Monthly Archive for June, 2008

Page 5 of 8

The Finals Game 2: What Went Right/Wrong

What Went Right:
• The Lakers embarked on a furious fourth quarter rally, cutting what was once a 24 point deficit to just two points in the final two minutes. However, after fouling Paul Pierce on the ensuing possession, the purple and gold were unable to seal the deal.

• After being badly outrebounded by 13 in Game 1, the Lakers did a much better job on the boards in Game 2, muscling down 36 rebounds compared to 37 for the Celtics. Pau got his usual 10 boards, but it was Radmanovic who surprised on Sunday with 10 of his own.

• Kobe was still hindered by Boston’s superb defense, but he had a much better effort in Game 2 after a dismal 9-26 shooting night in Game 1, chipping in 30 points (11-23 shooting) in Game 2 to fuel L.A.’s near monumental comeback.

• Although he didn’t impact the game much after Boston’s defense closed in on him in the second quarter, Gasol’s stat line for Game 2 still shows that he had a solid night, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Continue reading ‘The Finals Game 2: What Went Right/Wrong’

The Finals Game 2: Lakers at Celtics Post-Game

Down by as many as 24 points, the Lakers stormed back against the Celtics in the final minutes of the game, nearly completing an epic comeback for the ages before losing 108-102. After the game, Phil Jackson called into question the massive 38 to 10 free throw disparity between the two teams.

“I’m more struck at the fact that Leon Powe gets more foul shots than our whole team does in 14 minutes of play,” said Jackson. “That’s ridiculous. You can’t play from a deficit like that that we had in that half, 19 to 2 in the first half in situations like that. I’ve never seen a game like that in all these years I’ve coached in The Finals. Unbelievable.”

While, according to Jackson, Powe may have been the beneficiary of a few favorable calls, the forward was still the story of Game 2, scoring 21 points on 6-7 shooting from the field to ignite the Celtic’s bench.

“He played a great game,” said Kobe, who scored 30 points on 11-23 shooting to lead L.A. “I mean, he came in and did what he had to do. I mean, that’s been the mark of this team all year, and in the playoffs when PJ Brown steps in, gives big minutes, Powe comes in, gives big minutes, that’s been the mark of their team. We’ve got to do a better job focusing on personnel, and guys that come into the game trying to contribute, we have to keep them quiet.”

Continue reading ‘The Finals Game 2: Lakers at Celtics Post-Game’

One Hand Washes the Other

080608fenwaygo.jpg
The local sports teams do a great job of supporting one another in this city.

At today’s Red Sox/Mariners game a whole ribbon board was devoted to “Beat L.A.” and other pro Celtics phrases (as pictured above). Why not feed the beast though right? Half the crowd was wearing green today anyway, so give them what they want.

In turn, the Celtics found some very good seats for members of the Patriots at Game 1 and with a day game today a lot of Red Sox are in the building. Mike Lowell is up in a suite, Sox owner John Henry is in row two and Curt Schilling and David Ortiz are courtside.

(Ortiz is sitting next to former Celtic Antoine Walker, who at one point dubbed himself “Employee #8″, one of the best all-time nicknames)

The Celtics also made a point to honor Red Sox pitcher and cancer survivor Jon Lester as part of their “Heroes Among Us” program.

The Finals Game 2: Lakers at Celtics In-Game

Pre-Game

  • Referees for tonight: D. Crawford, B. Delaney, K. Mauer
  • The Boston Pops handle the anthem. I miss James Taylor. Various part of the anthem are drowned out by cheers when a Celtics player is shown and boos when any Lakers are shown. Doc Rivers looked confused during the anthem as weather to sing or just stand at attention.
  • The Centerline that I wrote about yesterday appears much more visible from my angle up here in the hockey pressbox high above the arena floor. The distinction between centerline and trophy sticker is very apparent.
  • Just the starters get the intros tonight, the reserves had their moment in the sun.
  • Another evening of hype, intros, then more waiting before tip. Does America really need Stu Scott’s final thought before we tip? There’s things I miss about watching games on TV and this is not one of them. The crowd tries to carry the impasse, but it’s hard when we’re talking more than five minutes.
  • Both of the Celtics who sustained injuries in Game 1, Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins, are in the starting lineup for the home team tonight.
  • Phil calls a timeout to stop a four-point Celtics run with 5:07 to go in the quarter. The Lakers stretched the lead after Doc Rivers lost his head and drew a technical foul, but this quick run brings us back to a 15-12 Lakers lead. LA has converted on seven of their first 14 shot attempts, but 0-4 on jump shots. Not only that, but every make has been within four feet. Luke Walton replaces Trevor Ariza, whose four minutes of play weren’t stellar, but were only marred by getting burned by Pierce once.

    1st Quarter

  • I hated seeing Kobe take so many jump shots in Game 1, but his first one of the evening is a quality one, a 15-footer from the elbow on a Lakers advantage play. He missed, but it was a much better look than he had been getting.

    Continue reading ‘The Finals Game 2: Lakers at Celtics In-Game’

  • Police Escort

    080608escort.jpg
    The longest it’s taken me to get from hotel to arena entrance so far this trip is 20 minutes. I rode the T (Boston’s subway system) which drops off at North Station right under the arena.

    The standard trip has been about 10 minutes in a cab.

    Today’s trip took about 6 minutes even though we were in a bus. With the aide of a police escort and a bus driver that thought he was behind the wheel of a lambo you can really get some stuff done, even through the narrow streets of Boston.

    Yes it was the same guy that wore the Celtics hat the other day, he got demoted from team duty to third bus family duty. Thank god he’s not responsible for any of the players or coaching staff getting to the game.

    The Finals Game 1: What Went Right/Wrong

    What Went Right:
    • Derek Fisher showed improvement from his disappointing series against the Spurs, tallying 15 points while making 4-9 shots from the field.

    • As been the case for most of the post-season, Ray Allen struggled to find his shot, only making five of 13 field goals. However, he made some big shots down the stretch, absolving him of his poor shooting night.

    • Despite shooting just 42% from the field, the good news for the Lakers is that Boston wasn’t able to do much better, matching the poor shooting number. The difference? The Celtics shot 35 free throws, nailing 28.

    • The Lakers successfully weathered Boston’s early adrenaline onslaught, leading their rivals by five going into the locker room at halftime. Unfortunately, by the end of the third quarter, the Celtics flipped the script and pulled ahead by four.

    • While the offense wasn’t always crisp in Game 1, the purple and gold can’t blame turnovers for their problems as they only gave it away eight times.

    Continue reading ‘The Finals Game 1: What Went Right/Wrong’

    O’Brien Centerline

    080607centerline.jpg
    Much has been made about the refs ability to distinguish where the centerline is after a couple of questionable over and back calls in Game 1. The normal center stripe is obscured by the giant Larry O’Brien trophy sticker that is applied to the floor for the Finals.

    As you can see above (and in the post from media day) the line stops at the trophy, but a set of grey lines cut through the trophy as well as the logo.

    The trophy and “The Finals” script are significantly marked up after just a couple days of use.

    Four Corners

    080607fourcorners.jpg
    While Phil, Kobe and Pau head into the interview room to address the media after practice, the rest of the team deals with the reporters on the floor. Each corner of the floor is given a podium, mic, backdrop, and speaker setup to make it easier for the mass of reporters to get the answers to their questions.

    This particular setup has been Lamar Odom’s home for the past two days.

    Kobe Goes With the Bigs

    080606kobebig.jpg
    The Lakers returned to the Garden floor this morning for a practice session following their 98-88 Game 1 loss to the Celtics last night. When the team came back out from their film session they were broken up into two groups–Bigs (Centers/Power Forwards) and Smalls (Guards/Small Forwards).

    Taller wing players like Trevor Ariza and Sasha Vujacic fall into the Smalls category even though they both go about six-foot-seven because their game is perimeter based. Kobe Bryant on the other hand spent time with the Bigs (as you can see above), working on his high post and baseline moves with Kurt Rambis.

    More from practice to come.

    The Finals Game 1: Lakers vs. Celtics Post-Game

    The Lakers led the Celtics by five at halftime, but were unable to weather a red-hot Paul Pierce in the third quarter as they were outscored 52-37 in the second half on their way to a 98-88 Game 1 loss.

    It was a tale of two halves tonight,” said Coach Jackson after the game. “We had some control in the first half, played the kind of game we wanted to play, and the second half we came out and immediately wiped out the lead we had established in about 20 seconds, a matter of two possessions. So it was quite a flurry that they came out and played that third quarter with, put us back on our heels.”

    Although Kevin Garnett led Boston with 24 points, Paul Pierce shined with 22 points after being carried off the court by his teammates due to a knee injury sustained during an important juncture in the third quarter.

    “A guy grabs his knee, you know, there’s no good thoughts,” said Celtics Coach Doc Rivers. “I was really proud, honestly, of our team during the stretch when he was in the locker room. I thought that was the biggest part of the game. We could have easily felt sorry for ourselves. We actually made a little run there. But then when he came out he was big for us.”

    Continue reading ‘The Finals Game 1: Lakers vs. Celtics Post-Game’