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What they’re saying about Celtics-Lakers 06.14.10 at 2:19 pm ET
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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.

Los Angeles:

  • 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 ‘€œreally 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.

National:

  • 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 ‘€œspectator to the Kobe Bryant show.‘€ According to The Associated Press, Gasol wouldn’€™t ‘€œget 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 ‘€œthe 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.
Read More: Celtics, finals, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant
Kevin Garnett’s odd night 06.07.10 at 2:20 am ET
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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.

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol,
Celtics, Lakers look ahead to Game 2 06.05.10 at 8:11 pm ET
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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.

‘€œWhen 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. ‘€œEvery 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, ‘€œOn 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 ‘€œterrific 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, ‘€œTo 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, ‘€œI 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.

‘€œI think in this situation you don’t have to do any of that,’€ he said. ‘€œI 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.”

Read More: Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant
KG vs. Gasol: It’s on (kind of) 06.04.10 at 5:16 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — Pau Gasol was asked a lot of questions about Kevin Garnett on the day after he scored 23 points and had 14 rebounds in the Lakers Game 1 victory in the NBA finals. Gasol talked about how he has grown over the years and how playing Garnett was a big challenge when he was in Memphis and Garnett was in Minnesota.

Then he said this: “On Kevin’s part, he’s also lost some explosiveness. He’s more of a jump shooter now.” Gasol went on to say how Garnett is still a “terrific player, a terrific competitor, and he’s going to bring everything he’s got. You can count on that.”

Only the first part of the quote was relayed to Garnett who responded, “I have no comment for his comments.”

Pressed further, Garnett said, “I’m not getting caught up in what Pau’s talking about. I’€™m not going to play these games. I’€™m going to stick to my guns, continue to make the proper adjustments and move on. I’€™m not into this bull [expletive] that’€™s going on, you know what I mean? That’€™s it.”

So, we have our first media-driven controversy of the finals. Fair or unfair, and the set-up was more than a little bit dishonest, Garnett will have to bring more to the table defensively against Gasol in Game 2. He knows that, as does everyone else, but count on this being a major plot point over the next 48 hours.

For example, Rajon Rondo was asked about the Gasol’s comments, again without context, and he just grinned. “Every man is entitled to this opinion,” Rondo said. “You know, Kevin is fine. It’s just one game. We’ll see in Game 2.”

Asked how this would affect Garnett, Rondo said, “I just can’t wait. I didn’t know [Gasol] said that, but I’ll be excited to see how it goes in Game 2.”

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol, Rajon Rondo,
Three Things That Went Wrong And Right in Game 1 at 12:00 am ET
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The Lakers took a 1-0 lead in the 2010 NBA finals after a 102-89 win over the Celtics. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 27 points, while Pau Gasol finished with 23. The Celtics were topped by Paul Pierce with 24 points. Game 2 — a must win for the Celtics? — is Sunday night.

Three Things That Went Wrong

Gasol dominates Garnett: Guess Gasol is tougher than he was in 2008. He attacked Kevin Garnett from the start on Thursday night, finishing Game 1 with 23 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. Gasol did whatever he wanted in the post with Garnett defending (Rasheed Wallace was actually more effective on Gasol) and wasn’t afraid to get physical while guarding KG. Here’s all you need to know about Garnett’s performance in Game 1: 35 minutes, four rebounds and two FT attempts in a strangely passive performance. The defining moment of Game 1 will be Garnett unable to dunk at 91-78 with six minutes left. Again, Garnett doesn’t need to play Gasol to a push in this series but he can’t be embarrassed as he was in Game 1.

Destroyed on the Glass: Fear No. 1 for most Celtics fans heading into Game 1 was the size of the Lakers (maybe 1A, assuming that Kobe always tops the chart). And it was justified, as the Gasol/Andrew Bynum duo helped the Lakers control play underneath. At halftime LA had a 23-15 edge on the boards, a 28-18 lead in points in the paint and a 10-0 shutout in second-chance points. And the Celtics couldn’t adjust, grabbing just two rebounds in the the third quarter.

Foul Trouble Slows Down Ray: With Kobe Bryant guarding Rajon Rondo early on, it appeared that Ray Allen would be able to do some serious damage coming off screens with the soon-to-be-36-year-old Derek Fisher defending. But Allen could never get going, as he fell into early foul problems while trying to guard Bryant. A clearly frustrated Allen finished Game 1 with just 12 points on 3-of-8 shooting (and no 3-pointers).

Three Things That Went Right

Rasheed Came To Play: Wallace was terrific in the second quarter, scoring seven points while playing excellent defense vs. Gasol. You could make the case that no Celtics player matched the intensity brought by Wallace on Thursday. If Garnett struggles again in Game 2 early it’ll be interesting to see how quickly Doc Rivers goes to Wallace.

Rondo Looks Healthy: It wasn’t Rondo’s best game (13 points, six rebounds and eight assists) but he didn’t appear to be slowed down by the nagging injuries that hurt him at times vs. the Magic.

Tony Allen and Pierce Defending Kobe: Bryant was the game’s high scorer (30 points), but did most of his work against Ray Allen in Game 1. He didn’t make a shot with Pierce defending (0-for-6) and Tony Allen also had some nice moments guarding Kobe. Another Doc test for Game 2 is to see how much we’ll see Pierce on Bryant.

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Lakers, NBA Finals
Going from Gold to Green 05.31.10 at 2:51 pm ET
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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.

‘€œI 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. ‘€œIt’€™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 ‘€œfairly 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.

‘€œI 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. ‘€œBut if any of the guys ask me anything or need anything, I’€™ll be more than happy to help them out.’€œ

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.

‘€œObviously I believe Pau (Gasol) and Kobe make that team go, but I think as Lamar goes, they go,’€ he said. ‘€œWhen 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.

‘€œI’€™m blessed to have been able to be part of both organizations,’€ he said, ‘€œAnd now have a chance to win it with the greatest organization in the NBA.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers
Celtics draft pick Erden helps Turkey in EuroBasket 09.12.09 at 9:36 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics 2008 second round draft pick Semih Erden has yet to play in an NBA game, but he has already defeated one of the Los Angeles Lakers. On Saturday he helped Turkey defeat Pau Gasol and the Spanish team in the EuroBasket 2009 Group F qualifying round.

The 6-11 center led the team with six rebounds and scored 11 points, including two free throws that secured Turkey’s 63-60 victory over Spain. He also contributed two rebounds, an alley-oop from Hedo Turkoglu, a block, and a steal in the final five minutes of the back-and-forth match up. Turkey remains undefeated (3-0) and plays Serbia on Monday.

Erden was selected by the Celtics with the 60th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He averaged 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds with Fenerbahce Ulker last season.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Hedo Turkoglu, Los Angeles Lakers, Pau Gasol
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