got a lot of guard things in their game. ‘¦ When you’ve got a big man from the United States or wherever it may be, growing up we learn more dunks and stuff like that. They learn everything.’
The versatility promoted in Gasol’s international experiences has made him a threat both inside and away from the basket. He is averaging nearly 19 points and 10 rebounds per game in the NBA finals. Even though he had an off-night in the Celtics Game 5 victory (5-12 FG, 12 points), the C’s know he is capable of being a game-changer, especially when the Lakers season is on the line.
‘He’s arguably one of the – he might be the best player on getting a bucket on the block,’ said Perkins. ‘He’s got a mixture. He’s got right, left-hand jump hook. He can take you off the dribble. He’s got a nice jumper, so in his game, he’s got a mixture of everybody [in the league].’
Added Glen Davis, ‘He’s more coordinated, he can do a little bit of everything. That’s the European ball, they kind of thrive on that, being big perimeter guys, guys that can shoot on the corner. He gives you a different match up.’
The Celtics recognize the differences in Gasol’s game that makes him stand out in the league. It’s their job to make sure he doesn’t stand out in Game 6.
|Celtics video: Inside the locker room||at 1:48 am ET|
|Odom: ‘We have quickness and size’ to cover C’s||06.12.10 at 11:16 pm ET|
The Celtics do have Kevin Garnett but the they don’t use him like the Suns used Amar’e Stoudamire on the pick and roll.
And the Celtics don’t score between 110 and 120 points in every playoff game like the Suns.
In other words, Odom, despite Thursday’s loss in Game 4 at TD Garden, still likes his team’s chances for being able to cover everything the Celtics could throw at them.
“We have the quickness and the size to defend this team,” Odom said. “If we communicate, we’ll be alright. It wasn’t like they scored 125 points or anything like that.”
Time will tell if those words are enough to bring out more masks or spark more chants directed at his wife Khloe Kardashian.
Odom can’t control that but he, like Bynum before him, said the Lakers need to control Glen Davis and Nate Robinson better. The pair, before their Shrek and Donkey routine after Game 4, combined to score 30 points off the bench.
“Even with Glen Davis getting going and a couple of their other guys getting going, it wasn’t a barn-burner for them offensively,” Odom said.
|UPDATE: Robinson brings Shrek and Donkey to twitter||06.11.10 at 2:51 pm ET|
After referring to himself and Glen Davis as “Shrek and Donkey” following their Game 4 heroics, Nate Robinson has taken their new nicknames to Twitter. Check out the pictures he used throughout the day Friday and be sure to follow him (@nate_robinson).
|Three things that went right and wrong in Game 4||06.10.10 at 11:56 pm ET|
The NBA finals are once again tied after the Celtics defeated the Lakers, 96-89, in Game 4 on Thursday night. (Recap.) The Celtics had six scorers in double figures, led by 18 from Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who was dominant down the stretch, and 19 from captain Paul Pierce. Game 5 is Sunday night back at TD Garden.
THREE THINGS THAT WENT RIGHT
Sparkplugs off the bench: One’s called Big Baby and the other looks like, well, a baby on the floor, but supersubs Glen Davis and Nate Robinson certainly didn’t play like their labels Thursday night. The duo combined for 30 points, but it was the pure energy each provided for the C’s off the bench in the fourth quarter that helped the team to victory. One of the greatest video clips from Game 4 was Davis slobbering with Robinson on his back after Davis made a layup on which he was fouled. That one play electrified the TD Garden crowd and pushed the C’s towards an incredible run in the final quarter, in which Boston outscored the Lakers, 36-27.
Rebounds, rebounds, rebounds: Boston found a way to win again because they were able to keep the Lakers big men off the boards. After being outrebounded 43-35 in Game 3, the Celtics won the battle down low 41-33 in their win in Game 4. All five starters had more than five boards, and Davis added five of his own with four of those coming on the offensive end. By winning the rebounding battle, the C’s were able to take away the size advantage that the Lakers utilized perfectly in their wins in Games 1 and 3.
Paul Pierce’s play in the first quarter: Pierce was the only member of the Big Four without a truly dominating performance in any of the first three games, and several of his critics had said that he needed to step it up if the team was going to succeed. Pierce held up his end of the bargain by going off for 10 points in the first frame while the offense undeniably went through him. The rest of the team managed only nine during that time.
THREE THINGS THAT WENT WRONG
Poor first-half shooting: The C’s had more than their fair share of quality shots in the first half but shot just 41 percent from the field. The C’s missed several open jumpers and even some layups. Those misses translated into just 42 first-half points and a three-point deficit that could have been much larger had the Lakers not had their own offensive struggles.
Allowing Kobe to hit some big 3’s in the third quarter: There was a time in the third that it seemed like Kobe Bryant just couldn’t miss from behind the arc. The C’s were giving him just enough room to pull the trigger, and that’s something you simply cannot do against Bryant. He was 5-for-6 at one point from deep and seemed to be in place to endanger Ray Allen‘s finals record for 3-pointers in a game. He eventually cooled, but the three-straight 3’s he made to close out the quarter allowed the Lakers to stay ahead going into the fourth.
Timing could have been everything: Although they certainly didn’t affect the outcome, Rasheed Wallace and Nate Robinson both had ill-timed technical fouls in the fourth quarter. Wallace’s technical came after the team had garnered an eight-point lead in the fourth. It very well could have sucked away all the momentum the team had gathered over the previous two minutes and change. Robinson’s T two minutes later threatened to do the same thing. If the C’s want to continue to thrive in the final stanza, they cannot pick up potential game-changing T’s in close games.