|Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum ‘can be a dominating couple’||02.10.12 at 3:51 pm ET|
BOSTON — He might look like a llama, but he sure doesn’t play like one.
Lakers forward Pau Gasol recorded 25 points and 14 rebounds against the Celtics on Thursday night, but his biggest play of the 88-87 Los Angeles victory came when he blocked Ray Allen‘s put-back attempt off a Paul Pierce miss as the overtime buzzer sounded.
“Probably, for sure,” Gasol said when asked if he thought Allen’s attempt would have sunk the Lakers had he not blocked the shot. “I think he had momentum, he was going to the rim, he’s obviously got amazing touch and I continued to play. I made a big play down the stretch, which could have cost the game.”
The Lakers wouldn’t have been in position to win the game had it not been for Gasol and center Andrew Bynum‘s combined 41 points and 31 rebounds — 20 of which came on the offensive end.
“We try to play hard and dominate every game and be a dominating couple every game,” added Gasol. “I think with our size and our level of skills, we can be. Sometimes we get to do it. Sometimes it doesn’t work both ways, but I think tonight obviously we got a great effort from Andrew. … I was able to be effective, too.”
|Doc Rivers is prepared for all the ‘Jurassic Park’ jokes||at 8:29 am ET|
Usually, even after a gut-punching loss like Thursday night to the Lakers, Doc Rivers can put a positive spin on things.
Such was definitely not the case after his team looked old and slow to loose balls and rebounds in an 88-87 overtime loss at the Garden.
Part of the problem was in the stat sheet where both teams shot 39 percent in a game that had just 11 combined points in the five-minute overtime.
“Listen, both teams shot 39 percent,” Rivers said. “Someone had to win. That’s how it looked. Game looked in slow motion at times. So, I’m sure all the jokes [are out there about] two old teams and Jurassic Park.”
Another issue was the Celtics‘ inability to deal with the Lakers’ size in the front court, as the visitors outrebounded the Green, 55-45.
One bright spot, however, was the defense of Mickael Pietrus on Kobe Bryant for most of the night. Bryant finished with a game-high 27 points but was 11-of-24 from the field and didn’t get a shot off until 2:54 left in the first quarter.
“They’re tough,” Rivers said. “They’re really long. They’re good. I thought we did a pretty good job on Kobe, overall. We mixed up our coverages. I thought every time we did trap, they got an offensive rebound because we’re scrambling as far as our rotations. I thought Pietrus did a phenomenal job on him.”
But oh, those rebounds, loose balls and intangibles when you play a team like the Lakers, even if they’re getting old, too. The Celtics were beaten in the paint, 46-38, and on second-chance points, 24-13.
‘We talked about it before the game: longer teams, you’ve got to go hit them,” Rivers said. “You’ve got to put a body on them. If you think you can just turn and rebound when a guy’s five inches taller than you, it’s not going to happen. I bet they got four or five rebounds where we were actually in the inside position; they just reached over us. But you know, if you drive them back, they can’t get those. Then it’s over your back.’
|Fast Break: Celtics suffer overtime loss to Lakers||02.09.12 at 10:51 pm ET|
The entire OT was a struggle for both teams, so an Andrew Bynum tip-in with 1:29 to play proved the difference. The Lakers outscored the Celtics 6-5 in the extra period.
With a little more than a minute remaining in regulation and the Celtics trailing by one, Allen converted his second 3-pointer of the night to give the Celtics an 82-80 lead as “Beat L.A.” chants rained down from the Garden rafters. But Pau Gasol tied the game with nine seconds remaining, and the final Celtics play before overtime resulted in a wild, failed 30-footer by Mickael PIetrus.
Gasol (25 points, 14 rebounds) and Andrew Bynum (16 points, 17 rebounds) both registered double-doubles, and Kobe Bryant added 27 points for the Lakers (15-11).
Allen’s 22 points led the Celtics (14-11) in scoring, Kevin Garnett (12 points, 12 rebounds) recorded a double-double, and Pierce and Rajon Rondo combined for 32 points and 14 assists. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the C’s.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Spry Bynum: Jermaine O’Neal and the other veteran Boston bigs had trouble with Lakers 24-year-old center Andrew Bynum‘s youth and athleticism. A healthy Bynum is a dangerous Bynum, as the 7-footer nearly had a double-double by halftime. In fact, Doc Rivers turned to Chris Wilcox for a stretch — his first extended minutes with the Big Four.
Board room: Along similar lines, the Lakers size exploited an issue that’s plagued the Celtics this season — namely, rebounding. Bynum, Gasol and old friend Troy Murphy of all people corralled 40 rebounds as the Lakers out-boarded the Celtics, 55-45. Uncharacteristically, Rondo didn’t record a rebound until there was three minutes to play.
Backing up the point: With Keyon Dooling still sidelined and a suited up Avery Bradley considered doubtful before the game, Rivers could only turn to E’Twaun Moore for backup point guard minutes behind Rondo. Moore played four first-half minutes and registered a minus-8, so the Celtics had no choice but to play Rondo 40-plus minutes.
|Larry Bird on Danny Ainge’s willingness to trade Celtics greats, the death of Len Bias and his love for Kobe Bryant||02.07.12 at 1:31 pm ET|
By now, you’ve heard Celtics president Danny Ainge‘s version of the trades Red Auerbach supposedly turned down for Larry Bird and Kevin McHale in the twilight of their careers — and how it relates to the current Big Three’s trade availability.
The story goes that the Pacers offered Chuck Person, Herb Williams and Steve Stipanovich in exchange for Bird while the Mavericks proposed a deal for McHale involving Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins. According to Ainge, Auerbach refused both.
But, in an interview with Grantland’s Bill Simmons on the B.S. Report, Bird remembers it differently.
“I was there with Danny and Red and McHale the day we were talking about that,” Bird told Simmons. “The one thing that Danny threw in there was players’ names. The whole time I was in Boston I never heard Red mention any other players on other teams. I heard him talking about draft picks, but I never heard anything about, ‘Larry, I can trade you for this, this and this.’ He just never did that.”
|Paul Pierce: ‘I’m probably at about 83.7 percent’||01.28.12 at 12:47 am ET|
After totaling 52 points, 18 assists and 16 rebounds in consecutive wins against the Magic and Pacers, Celtics captain Paul Pierce discussed the improving health of the sore right heel that kept him out of training camp.
Pierce’s recent hot stretch raises his career total to 21,676 points, just 115 behind Pacers president Larry Bird for second on the C’s all-time scoring list. There’s at least a chance Pierce could achieve the mark in seven games (if not sooner) against the Lakers in Boston on Feb. 9. Of course, you’ll remember Allen set the NBA’s all-time 3-point record against Kobe Bryant & Co. in the Garden last season.
|Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo ‘frustrating,’ says Shaq||11.08.11 at 12:45 pm ET|
Jackie MacMullan’s latest, “Shaq Uncut: My Story,” co-written with Shaquille O’Neal, hits bookstores on Nov. 15. Excerpts about Shaq’s tenures in Los Angeles, Cleveland, Miami and Boston have already leaked.
We know about his claims that he told Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge he would never return from the Achilles injury, that he almost punched Glen “Big Baby” Davis for being selfish and that he believed Nate Robinson‘s obsession with Twitter put him in Doc Rivers‘ doghouse.
We also know that everything Shaq claims should be taken with a grain of salt, so keep that in mind when you read the following revelations, as relayed by the Herald’s Dan Duggan on Twitter.
- Shaq said he was really interested in [Rajon] Rondo. Said Rondo was always a topic of convos. Very stubborn and won’t change.
- Vets told Shaq how important but frustrating Rondo was. Vets liked when Rondo would get put in his place b/c he ticked them off at times.
- Shaq did say Rondo earned the respect of the Big 3 by his defense and passing. Rondo and Doc had “respectful beefs” over plays/decisions.
- Shaq said Baby drove Doc crazy. No surprise there. Said KG [Kevin Garnett] wouldn’t confront Baby; KG has mellowed later in his career.
- Shaq said practices were very competitive. [Von] Wafer–Delonte [West] wasn’t the only skirmish.
- Shaq said he told Danny not to do Perk [Kendrick Perkins] trade b/c he didn’t know if he’d be back. Said trade was strictly biz. C’s weren’t going to pay Perk.
- Shaq said KG’s legs/knees were all screwed up last season. Said Ray [Allen] is a future GM, already like a front office guy. [Paul] Pierce is the leader.
- Shaq had very high praise for Doc, positive memories of Boston.
- Shaq also blatantly admits to manipulating the media/public. Says he made up a story about Bill Russell brokering peace w/ Kobe [Bryant] in 2006.
- Shaq shook Kobe’s hand before the game and when asked said Russell told him to do it. Said he made that up to boost Russell’s legacy.
- One last thing from Shaq’s chapter on Boston is how misleading the Celtics were on his injury.
|10 Things I Heard About Celtics VIII||10.17.11 at 2:02 pm ET|
On another slow Celtics news day, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 more C’s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (‘10 Things I Heard About Celtics’ I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII).
“Rondo, by the way, is outstanding,” UK head coach John Calipari recently said. “I mean this guy, he is working ‘¦ and I told him, and I told Nazr Mohammed the same thing: When they are done if they want to come back and join this staff and finish up their degrees, they are welcome. They are great young people who want other people around them to get better and they are not afraid to share their knowledge and their experiences.”
Even C’s coach Doc Rivers showed up to watch his son Austin Rivers at Duke’s first official practice. Doc hasn’t abandoned his own Alma mater, as he is a member of the search committee for Marquette’s new AD.
Rivers’ respite from the golf course won’t last long, as he will join a slew of PGA Tour stars and former Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon in the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic pro-am. Welcome to the NBA lockout, ladies and gentlemen.
9. After totaling almost as many fouls (5) as points (7) in his losing debut for Italian team Benetton Treviso, Celtics second-round draft pick E’Twaun Moore bounced back in Game 2, totaling 11 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 23 minutes during an 85-84 victory. He started both games.
To put his performance in perspective, Moore’s averages through two games (9.0 PTs, 4.0 PFs, 4.0 REB, 1.0 AST and 1.0 STL in 27.5 MIN) compare less than favorably to BT teammate Brian Scalabrine (12.0 PTs, 3.5 REB, 3.0 AST, 2.5 PFs and 0.5 STL in 31.5 MIN). So, tame your Moore excitement.
Meanwhile, C’s backup point guard Avery Bradley is scheduled to make his Hapoel Jerusalem debut on Monday.
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