|Simmons on D&C: Officiating is the headline of finals||06.10.10 at 10:39 am ET|
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, ‘Uh 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, ‘This 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 »
|Lakers hope Ray-Ray ‘does it again’ Thursday||06.09.10 at 9:48 am ET|
The Lakers were as shell-shocked as anyone as Ray Allen rained down shot after perfect shot from beyond the 3-point arc on Sunday night in Game 2 in Los Angeles.
But the tables could not have been more turned on Tuesday night in Boston if Lou Piniella were managing the Yankees again and these were the 1980s.
Ray Allen finished 0-for-13, including misses on all eight from long range.
“I hope he does it again Thursday,” said a relieved Shannon Brown, one of the Lakers who were on the court for both the near-perfect performance from Allen in Game 2 and the perfectly-off display in Game 3.
Obviously, the Celtics had a different take.
“As a team, you have to stick together and stay focused on what you need to stay focused on, especially during that time during the game,” Glen Davis said. “We have to stay together as one and make things happen for each other, not just one person. It’s tough.”
In fact, Davis believes there’s a silver lining to Tuesday’s loss.
“Ray, 0-for-13? Who would have ever thought that? So, that won’t happen again,” Davis boldly predicted. “We only lost by a couple of points. He hits a couple of shots and we’re in the game. We’re winning the game, really. Today just wasn’t our day. In spite of him not hitting his shots and things like that, we’ve still got to win this game because it’s a winnable game for us.”
|Big Baby knows refs aren’t to blame for everything||at 4:15 am ET|
But Glen Davis is more than aware that the officials can’t be blame for all of the calls that went against them. Just a few key ones.
“We didn’t close out,” Davis said. ” I think at the beginning of the game, the first team established the tempo. I think the bench came out and really didn’t apply the pressure and that’s how we lost the lead.”
Indeed, the Celtics led, 12-5 out of the gate but thanks in very large part to the play of the Laker bench, which outscored Boston’s 16-8 in the first half, the visitors went on a 21-5 run to end the first quarter and never relinquished the lead again.
“I think a lot of the things in the first half, we just didn’t do right. I think we’ve got to be ready to play when we go in there. I blame it on myself, not establishing tempo, not bringing enough energy, turning the ball over, shooting bad shots. If I helped a little bit more in the first half, I think we would have done a better job.”
Davis was very aware of what was going on in the first half as the Celtics fell behind, 37-20, early in the second quarter.
“We had to dig our way back from [their] 17-point lead,” said Davis, who then had a very interesting take on the much-discussed and highly-criticized officials in this series.
“We did a great job of fighting back but then, calls didn’t go our way,” he said. “Referees aren’t perfect, they’re human, they’re going to make mistakes. Hopefully, they’ll see that some calls weren’t the right calls. But they did their best. I tip my hat to them. It’s tough in an environment like this to make the right call with thousands of people screaming at you, so it is what it is. I tip my hat to those guys.”
|How Fisher ‘won the game for them’||at 2:10 am ET|
Rajon Rondo did it in Game 2 and Derek Fisher followed suit in Game 3.
‘[He] won the game for them,’ Doc Rivers said. ‘Derek 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.
‘We let Derek Fisher dribble the ball all the way up the court, unattended, get a 3-point play,’ said Rivers. ‘If you get a stop there, we had two timeouts left, three timeouts at the time, we had plenty of time.’
Said Glen Davis, ‘I think Derek Fisher won the game for them. He took over the game.  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.
‘We’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.”
|Doc on Lakers whining: ‘Maybe they do different math’||06.08.10 at 9:39 pm ET|
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.”
|Celtics happy to be home||at 9:30 pm ET|
The finals have returned to Boston almost exactly two years later on June 8, 2010, and the Celtics could not be happier to be playing at home.
‘It feels good to be back home for a few games,’ Kendrick Perkins said prior to Game 3. ‘I think it’s the finals, Boston-Lakers rivalry, just to see how the fans are going to be. I know there’s going to be a lot of energy in the building so it feels good just to be back home.’
Even though the Celtics were 24-17 at home during the regular season, a drastic drop from their 35-6 records in the prior two seasons, they have reclaimed their turf during the playoffs. The C’s have clinched the previous three series at home.
‘[We’re] back home,’ said Tony Allen. ‘Time to take care of business.’
|Donaghy on D&C: Refs will be aggressive||at 11:11 am ET|
Donaghy was asked what we should expect from Dan Crawford, Bill Kennedy and Bennett Salvatore in Tuesday night’s Game 3. “I think it brings some aggressive refereeing to get some of these illegal screens and some of this matchup trouble cleaned up with some aggressive whistles,” he said. “I think you’re going to see a lot of illegal screens called, where Ray Allen was getting free in Los Angeles a lot, some of the the big guys setting some moving picks, I think you’re going to see those cleaned up early. And I also think you’re going to see a lot of fouls on Allen and [Derek] Fisher to get that matchup cleaned up early.”
Donaghy said Kobe Bryant’s prediction that he won’t get five fouls again is an accurate one. “I don’t think you’re going to see him in foul trouble again for a long, long time,” Donaghy said.
Asked whether the league wants to make sure there are no fights in this series, Donaghy said that’s clearly the officials’ strategy. “Absolutely,” he said. “Any time you’re involved in a fight in an NBA game, it causes an enormous amount of controvery and trouble. On the global stage of the NBA finals, you certainly don’t want players going at it. I think that’s why you’ve seen so many fouls recently and trying to get rid of the physical play to avoid that as much as possible.”
Donaghy did not offer a prediction on Tuesday’s game, but he said it’s obvious the NBA would prefer that the series does not end in Boston. “What’s good for the league is that this gets back to Los Angeles,” he said. “With that said, if Los Angeles can win one game out of these three, I think that’s what good for the league.
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