|Chris Mannix on D&C: Chris Paul to Celtics an ‘extreme longshot’||12.09.11 at 11:06 am ET|
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to discuss the NBA blocking a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers.
On Thursday, the Hornets, Rockets and Lakers reached an agreement to send Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and Luis Scola to New Orleans. But according to multiple reports, commissioner David Stern intervened and blocked the trade because league owners were irate that the trade was being allowed to go through.
The Celtics have been reportedly interested in acquiring Paul ever since the lockout unofficially ended, but Mannix does not expect that Boston will be able to trade for Paul after the Lakers deal was blocked.
“Do you know what [Lakers owner] Jerry Buss would do if the NBA approved [Paul to the Celtics]? He would make Mark Cuban look like a guy on Xanax because he would go absolutely ballistic over something like that,” Mannix said. “You can’t veto a trade of Chris Paul to the Lakers and all of a sudden trade him to your arch rival.”
Added Mannix: “I would say right now it’s an extreme longshot that Chris Paul would wind up with the Celtics.”
Mannix explained that Stern and the NBA rejected the trade for a number of reasons.
“I think he did for a few reasons. No. 1, the small-market owners certainly had an influence. I’m sure by now you’ve seen Dan Gilbert‘s letter. … I’m sure Dan Gilbert and some of the other small-market owners, like Robert Sarver, maybe Michael Heisley in Memphis, put some pressure on Stern,” Mannix said. “But guys I’ve been saying for two weeks right now the biggest road block to Chris Paul getting traded is the commissioner’s office. Because No. 1, they’ve spent five months trying to legislate against players doing exactly what Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are trying to do right now. They don’t have a problem with super teams. … They have a problem with how these super teams are formed. They don’t want players independently going out there and saying, ‘I want to play in such-and-such market, if you don’t trade me there, I’m going to walk at the end of the season.’”
|NBA draft day rumors, 10 a.m.: Lakers tried to deal Lamar Odom||06.23.11 at 10:22 am ET|
Without holding a first-round pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, the Lakers reportedly tried to get into the first round by attempting to deal Lamar Odom to the Timberwolves for the No. 2 pick.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the Lakers offered Odom for the No. 2 pick, and they planned to select Arizona’s Derrick Williams, but the Timberwolves turned down the offer. The Timberwolves countered by trying to make a deal for All-Star forward Pau Gasol or center Andrew Bynum. Talks broke down shortly after as the Lakers showed no interest in dealing Gasol or Bynum.
CBS Sports is reporting that the Lakers tried to trade Odom to the Warriors for Monta Ellis. The trade would also include Lakers guard Shannon Brown, but the talks went nowhere.
The Lakers do not have a first-round pick in 2011, having traded it to New Jersey when they dealt Sasha Vujacic to the Nets. This is the second straight season that the Lakers do not have a first-round pick.
|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.
|The thing about Gasol||06.14.10 at 11:27 pm ET|
From the start of the NBA finals, Pau Gasol has posed a challenge for the Celtics. The combination of his size and versatility spreads the floor and creates match up problems down low.
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.
|What they’re saying about Celtics-Lakers||at 2:19 pm ET|
Fueled by a raucous TD Garden crowd, a bench that wouldn’t quit and an apparent lack of serious competition, the Celtics took a 3-2 series lead over the Lakers Sunday night with their 92-86 win. The storylines have stayed the same throughout the series. The C’s have stepped up and played as a team with a new leader emerging every game, while the Lakers have been inconsistent and led by one strong player, usually Kobe Bryant. Game 5 was just more of the same, and the national headlines the day after have told the same tale.
- Most of the criticism against Kobe and the Lakers originates from LA:
– T.J. Simers of the LA Times writes the harshest criticism by refusing to call him by name, opting for Our Ball Hog instead.
– Mark Medina from the Times’ Lakers Blog places the blame on the rest of the Lakers for not supporting their leader.
– The LA Daily News’ Vincent Bonsignore discusses how calm and quiet Kobe was during the postgame press conference. Alongside that, Bonsignore says that the captain “really isn’t interested in prodding his teammates along with some fiery speech over the next few days.”
- Bill Plaschke believes that this 2010 series is starting to resemble the 2008 series and it seems as though the Lakers are throwing in the towel.
- The Lakers’ big men – Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum – have been largely ineffective and just taking up space on the court, writes Mike Bresnahan.
- Meanwhile, the Daily News’ Elliot Teaford reports that Lamar Odom hasn’t been acting like his normal, bubbly self in and around the Lakers’ clubhouse this series because of his poor play.
- Jeff Zilgitt of USA Today chalks up the C’s Game 5 victory to their big four starters: Pierce, Rondo, Allen and Garnett.
- Also from USA Today, Michael Falgoust noticed that Bryant’s shooting percentage for the series is down to 42.5 percent, his lowest since the first round against Oklahoma City when he had swollen knee problems.
- Pau Gasol has been nothing more than a “spectator to the Kobe Bryant show.” According to The Associated Press, Gasol wouldn’t “get himself involved or the Lakers wouldn’t involve him” in Game 5.
- Kevin Garnett is noncommittal about his immediate future, but he is definitely glad he decided to leave Minnesota and come to Boston, writes Bill Lee of the Providence Journal.
- ESPN’s Daily Dime covers topics such as “the better team won Game 5,” Kobe Bryant needing some serious help on the court and Boston’s bench keeping the energy up every game.
- And finally, the ratings for Game 5 are slowly trickling in and it appears that it was the most watched game of the series so far and the most watched event of the night again. The 2010 finals have been the highest watched finals since the 2004 matchup between the Lakers and the Pistons.
|Kevin Garnett’s odd night||06.07.10 at 2:20 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — All eyes were on Kevin Garnett after he was thoroughly outplayed by Pau Gasol in Game 1 and some comments from Gasol were taken out of context and became a dominant storyline heading into Game 2.
How would Garnett react? Could he handle Gasol? Would we see a vintage Garnett performance? In the end, none of those questions were answered definitively because Garnett spent the entire night in foul trouble.
Garnett played less than 12 minutes in the first three quarters and scored only two points to go with two rebounds.
“Obviously I would have liked to be in a better flow,” Garnett said. “But fouls, it goes like that.”
Despite his struggles to stay on the court, Garnett turned in a solid fourth quarter. He only had four points and two rebounds, but his one made basket came with the Celtics up one, 91-90. Additionally, Gasol scored only one point and Garnett set a number of screens that opened lanes for Rajon Rondo to drive to the basket.
Garnett did little to answer his critics in Game 2, but he did enough to help his team get a win.
|Celtics, Lakers look ahead to Game 2||06.05.10 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.”
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