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Kobe credits Celtics defense 06.11.10 at 2:20 am ET
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Paul Pierce wouldn’t budge on the effectiveness of Ron Artest‘s defense. Kobe Bryant, though, was more generous with his praise after the Celtics Game 4 victory.

After shooting 10-for-22 for the second time this series, Bryant admitted the Celtics are doing their job on defense.

“They’re a great scheming team,” he said following the Celtics’ 96-89 win. “They have a strategy in place and they execute extremely well. I feel pretty comfortable. Wasn’t pleased with the way I took care of the ball tonight. I thought I did a horrible job of that. But it’s a great defense.”

The Celtics forced seven turnovers on Bryant, the most he committed since May 4 against the Jazz. He entered the game averaging just over three per game.

After the Lakers loss, Bryant denied questions of a tweaked knee or any type of exhaustion. The Celtics defense was simply effective.

Said Bryant, “Oh, it’s right up there with the best of them.”

Read More: Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Lakers, Paul Pierce
WEEI locker room video: Ron Artest 06.07.10 at 1:20 am ET
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LOS ANGELES — Lakers forward Ron Artest speaks to the media following the Celtics’ Game 2 victory at Staples Center. Artest talked about his overall performance and the play of Ray Allen.

Read More: NBA Finals, Ray Allen, Ron Artest,
Jackson: It’s going to be highly charged 06.06.10 at 7:42 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — The Lakers took Game 1 of the NBA finals in such a decisive manner that it would be tempting for them to think that they have things figured out against the Celtics. However, they have no illusions that Game 2 is going to resemble Game 1.

“It may have been first-game jitters,” Ron Artest said Friday. “We’re not expecting another game like that at all. They had a tough road in the East and faced a lot of adversity. That team, the Celtics, is special. We all respect that.”

Phil Jackson reiterated that point Sunday before Game 2.

“The response is usually, not always but usually, the team that has taken a loss,” Jackson said. “The adjustments and the response and we anticipate that’s going to happen tonight. It’s going to be a much more tight game, I think, going down the stretch. We anticipate the game is going to be highly-charged, there’s no doubt about that.”

For their part, the atmosphere in the Celtics locker room was business-like. Assistant coach Tom Thibodeau was spotted poring over film, while players mostly brushed off media inquiries.

In terms of adjustments, the Celtics aren’t tipping their hand although it seems likely that Paul Pierce may see more time on Kobe Bryant, particularly if Ray Allen gets in foul trouble again. Marquis Daniels is also on the active list and if nothing else he’s another body to throw at Bryant.

“We do what we do,” Doc Rivers said. “We didn’t do it. You can’t start changing because that’s not who you are and that would affect your team more than anything.”

Read More: Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, Ron Artest,
Lakers get cash for drawing charges 06.02.10 at 2:28 pm ET
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Lakers coach Phil Jackson has tried every approach he can to get his players to take charges. The coach’s strategy includes insulting them — calling his big men “thin-chested” — as well as offering $50 cash for each charge.

“To motivate us in a way to take charges and getting away with it,” Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic told ESPN’s Shelley Smith.

Vujacic said the Lakers see an opportunity to get some spending money vs. the Celtics.

“Their whole team is kind of a charging possibility taking team,” he said. ” We’ve just got to be smart. They are a very smart team that can go from block to a charge, so we’ve been working a lot on charges and how to take them and stuff, so, we’ll see.”

The ESPN story indicated the money comes from players’ fines — for example, the team collects $25 from a player every time he gets called for illegal defense. Assistant coach Frank Hamblen said Lamar Odom has been keeping the pot full.

“I mean, I just pencil him in every night for illegal defense,” Hamblen said. “I ask him every night: ‘Lamar, you know the illegal defense rules, don’t you?’ ”

Hamblen said the Lakers haven’t had many takers in the charge-drawing sweepstakes. At least one player isn’t interested in that strategy.

“I don’t even know how to take a charge,” Ron Artest said. “To get the charge, you have to fall. I’d rather not fall. You call an offensive foul [on the New York playgrounds], possibly be a fight. That’s just how we grew up playing basketball.”

Read More: Celtics, charge, Lakers, Lamar Odom
Sounds of the game… Rockets 89, Celtics 85 01.08.09 at 8:14 am ET
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You can sense the concern growing each and every day. What was a juggernaut headed for 70+ wins two weeks ago is now a team that has lost three straight, six of eight and in second place, IN ITS OWN CONFERENCE. Talk about a change of direction. The Celtics haven’t hit a bump in the road, they’ve hit a Boston-sized pothole that has messed up their alignment and they desperately need a trip to the garage to get it fixed. Problem is their next pit stop is against the Cavaliers, the team ahead of them in the East, in Cleveland Friday night where they haven’t lost at home this season in 18 games. Wednesday night, someone named Von Wafer drilled a three with 44 seconds remaining and the Celtics couldn’t overcome Yao Ming’s 26 points as Houston handed the Green their sixth loss in eight games since Christmas.

Head coach Doc Rivers is philosophical about the losing ways of late.

Rivers thinks the defense at the end of games is what needs to improve.

Paul Pierce says the team needs to get back to trusting each other again.

Pierce says this is where Ubuntu comes in handy.

Kevin Garnett says the team needs some good practice time together.

Ron Artest says last year’s Celtics taught the Rockets a good lesson.

Ray Allen says the Celtics need to be tougher against hungry teams.

Allen isn’t worried about facing Cleveland on Friday night.

Glen Davis said the Celtics will be ready for the Cavs on Friday.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cavaliers, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
Watch that temper… 11.25.08 at 1:28 pm ET
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Kendrick Perkins will never be compared to bad boys Ron Artest or Rasheed Wallace, at least if he can find a way from earning technical fouls as fast as he hauls in rebounds.

Perkins didn’t come into the season intending to become the NBA’s new bad boy. But if people want to draw that comparison after drawing eight technical fouls in the first 15 games of the season, then so be it.

“It doesn’t matter, they’re two great players in this league so I hope so,” Perkins said following Tuesday’s practice. “Nobody is getting under my skin. I really start all the problems. It’s not like they’re starting stuff with me. I pretty much start everything.”

One of those eight techs occurred with Jermaine O’Neal (below) in the Nov. 10 game against Toronto. 
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Celtics captain Paul Pierce is more than experienced in the ways of emotional warfare on the court.

“I use it to get in my opponents’ heads,” Pierce said Tuesday. “I don’t use it to start anything. I use it to frustrate my opponent, sort of what Larry Bird used to do in the day, Michael (Jordan), Gary Payton, these guys. I use it more as a tactic. I’m not trying to fight anybody. I do it in practice.”

Perkins, meanwhile, has always had a fierce but quiet demeanor on the court.

“I don’t really worry about it. It is what it is. They’re either going to like me or they’re not. I’m not saying anything to them. I’m just going to go out there and play my game. I’m an emotional guy but it’s not anything I can’t change. I can control it. It’s more getting into with (other players) than anything.”

Now, this season, opposing players have chosen to ride the Celtics big man to see if they can draw him into verbal, and sometimes, physical encounters that result in technical fouls.

Well, 15 games into the season, Perkins has eight. Under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, if you collect 16, you earn yourself a seat on the bench in civilian clothes for a game.

Not what Doc Rivers and the Celtics are looking for.

“Last year was more techs toward the refs,” said Perkins, who picked up his eighth T on Sunday, jabbing and jarring with Jose Calderon in Toronto. “This year is more getting into with people. I’ve just been trying to keep my head. Last game, I wasn’t trying to get a tech. I’m trying to get it overturned.”

But in fairness to Perkins, Rivers was quick to point out that he thinks at least two of the instances should be reviewed and repealed.

“I’m concerned,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, sounding somewhat worried about Perkins’ rep. “We’re sending a lot of the tapes to the league because a lot of the double-technicals are where someone saying something to him and he turns around and they get a double-tech. That’s, to me, where the officials have to do their job. I think it’s easy to say say, ‘double-technical’ instead of saying this guy started it. We’re going to try to get a couple of them rescinded. It won’t happen but we’re going to try.”

Rivers then had this message for Perk.

“You want them to be emotional but not be emotionally sabotaged,” Rivers said.

Perk wasn’t looking for any shelter on Tuesday, continuing his reputation on the team as a stand-up guy.

“I blame it on myself,” he said. “I’m a man. Nobody makes me do that. I do it on my own. It’s very hard because you’re emotional and you’re going to get into with sometimes, especially at the position I play, you’re going to bang with people a lot. It’s a lot of physical contact. It gets emotional at times.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Double-technicals, Jermaine O'Neal
Pierce Stiff But OK 10.11.08 at 10:27 pm ET
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Paul Pierce knows he’s in for a battle whenever he goes up against Ron Artest. So while Artest’s tough play seemed uncharacteristic for most preseason games, Pierce was not surprised at all.

“That’s Ron,” Pierce said. “He plays like that preseason, summer league, regular season. That’s the way he plays.”

Artest’s hustle was tough enough to send Pierce to the locker room in the first quarter with a stinger.

“It’s a little stiff. I’ve got a crick in my neck but I’m going to be alright,” Pierce said.

The Celtics captain knows Artest is only the beginning of opponents who will be gunning for him this season.

“You’ve got to understand, when you’re the champs people are going to come at you whether it’s preseason, regular season,” he said. “We’ve just got to be ready for it.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce, Ron Artest,
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