|Pierce to LA fans: ‘We ain’t coming back’||06.07.10 at 6:35 am ET|
Lakers center Pau Gasol made some comments about Kevin Garnett over the weekend that some people tried to turn into inspiration for the Celtics. Now it’s Paul Pierce‘s turn for some locker room bulletin board material. During the closing seconds of the C’s Game 2 win Sunday night, as Pierce helped up teammate Kendrick Perkins, he appeared to say, “We ain’t coming back [to LA].” If the Celtics were to win (or, for that matter, lose) the next three games in Boston, the series would be over without the Lakers hosting another game.
It should be noted that after Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in Orlando, Pierce made a similar proclamation, saying “See y’all next year,” as he walked to the locker room, after an interview with ESPN sideline reporter Doris Burke in which he said, “We’re coming home to close it out.” That proved to be inaccurate, as the Magic pushed the series to six games.
Here’s the clip of the Sunday night comment, which became a hot topic overnight on message boards across the country.
|Pierce not concerned with offensive struggles||at 1:38 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — Paul Pierce isn’t worried.
He knows he can perform better, but he doesn’t have to force his shot when his teammates are getting it done on the offensive end.
‘I think I struggled offensively, I think I rushed a lot,’ Pierce said following the Celtics Game 2 win over the Lakers. ‘I don’t think it was too much about what Ron (Artest) did (defensively). I had about three or four open shots off the pick-and-roll that guys got me open that I missed. I loved the looks I got tonight. I’m happy with that, but at the same time I’m not going to force the issue on my offense.’
Pierce finished the game with 10 points, 14 less than in Game 1. But it’s how he made up for it that matters. He grabbed four rebounds and held Artest to just six points off of 1-for-10 shooting. Pierce considers himself to be a versatile player, not just a scorer, and he utilized those skills to help the Celtics get the win.
‘I don’t have a big burden for me offensively on my team as Kobe (Bryant) does,’ he said. ‘So when I’m not out here making buckets I’m out there trying to rebound, defend, make plays for other guys. Obviously Ray was the catalyst tonight along with Rajon (Rondo), so I tried to do other things.’
|Ainge on The Big Show: ‘That was not our team’ in Game 1||06.05.10 at 11:04 pm ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined The Big Show Friday afternoon to discuss the Celtics’ tough loss to the Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA finals, why he doesn’t believe they were out-hustled, and the future for assistant coach Tom Thibodeau.
“There was no rhythm in the game, there was a lot of fouls being called. ‘¦ I’m not making excuses, I just felt that our guy’s were ready to play, and played hard,” Ainge said about the way the team played in Game 1.
“[In Game 1] we really didn’t get a good performance out of anybody,” he continued. “Hopefully that will change.”
A lot of talk has been about the hustle in Game 1, did it seem like Lakers out-hustled the Celtics?
No i think that maybe some of the fouls early in the game took a little bit of that away, I know our guys were ready to play. A lot of times the team you’re playing does that to you. I thought, not so much effort, as much as tentative. We were in between on some of our defensive things, we weren’t quite on the ball. ‘¦ We were kind of in no man’s land so many times where we didn’t contest a shot or left the basket open. It looked like there was more indecisiveness, I thought that the natural, just effort. There was no rhythm in the game, there was a lot of fouls being called. ‘¦ I’m not making excuses, I just felt that our guys were ready to play, and played hard. I think [Rajon] Rondo got hurt half way through the game and kind of re-injured his back a little bit.
There is no way the Celtics can win when getting less second-chance opportunities.
Well I think there’s two things on that. I think 16 second-chance points is not good, and zero is really bad. I mean a lot of that is not effort, it’s just we’re not finding ourselves in those positions, or we’re taking shots too quick, as we were climbing the hill there coming from behind. You know we were taking quick shots and not even ready for offensive rebounds, I mean there are so many factors, more than just effort. But I believe rebounding is crucial for us, and has been for us the last three years. When we rebound the ball, and defensive team’s aren’t getting those second-chance points, that’s when we play our best. It gives us a chance to get out in the open court. If it’s going to be a halfcourt game on both ends, then that’s not our strength.
|Perkins won’t hold back again||at 8:44 pm ET|
‘Last game in a way I was [holding back],’ he said prior to practice on Saturday. ‘But this game coming up, I’m just going to be myself. We’ve got to get this win, so whatever it takes.’
Perkins entered the NBA finals with six technical fouls, one shy of an automatic one-game suspension. Putting the potential consequence out of his mind is easier said than done. He scaled back his aggressiveness and didn’t go as hard on defense as he would have liked.
‘Just a few times where I probably would have went in there and mixed it up a little bit, just got tangled up with guys, I didn’t,’ he said. ‘I was like, ‘I can’t do it.’ Or a time a guy was holding me is a time I might have locked up with him just because. But there are times when you want to get in there and mix it up, go in there and bang a little bit, but you’ve just got to pick and choose.’
After the Lakers dominated the boards and got inside the lane with ease, Perkins knows he has to play differently in Game 2. He looks to find a balance between smart basketball and physical basketball.
Besides, Doc Rivers has made it clear what can happen if Perkins continues to hold back.
‘What didn’t he say?’ said Perkins. ‘He said everything, that we need to play harder, that this isn’t the team that played the last game against Orlando, it’s night and day. He said we need to come out and attack or we’d be getting sent home early, so we’ve got to come out and play hard.’
|Celtics, Lakers look ahead to Game 2||at 8:11 pm ET|
EL SEGUNDO — The Celtics and Lakers held court with the media on Saturday as they looked ahead to Game 2. There have been common themes discussed following the C’s Game 1 loss — energy, rebounding, stopping Kobe Bryant, among others.
Over the past few days the players have heard the same questions posed in different ways. Many view it as part of being in the finals. Others have found a type of motivation in the repetition.
“I think it helps us a lot because you kind of get tired about hearing about the same things,” said Kendrick Perkins. “So you want to go out there and correct it so after Game 2 you won’t have to hear about it anymore.”
Here are a few soundbites from Saturday’s practice:
Helping Rondo be Rondo: As the point guard, it’s Rajon Rondo‘s job to get his teammate the ball. At the same time, the Celtics have to do a better job of setting him up for success as well. The Celtics lack of defensive stops in Game 1 prevented Rondo from getting into transition often, something they look to improve in Game 2.
‘When you don’t get stops, that means he’s taking the ball out every time and it doesn’t allow Rondo to get out there and use his speed in transition for fastbreaks,’ said Paul Pierce. ‘Every time they got stops, rebounds was another big Achilles heel for us. So it’s important to do a better job on rebounds after each shot, getting the ball in his hands so his speed and play-making ability can become a factor in game number two. So we’ve got to make a concentrated effort at doing a better job at that.’
Gasol reacts to Garnett comments: On Friday, Pau Gasol‘s comparison of Kevin Garnett from 2008 to 2010 became a media whirlwind when a small fraction of his comments were magnified. Gasol commented, ‘On Kevin’s part, he’s also lost some explosiveness. He’s more of a jump shooter now,’ before adding that he considers Garnett to be a ‘terrific player’ who brings everything he has to the court.
Gasol reacted to the buzz following Lakers practice. When asked if he was surprised that his comment had been portrayed as derogatory, he responded, ‘To an extent. To an extent. I understand media try to create situations for whatever reason, create attraction. But again, sometimes I extend my answers too long. Maybe I shouldn’t do that. I should be shorter with my answers and don’t give away just anything so it can’t be manipulated that way and used.’
The Celtics didn’t get worked up over Gasol’s comments, though. Rondo said losing Game 1 was motivation enough for the C’s in itself.
Said Kendrick Perkins, ‘I say speak your mind. Sometimes it livens up the series a little bit. So I say speak your mind. You never know who you might make mad when you say something crazy, so you never know. Everybody’s watching.’
Celtics know what they’re playing for: Kevin Garnett is no stranger to screaming, yelling, and getting in his teammates’ faces on the court to pump them up. But at this point in the season, Garnett says that isn’t necessary.
‘I think in this situation you don’t have to do any of that,’ he said. ‘I think we’re all kind of distasteful at this time, knowing what’s at stake and it being the finals. No one here has to come out and say a heroic speech or get in anyone’s face. It’s all self-explanatory to this point. Everyone is motivated. Everyone knows we’re motivated. Guys on the team are looking at themselves in the mirror and I’m no different from that.”
|The story behind Big Baby’s ear plugs||06.04.10 at 9:03 pm ET|
But it wasn’t to block out the jeers of the Lakers fans sitting behind the Celtics bench — ‘Fans are fans ‘¦ Everyone feels like they can joke on me,’ he said before practice on Friday. It was to block out loud noises, a cause of aggravation since suffering a concussion in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The earplugs worked. Well, after Davis made a minor adjustment.
‘You know what’s so funny?’ he said. ‘I didn’t think they worked well at first, but then Rasheed (Wallace) was like, ‘Turn them around,’ because I had them stuck in my ear the wrong way.’
Davis removed the ear plugs when he played, but said he gets into a zone on the court and doesn’t hear the noise anyways. But he never misses Doc Rivers calling for him to get in the game.
‘You can always hear him – ‘Baby! Baby!’’ Davis said, channeling an impression of his coach. ‘He’s loud, so I can hear him. I’m always looking at him anyways because he’s always standing up that way because the game’s that way.’
|What Ray Allen needs to ‘learn real quick’||at 6:10 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES – Throughout the postseason, players have studied Ray Allen’s game to learn how to defend the veteran sharpshooter.
Now Allen has his own assignment – finding a way to stop Kobe Bryant without getting into foul trouble.
Allen was whistled for five fouls in the Celtics Game 1 loss. He was limited to just 27 minutes and knows he has to stay on the court in Game 2.
“That’s a good lesson that I need to learn real quick,” he said prior to practice on Friday. “Because even on a couple of calls … I try to read the referees and how they call the games and they establish control early, so trying to figure that out without being a sieve on defense. Right now I’ve got to make that adjustment going into Game 2.”
Bryant scored a game-high 30 points on Thursday night. He shot 10-for-22 from the field and 9-for-10 from the line, a result of his aggressiveness at the basket.
“He just attacks,” said Allen. “He’s going to attack our defense, but I think primarily if he’s attacking that means he sees gaps.”
Whatever game plan Allen and the Celtics devise, Bryant is preparing for it.
“It’s not really a match up with me and Ray,” he said. “It’s really me trying to find gaps and holes in their defensive scheme and the help they provide.”
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