|Title wave will be a Green energy transfer||06.14.10 at 12:06 pm ET|
Now comes the hard part.
The Celtics, after dropping Game 3 on their home court, have crept to within one win of their 18th title by taking advantage of the incredible energy inside TD Garden. But if they are to raise yet another banner to the rafters in the fall, they’re going to have to get it done in the hostile environment of Staples Center.
Kendrick Perkins said the key to transferring the momentum and energy of the TD Garden crowd to Los Angeles will be mental toughness.
“It’s all mental,” Perkins said. “I think we have to go out there and take their crowd out of it early. We can’t let them get energy going in the building. I think it’s got to be all mental. There are going to be times where they make runs and their crowd may get involved in the game and it may get loud in there. But we have to make sure we have to keep our composure and just keep going, keep attacking.”
While their 24-17 regular season home record was tied with Miami and Chicago as worst among the 16 playoff teams, the playoffs have been a different story.
The Celtics won six of their first seven at the Garden in the opening three rounds, and went 7-2 at home to advance to the NBA finals. They dropped Game 3, 91-84 to the Lakers but came back to win Games 4 and 5 to finish 9-3 at home in the playoffs.
While it was not the 13-1 mark they had on the parquet in their 2008 title run, the energy in TD Garden the last two games clearly helped the Celtics. And they were quick to point that out after the game.
“The energy in the building really feeds our defensive intensity,” Tony Allen said. “We all feel it.”
Now, the Celtics need to find a way to replace that energy with focus.
“Mental toughness,” Allen added. “Guys staying together and knowing what our goal is and everybody knowing what their role is when we get down there. And I think that’ll get the win.”
Ray Allen remembered 2008 after Game 5 Sunday night. Those finals ended with a celebration on the parquet. But if the Celtics can win once more, this celebration will be just as sweet.
“That’s the beautiful thing about this whole situation,” Allen said. “The circumstances that have been before us all playoffs long. We never had home court advantage except for the first round. We had to win on the other team’s floor. We talked about what team we’re going to play in the first round. I remember sitting in the locker room and we’re watching Miami and Milwaukee play and we’re talking about where we want to go.
“It seemed like so long ago. At the same time, we had to beat Miami on their home floor, we had to beat everybody on their floor in order for us to advance. We’ve been in this position before. I think the guys mentally are ready for it. We’ll get prepared and get ready to get it done.”
|Why Game 6 is still just another game||at 2:12 am ET|
One team is a game away from a championship, the other could be 48 minutes away from the end of its season.
Following the Celtics’ Game 5 victory, Kobe Bryant had a steady focus looking ahead to Tuesday’s matchup.
“We have a challenge, obviously, down 3-2,” he said. “We let a couple of opportunities slip away. But it is what it is. Now you go home, you’ve got two games at home that you need to win, and you pull your boots up and get to work.”
The Celtics also are staying even-keeled. They won’t let themselves look too far ahead and look past the keys to getting a clinching win.
“You have the tendency to look ahead,” Ray Allen said. “But for us it’s like you have to mentally block it out. All day tomorrow, you have to think about what you need to do, how you need to rest, the small things you need to do to start the game off. … To achieve that we want, it’s going to take everybody to do the things they do. We can’t leave any stone unturned, we can’t take any shortcuts.”
|Celtics video: Inside the locker room||at 1:48 am ET|
|Allen fights through difficult time||at 1:09 am ET|
As soon as Ray Allen walked off the floor Sunday night following the Celtics‘ Game 5 win, he was greeted by his son Walker, who had a giant smile on his face. The night was an extra cheerful one for Allen, because he was forced to rush his son to the hospital early Saturday morning when Walker’s blood sugar dipped to an unsafe level. Following the win, Allen spoke to the media about a difficult 48 hours.
“It’s just tough to deal with with my son having diabetes, you know,” Allen said. “You do everything you can, but his body just wasn’t operating correctly. And as a family, we try to figure out what you can do at home. And it got to a point where it was about 12:45, 1 o’clock at night, he wanted to fall asleep, but we couldn’t let him fall asleep because his blood sugar was dipping into the 50s and 40s.”
Walker’s blood sugar dipped so low, he had to be rushed to the hospital around 1:30 in the morning.
“As parents, you try not to panic and try not to get unnerved,” Allen said. “We got him to the hospital, we got him situated, so he’s better now. And hopefully, we can keep him at the point he is now.”
Ironically, Allen found out his son was diagnosed with diabetes before Game 5 of the 2008 NBA finals. This time around, Allen was forced to go through an eerily similar experience. But in the end, everything turned out OK, and his son was able to attend the game.
“It meant a great deal to me because he doesn’t like missing games. Even if all the kids stay home, he wants to be at the games and he wants to wear green.”
Allen was excused from practice on Saturday but still attended. He finished Sunday’s game with 12 points, three rebounds and two assists. He was 0-for-4 behind the 3-point line.
|Last run for C’s? Maybe not||06.11.10 at 12:40 pm ET|
Doc Rivers noted Friday that the team’s uncertain future has not been a regular topic of concersation in the locker room. “No, we don’t talk about it at all,” Rivers said. “I’ve said that — I said it in the middle of the year. I think hopefully we sign Ray back — I think I can say that. If not, I just got fined.”
Rivers also said that he thinks Kevin Garnett will be better next season as he moves further away from his knee surgery. As for the notion that this is the last run for the Celtics, Rivers disagreed. “We don’t think that,” he said. “I think everyone outside of us, a lot of people do.”
|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.”
|Pierce not concerned with offensive struggles||06.07.10 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.’