|Pierce: Doc is one ‘cool customer’||05.31.10 at 5:24 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Two of the most-respected coaches in the NBA also happen to have the most rings.
And Celtics captain Paul Pierce would love to give Doc Rivers the chance to join Lakers coach Phil Jackson and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich as active coaches with multiple rings.
But whether the Celtics win another title or not in the next month, Paul Pierce believes he is playing for one of the best coaches of his generation. Pierce said Monday following practice that Rivers deserves credit for keeping the team focused on the task at hand and never showing panic through the course of a long season filled with many ups and downs.
“He’s definitely taken my career to the next level,” Pierce said. “You have to put him up there with the top-five coaches with Phil, Gregg Popovich.”
It wasn’t always that way as Pierce admitted earlier this season when he said his relationship with the Celtics and Rivers was sometimes like when a couple goes through growing pains early in their relationship.
Sometimes you come close to “breaking up” Pierce said but in the end, you work things out.
Such was the case, even this season, when the team went 27-27 to finish the season, losing at home to teams like Washington, New Jersey and Memphis. When the team was battling to find itself in January and February, Pierce said it was Rivers who kept things loose and easy.
“I think it’s everything to this ballclub,” Pierce said. “You can see at times when you play for coaches when things aren’t going right it just seems like the practices get harder and the yelling becomes louder and Doc is a cool customer.
“He didn’t panic, he didn’t get louder. He just stuck with the game plan. A lot of times, when you go through a stretch we went through like five games out of six, seven-out-of-10, you can tell from a coach’s body language that things are going downhill. You never really saw that with Doc. He came in and said, ‘Alight, we’re going to get back to work the next day.’ He always stayed positive and encouraged us and I think that was big for us throughout the year.”
Jackson has an NBA-record 10 titles as head coach while Gregg Popovich is second among active coaches with four. The Celtics are making their second trip to the NBA Finals in three years with Rivers as the coach and he is trying to join Red Auerbach, Bill Russell and K.C. Jones as Celtics coaches with two titles in three seasons.
|Going from Gold to Green||at 2:51 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Tony Gaffney began his rookie season in purple and gold. This week he is headed back to the Staples Center, this time wearing green and white.
Gaffney, a Boston native, was signed to the Lakers training camp roster last summer after going undrafted out of the University of Massachusetts. He was the was the last player cut from training camp and went overseas to play in Israel before being signed by the Celtics in April.
It has been months since he returned to Los Angeles, and he’s thrilled to be arriving as a member of the Celtics.
“I wouldn’t want to be going back any other way. I’m looking forward to it,” he said before the team flew out to California on Monday. “It’s definitely unique, and having the two teams [that I’ve played for] be the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers makes it that much more special. Obviously they’re two top of the line, class A organizations, it’s no surprise as to why they are in the finals. Having gotten the chance to witness that and see it firsthand, to me this all makes sense.”
Even though Gaffney has been on the inactive list during the postseason, he still can help the Celtics without being on the court. He learned the Lakers offense “fairly well” and was even praised by the organization for picking up the triangle offense so quickly. Gaffney would be happy to pass along his insight.
“I got to know some of the guys pretty well and I was in the gym early morning when Kobe (Bryant) was the first one in there working on his left-handed shots for an hour before practice,” he recalled. “But if any of the guys ask me anything or need anything, I’ll be more than happy to help them out.“
And while he has seen firsthand just how dangerous Bryant can be on the court, Gaffney believes it is another player who can do damage.
“Obviously I believe Pau (Gasol) and Kobe make that team go, but I think as Lamar goes, they go,” he said. “When he gets off and he’s doing what he’s capable of doing, they’re tough to beat. But we have a counter to that and we have probably the best defensive team in the league. And I think keeping Lamar Odom in check is going to be huge in this series and we’ll have to go from there.”
Gaffney is confident the Celtics have the pieces to win it all. Even though he still has his Lakers jersey, it is a reminder of his journey that has led him back to the team he hopes will win it all.
“I’m blessed to have been able to be part of both organizations,” he said, “And now have a chance to win it with the greatest organization in the NBA.”
|NBA finals set to begin Thursday in LA||05.30.10 at 9:06 am ET|
The Celtics and Lakers will meet for second time in three years in the NBA finals. The two teams each won one game in their two meetings this season. Here is the complete NBA finals schedule. All games be televised on ABC and broadcast on the WEEI Sports Radio Network:
- Game 1 – Thursday, June 3, Celtics at Lakers, 9 p.m.
- Game 2 – Sunday, June 6, Celtics at Lakers, 8 p.m.
- Game 3 – Tuesday, June 8, Lakers at Celtics, 9 p.m.
- Game 4 – Thursday, June 10, Lakers at Celtics, 9 p.m.
- Game 5 * Sunday, June 13, Lakers at Celtics, 8 p.m.
- Game 6 * Tuesday, June 15, Celtics at Lakers, 9 p.m.
- Game 7 * Thursday, June 17, Celtics at Lakers, 9 p.m.
* if necessary
|NBA finals tickets on sale June 2||05.29.10 at 8:54 am ET|
Here’s the Celtics’ official press release concerning the sale of NBA finals tickets.
BOSTON – The Boston Celtics announced today that a limited number of playoff tickets for Round 4, home games 1, 2 and 3 (Games 3, 4 and 5 of the series) at the TD Garden will go on sale Wednesday, June 2 at 11 a.m. There is a four (4) ticket limit per event on all seating areas and seats start at $40.
Game 3 is scheduled to be played on Tuesday, June 8, at 9 p.m., Game 4 on Thursday, June 10, at 9 p.m. and Game 5 on Sunday, June 13, at 8 p.m. The opponent is yet to be determined. Please visit Celtics.com for all the latest schedule information as it becomes available.
Celtics fans will be able to purchase on June 2 beginning at 11 a.m. by visiting Celtics.com, by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX (800-462-2849) or by visiting the TD Garden Box Office. Acceptable forms of payment for tickets are American Express and all other major credit cards and customers may also pay with cash at the TD Garden Box Office.
In the event that Game 5 (Round 4, home game 3) is not played, refunds will be done at the point of purchase. Fans purchasing online would be automatically refunded through Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster will refund the face value of each ticket, facility charge and per ticket service charge. All per order charges (order processing and any delivery charges) will not be refunded.
Fans interested in securing private suites for playoff games may do so by calling the Celtics Sales Office at 866-4CELTIX (866-423-5849). Private suites accommodate 18 fans and catering options are also available. For more information log onto www.celtics.com.
|Why Nate Robinson was reason Celtics won||at 1:23 am ET|
Paul Pierce is undeniably the leading spokesman of these Celtics.
When he speaks, everyone who cares about the team listens.
In the moments following Boston’s second Eastern Conference title in three years, he gave credit to one player for helping the Celtics to get over the emotional hump of losing two straight games after having a 3-0 lead against the Magic.
“He really won the game for us,” Pierce told ESPN’s Doris Burke in the midst of a parquet celebration following the 96-84 triumph.
Why did the man who scored a game-high 31 points while grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out five assists give so much credit to the man with the new tatoo on his throat? Because without him, the Celtics might have lost their swagger when Rajon Rondo took a hard first-quarter fall to the floor, courtesy Dwight Howard.
“It was huge, it was big,” Robinson said after scoring all 13 of his points in a furious second-quarter spurt. “I am just speechless right now. My teammates, we got the job done today.
“Just do whatever coach asked. He asked me to play as much defense as I could. The best way that I knew how, and the offense is going to come. That’s something that comes naturally, just play the game for what it is and for the love of it. That’s what I went out there and did.”
Robinson, who came to Boston in a much-talked about mid-season trade with the Knicks, didn’t even play in Games 1 and 2 of the series as Rondo was exerting his dominance. Coach Doc Rivers has always told his players to be prepared. Friday’s huge Game 6 stage was Robinson’s chance.
“It was a great opportunity,” Robinson said. “I thank God, I thank Doc, the fans for giving me so much energy and my teammates for believing. They always told me be ready, be ready you never know. Today was that day.
“I mean just the opportunity to play. I got my chance today. I just showed that I could play the game of basketball.”
And now Robinson gets his first chance to play on an even bigger stage: the NBA finals.
|NBA Finals set to begin on June 3||05.26.10 at 11:06 am ET|
After the Phoenix Suns defeated the Los Angeles Lakers to even their series at two games apiece, the NBA officially announced the NBA Finals schedule.
- Thursday, June 3: Game 1, 9 p.m.
- Sunday June 6: Game 2, 8 p.m.
- Tuesday, June 8: Game 3, 9 p.m.
- Thursday, June 10: Game 4, 9 p.m.
- Sunday, June 13: Game 5*, 8 p.m.
- Tuesday, June 15: Game 6*, 9 p.m.
- Thursday, June 17: Game 7*, 9 p.m
* if necessary
|Sounds of the game… Lakers 110, Celtics 109 OT||02.06.09 at 6:49 am ET|
Forget the NBA Finals of last June. Thursday night’s regular season game between the Celtics and Lakers at TD Banknorth Garden went a long way to restoring one of the sport’s great all-time rivalries.
And just listening to Doc Rivers’ verbal tirade to the referees in the hallway proves how much this one hurt for the Green.
Rivers COULD NOT believe a hand check was not called on the Lakers as they tried to throw Ray Allen’s timing off at the end of overtime with Allen having the ball and a chance to win the game just like he did 48 hours earlier in Philadelphia.
“That was a hand check!” Rivers exclaimed in the hallway as the Celtics filed to their locker room, past the officials’ room on the right.
Then there was the sparring between Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo, as Bryant, who was held to 26 points on 10-of-29 shooting, waved his finger in Rondo’s face in the third quarter. That was followed minutes later by Lamar Odom and Kevin Garnett going toe-to-toe before calmer heads prevailed. And lest we forget the rivalry between the two coaches.
Phil Jackson was peeved when Doc Rivers was given a sports-drink shower on the court in the closing minutes of Game 6 of The Finals last June. Jackson said after the game that he didn’t think Garnett looked like he was ready to return from the flu. Oh really Phil?
This game meant a lot to both teams.
It meant the end of Boston’s 12-game winning streak, meaning the Lakers have ended their 19-game AND 12-game runs this season. It meant that Los Angeles has swept the season series and holds the tie-breaker should the two teams end up deadlocked at the end of the season.
For the Lakers, it meant beating a team that seven months earlier humiliated them on the same court by 39 points in the most embarrassing loss in franchise history. They remembered the Gatorade shower that Rivers received from Pierce and Co. as Boston claimed its 17th title.
And it showed that these Lakers, even without big man Andrew Bynum, COULD play defense when it mattered and they won’t be pushed around anymore.
Here’s how both teams articulated it.