|5 Things that Went Wrong in Game 7||06.18.10 at 12:07 am ET|
The Celtics lost Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Thursday night, 83-79, falling short of their 18th championship. Here are five things that went wrong in the deciding game. (Click here for a recap of the Celtics’ loss.)
1. The Celtics gave it away - The Celtics were in control. They had the momentum and the confidence to get it done ‘¦ before they let it all slip away. The Celtics led by 10 with seven minutes to go in the third quarter and had taken away the Lakers biggest weapon. But they began to miss shots and the Lakers were there to grab the rebounds. The C’s scored just three points in the final four minutes of the quarter and only led by four going into the final 12 minutes. The Lakers immediately got within two points seconds into the fourth, while the Celtics did not score for nearly three minutes. Bryant made three free throws to cut the Celtics advantage to one, and banked another two minutes later to give the Lakers the lead. Bryant scored four consecutive points to pull the Lakers ahead by four with 5:22 left, and they never looked back. The Celtics played catch up for the rest of the game as Bryant, Ron Artest, and Pau Gasol made critical baskets.
2. Kobe Bryant - The Celtics have battled past superstars the entire postseason, each time prevailing with team basketball. But after defeating Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard, they could not overcome the individual performance of Kobe Bryant. The Celtics held Bryant to just eight points (3-14 FG) in 22 minutes in the first half. When Bryant began to find his rhythm, though, the C’s failed to find an answer. Bryant scored 15 points in the second half, including four straight to tie the game and give the Lakers the lead with less than six minutes left. He finished the night with 23 points. It wasn’t his best offensive performance, but he made the shots when it counted.
3. Rebounding – The Celtics have said the entire series that the team that wins the rebounding war wins the game. On Thursday, they won neither. The Lakers outrebounded the Celtics, 53-40, including 23 offensive boards. This can’t be pinned on the injury of Kendrick Perkins, either. He alone doesn’t account for a 13-rebound differential. The Celtics had players capable of rebounding, but in the end, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant combined for 33 boards while only Paul Pierce rebounded in double-digits for the C’s. Kevin Garnett, who the Celtics desperately needed defensively, grabbed just three rebounds.
4. Ray Allen - His monumental 3-point performance is all but forgotten after Ray Allen’s offensive struggles continued through Game 7. Allen shot just 3-for-14 from the field and scored 13 points. While he deserves credit for playing tough D on Bryant, his lack of production at the basket hurt the Celtics in a situation where they needed everyone scoring at full potential.
5. They Played Lakers Ball - The Celtics dominated the first half by feeding off their fundamentals of tough defense and team basketball. In the second half, however, it became showtime for Bryant and the Lakers. The Celtics failed to put together productive offensive possessions, rushed shots, and attempted forced baskets. In the end, they were forced to put the Lakers at the line, where they were outscored 25-15. They C’s began the season by beating the Cavaliers in Cleveland with Celtics basketball, and ended it by losing to the Lakers in Los Angeles by falling victim to their opponent’s game.
|Sheed gets the starting call||06.17.10 at 8:13 pm ET|
“He’s old. I figured I’d play the oldest guys,” Rivers joked of the 35-year-old Wallace before giving a serious explanation. “I just think it’s a good combination with Kevin [Garnett] because of the size, with Bynum’s size. I just think it’s a better fit for us.
“It also may give [Rajon] Rondo a chance to get loose early because of the spacing on the floor.”
The decision to go with a taller lineup against Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol also means that Glen Davis will come off the bench. Otherwise, Rivers doesn’t expect many other changes with the loss of Perkins to two torn ligaments in his right knee in Game 6.
“We’re not going to change a lot. We could, and if the game dictates that we need to do that, we’re ready to do it. But we’re not going to recreate the wheel tonight. We’re going to be basically who we’ve been. Not having Perk, we may have to do it a little different, but not much.”
[Click here to listen to Doc Rivers explaining his move to start Rasheed Wallace for the injured Kendrick Perkins.]
|Ainge on The Big Show: ‘Our guys will be ready to go’||06.16.10 at 7:35 pm ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge called into The Big Show Wednesday afternoon and the topic of the day was the status of starting center Kendrick Perkins and what kind of impact his injury will have on Game 7. To listen to the full interview, click on The Big Show audio on demand page.
‘Obviously, we’d like to have Perk [be] healthy,’ Ainge said. ‘He’s a big part of our team defense, but I think that Glen Davis and Rasheed [Wallace] can carry the mail for us at the center position.’
The way that Ainge read Game 6 was as though the Lakers were just better prepared for the matchup. ‘I guess it’s like a boxing match and one team comes out and attacks. [The other team] didn’t come out prepared for that attack,’ he said.
‘You try to counter it, and we just weren’t able to. I thought they did a good job. Our guys were ready to play, but the Lakers came on all cylinders. They were making shots early and they just carried it throughout the course of the game. They got a great deal of confidence going and the bench came in and made all their shots. We could never stop that momentum. You’ve got to give the Lakers credit.’
When asked what Rasheed Wallace will have to do to make up for the loss of Perkins in the starting lineup in Game 7, Ainge said that the whole bench would need to step up and play smart. ‘Yeah, it’s a different role. Playing the starter’s role and then playing what he’s been playing for us off the bench in the playoffs is completely different. We need a different Rasheed. Read the rest of this entry »
|Celtics video: Perkins on knee injury||at 6:20 pm ET|
|Perk: ‘I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me’||at 5:16 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — When Kendrick Perkins was asked how he was feeling on Wednesday after getting the word from doctors that his season ended when he went down in the paint with 5:30 left in the first quarter, he responded with a question of his own.
“Physically, or mentally?” Perkins replied.
That response indicated just how painful Tuesday night’s season ending knee injury was to the Celtics starting center.
Perkins then elaborated that he tore his MCL and suffered a partial tear of another ligament in his right knee in Game 6 and will not play in Game 7 Thursday.
“Physically, I’m in pain,” Perkins announced. “I hurt my knee pretty badly. I’m out for [Thursday]. There’s nothing I can do about it.
“Torn MCL and a torn PCL, so got to watch from the sideline. I’d be lying to you if I told you it didn’t hurt, but it hurts. Game 7 of the finals, Game 6 of the finals, couldn’t help your team. Can’t do nothing but sit on the side and encourage guys to play better and play well. I’ll probably never get this opportunity again to even make it back to the finals. Physically I’m doing better than I am mentally.”
Had last night’s injury occured in the middle of the season, Perkins would not have even made the finals.
“Last night, pretty sure that I wasn’t going to play,” Perkins said. “But [Wednesday] morning, it was like, you’re out. That’s what it was, ‘You’re out.’ He told me if it was in December that if I had hurt my knee in December I probably would have missed the remainder of the season. So that tells you what it’s like.”
Perkins, who said he had yet to have an MRI on the knee, made the announcement himself as he met with the media on Wednesday afternoon at Staples Center. Perkins said he expects to have an MRI on Friday when the team arrives back in Boston.
Perkins injured his right knee in a collision with Andrew Bynum under the Lakers basket midway through the first quarter.
“Game 7 of the finals, Game 6 of the finals, couldn’t help your team, can’t really do nothing but sit on the sidelines and encourage guys to play better and play well,” Perkins said.
Perkins knew immediately that something was seriously wrong when he hit the floor.
“I knew something was wrong,” he said. “I didn’t know what it was. I couldn’t get up on my own. I couldn’t walk. My whole leg was hurting. The back of my knee was hurting, in pain. I heard something pop. I didn’t know what it was, but it was pain.”
Perkins decided to come out and meet with the media, something he didn’t necessarily have to do considering the emotional and physical pain he’s dealt with since going down in Game 6.
“It’s the finals,” Perkins said. “Last practice of the season, last game of the season, you kind of just want to be with your teammates and coaches, just be around the guys, especially after a tough loss like last night where you just kind of want to be around, just get that family feeling. You know, you don’t want to be in your room all day by yourself.
“I know when we lose, we always say when we get to the locker room, we feel a lot better when we get around each other. So I just felt like I needed to be around.”
The more Perkins talked, he sounded like a parent who didn’t want his children to get distracted by his own misfortune.
“It was hard [Tuesday] night,” Perkins said. “I think my teammates, coaches, the whole Celtics organization has been great supporting me. But it’s hard because you have a lot of people asking me, ‘How are you feeling and get better and things like that, at the same time, it’s not about me. We’re trying to win a championship. It’s not about me and I don’t want the focus to be on me from my teammates or nobody. I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. We have a game to win.
“I just want them to stay focused on the game. I’m going to be alright. It’s an important game coming up. I appreciate my teammates and coaches and their concerns. It’s not about me. This is about winning a title.”
“Very confident,” Perkins said of his thoughts going into Game 7. “I think we’re in pretty good shape. I like the way our film session went. A lot of positive criticism so it went well. I think we’re going to be alright [Thursday].
Lamar Odom said he’s expecting nothing less than the best from Perkins’ replacements.
“You know, it’s funny, I was sitting on the bench, and they got Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett on the court at the same time, and those guys have had great careers,” Odom said. “Glen Davis is a fighter, as well. I mean, their team is still really competitive. Of course, any time you lose anyone, especially at this time of the year but it happens. It’s something we have to go through as a team. I just wish him well.”
Perkins had one more word for his teammates.
“No regrets, no regrets tomorrow,” he said. “It’s the last game year, period. There’s no more games. You don’t want any more regrets after the game. I think the biggest thing is we have to be together.”
WEEI.com’s Joe Zarbano has the video of Perkins from Staples Wednesday afternoon.
|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.
|Title wave will be a Green energy transfer||at 12:06 pm ET|
Now comes the hard part.
The Celtics, after dropping Game 3 on their home court, have crept to within one win of their 18th title by taking advantage of the incredible energy inside TD Garden. But if they are to raise yet another banner to the rafters in the fall, they’re going to have to get it done in the hostile environment of Staples Center.
Kendrick Perkins said the key to transferring the momentum and energy of the TD Garden crowd to Los Angeles will be mental toughness.
“It’s all mental,” Perkins said. “I think we have to go out there and take their crowd out of it early. We can’t let them get energy going in the building. I think it’s got to be all mental. There are going to be times where they make runs and their crowd may get involved in the game and it may get loud in there. But we have to make sure we have to keep our composure and just keep going, keep attacking.”
While their 24-17 regular season home record was tied with Miami and Chicago as worst among the 16 playoff teams, the playoffs have been a different story.
The Celtics won six of their first seven at the Garden in the opening three rounds, and went 7-2 at home to advance to the NBA finals. They dropped Game 3, 91-84 to the Lakers but came back to win Games 4 and 5 to finish 9-3 at home in the playoffs.
While it was not the 13-1 mark they had on the parquet in their 2008 title run, the energy in TD Garden the last two games clearly helped the Celtics. And they were quick to point that out after the game.
“The energy in the building really feeds our defensive intensity,” Tony Allen said. “We all feel it.”
Now, the Celtics need to find a way to replace that energy with focus.
“Mental toughness,” Allen added. “Guys staying together and knowing what our goal is and everybody knowing what their role is when we get down there. And I think that’ll get the win.”
Ray Allen remembered 2008 after Game 5 Sunday night. Those finals ended with a celebration on the parquet. But if the Celtics can win once more, this celebration will be just as sweet.
“That’s the beautiful thing about this whole situation,” Allen said. “The circumstances that have been before us all playoffs long. We never had home court advantage except for the first round. We had to win on the other team’s floor. We talked about what team we’re going to play in the first round. I remember sitting in the locker room and we’re watching Miami and Milwaukee play and we’re talking about where we want to go.
“It seemed like so long ago. At the same time, we had to beat Miami on their home floor, we had to beat everybody on their floor in order for us to advance. We’ve been in this position before. I think the guys mentally are ready for it. We’ll get prepared and get ready to get it done.”
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