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Kobe Bryant Likes Game 3′s

D073786024.JPGThat Kobe Bryant has had a plethora of outstanding playoff games in the last two seasons isn’t exactly breaking news.

Um, duh.

Yet some of Bryant’s best performances have come in Game 3′s, which is not likely a coincidence since each of those games has been L.A.’s first road contest in their past seven playoff series, when No. 24′s sheer will in front of hostile fan bases can be most useful.

While L.A. has gone 3-4 in those games, it has won both times in which the series was tied at 1-1 (at Denver and at Houston last season), and went 1-4 when going up 2-0, perhaps signifying something about the opposing team’s desperation.

Here’s a look at what Bryant’s managed to do on an individual basis in those games heading into Tuesday evening’s Game 3 in Boston.

2010
Game 3 @ Oklahoma City (101-96 L): 24 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals
Game 3 @ Utah (111-110 W): 35 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal
Game 3 @ Phoenix (118-108 L): 36 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block
Game 3 @ Boston (we’ll see shortly)

2009
Game 3 @ Utah (88-86 L*): 18 points, 6 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals
Game 3 @ Houston (108-94 W): 33 points, 3 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals
Game 3 @ Denver (103-97 W): 41 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals
Game 3 @ Orlando (108-104 L): 31 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds
*This was Bryant’s only really poor Game 3, but he bounced back for 38 points on 16-of-24 shooting in L.A.’s Game 4 win.

Lakers Eager For Game 3 Start

60665987After a tough Game 2 loss in which the Lakers struggled to execute down the stretch against the Celtics, L.A. boarded a 9 a.m. Monday flight to Boston in advance of Tuesday evening’s Game 3 in Beantown.

The team didn’t practice, but would meet to watch film at the team hotel, to which there was a police escort from the airport (getting to the Finals has its advantages).

Nonetheless, several of the players spoke after Sunday’s game, which sheds some light on the team’s mindset heading into Game 3.

Below are selected comments from Andrew Bynum, Derek Fisher, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom.

Q. How important is it that you’re out there just for keeping other guys in the rotation and Pau at the 4 spot?
ANDREW BYNUM: You know, it’s important for me especially to go out and get easy buckets for us and just protect our rotation and really understand how I can hurt this team going out and getting easy buckets, getting in an open position, shooting over the top. Defensively taking up space, clogging the lane and being able to help out like that.

Q. Talk about what you have to go through in therapy to get into the game, or is it you’re just going to play no matter what?
ANDREW BYNUM: I’m going to play no matter what. I’ve made that decision already. I’m ready to carry out, and I think on Sunday we’re going to come out focused and be able to really withstand the energy that they’re going to come out with because they realize that going down 2 0 is going to be catastrophical (sic). That’s our goal tomorrow, just get that win no matter what.

Q. (On his knee):
ANDREW BYNUM: I am, but it just depends on how much swelling is in there. When I’m limping it’s because the muscles aren’t firing correctly, which is why we want to get this done as quickly as possible, also.

Q. Is it getting worse?
ANDREW BYNUM: It’s getting a little bit more swollen day in and day out. But like I said, the treatment kind of suppresses it and keeps it to a level of where we can handle it.

Q. As far as the second game is concerned, if you play like you practice, you guys are ready to go.
DEREK FISHER: Well, we have to do a few things better than we did at practice today and even in Game 1. We’ll have to be better. But we’re definitely trying to make sure that we’re keeping our eyes on the prize and we’re staying really locked in on the things we need to accomplish out there on the floor. Today we got some good work in. Seems like the air was up a little bit higher so we all got a good sweat and got after it a little bit. It was fine.

Q. It will be a little more physical, too.
DEREK FISHER: I’m sure it will be. The referees will control the game in terms of making sure guys are playing basketball. It’s going to be physical, aggressive. Both teams are going to be really laying everything out there on the line. It’s a very important game. We’re not really resting on what we accomplished in Game 1. All of our focus is on this one game here tomorrow.

Q. How much does the officiating make you adjust as the game goes on?
DEREK FISHER: I mean, completely. The referees aren’t in control of necessarily how I play in terms of your focus, your attention, the things you’re trying to do out there. But if they decide to call a tighter game and make sure things don’t get out of hand, it’s something you have to adjust to and still try to figure out how to be effective out there on the floor, either. You have to trust if you get into a bad situation or you pick up a couple fouls extra that you have guys next to you that can pick up the slack and get the job done.

Q. (On improvements that need to be made):
DEREK FISHER: You know, I think just some of the things that aren’t related to shooting and who is getting the ball and what number a guy is, really I guess what we call the 50/50 balls, where the ball is free and the first team to it, who’s taking charge, who’s boxing out and getting rebounds, who’s setting good screens, all the little things that don’t really show up in the stats sheet but things that add up to success in basketball. I think those are the things you can continue to point to because the talent that lies on both teams, I think you’re going to see good basketball being played, but it’s going to be those little things that make the difference.

Q. How do you expect them to bounce back for Game 2?
RON ARTEST: I think they’re going to play real hard. You know, I think Perkins is going to settle down and adjust to the situation he’s in with the six techs, and I can see them playing better.

Q. How do you expect them to come out and play in Game 2?
LAMAR ODOM: I expect a tough game. I expect the game to be played underneath the basket. I think the referees did a great job of controlling the game, making the calls they needed to make so it didn’t get too out of hand. I expect another fun game.

Celtics Snatch Home Court with Game 2 Win

60663132Two days after the Lakers posted an impressive 102-89 home victory over Boston in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Celtics returned the favor with a 103-94 victory in Game 2 that took home court advantage away from L.A.

Behind seven first half three-pointers from Ray Allen – one short of the Finals record he’d set in the third quarter – Boston led by as many as 14 before the Lakers took a lead early in the third and went into the fourth tied at 72-all.

L.A. did lead by as many as three when Kobe Bryant hit a baseline jumper with 5:21 remaining, but the home team couldn’t generate anything offensively from that point on, turning the ball over and clanking shots as Boston closed the game on a 16-7 run.

“It’s a disappointing loss for our ball club,” said Pau Gasol, who himself was terrific with 25 points, eight rebounds and six blocks. “They did a good job, really executed and had a good game plan. We definitely need to make sure we hustle a little more; they got to the ball tonight a lot of times quicker than we did.”

Getting to the ball quicker was most notable for Boston on the offensive glass, where they matched L.A.’s Game 1 effort with 13 rebounds, four of which came from Rajon Rondo, who finished the contest with a 19-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple-double. More importantly, Rondo hit the game’s key shot when left open for a 20-foot jumper that opened a 95-90 lead with 1:59 remaining, and at the other end notched a block of a Derek Fisher three and steal of Bryant in the final minutes that helped seal the win.

“Tonight he was unbelievable,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “He made the big shot … he just did a lot things, the blocked shots, the steals. He was special tonight.”

60663871Several of Rondo’s early assists went to Allen, who finished with a game-high 32 points, while Glen Davis chipped in eight points and seven boards off the bench in relief of Kevin Garnett, who played just 23 minutes while saddled with foul trouble en route to six points and six assists.

L.A. was out-rebounded by five (44-39), gave up 11 fast break points while scoring just four, and finished with 15 turnovers while shooting 40.8 percent from the field.

Much of the Lakers’ offensive success came from Gasol and Andrew Bynum, who used a playoff-high 39 minutes to score 21 points with six rebounds and seven blocks in his best game of the postseason.

“Our big guys played great,” said Phil Jackson. “We didn’t get the ball often enough to them or in good enough position many times.”

But Bryant, also saddled with foul trouble, finished with 21 points, six assists and five rebounds while having to play the final minutes of the fourth with five personals.

Needless to say, Bryant wasn’t too pleased in his postgame presser.

“We fought pretty hard to get back in the game,” he said. “We let it slip away … It has nothing to do with scoring. We gave them too many easy opportunities (on offense), blew too many assignments. That’s it.”

If a lack of defense particularly down the stretch lost L.A. the game, foul trouble on Lamar Odom for the second straight game and poor shooting nights from Ron Artest and Derek Fisher didn’t help. Odom played only 14 minutes to score three points with five boards, Artest missed all but one of 10 shots even while holding Paul Pierce to 2-of-11 field goals himself, and Fisher made only 2-of-8 field goals.

The Lakers must now turn their attention immediately towards regaining home court advantage by claiming victory for the eighth consecutive playoff series on their opponent’s court, the first chance coming on Tuesday evening in Beantown.

“No doubt it’s a blow to lose the home-court, but we anticipated this might happen,” said Jackson. “We’re just going to have to go pick it up.”

Until then, your numbers:

POSTGAME NUMBERS:
2 Second half turnovers for Boston, which very effectively ran its offense in the fourth quarter in particular to outscore L.A. 31-22.

8 NBA Finals record made three-pointers from Ray Allen, who drained his first seven in the first half and hit another in the third quarter en route to 32 points.

14 NBA Finals single-game record in blocks for the Lakers, thanks mostly to seven swats from Andrew Bynum and six from Pau Gasol.

14:38 Minutes played by Lamar Odom, who for the second straight game was whistled for three fouls early in the contest. He finished with only three points and five boards.

21 Playoff-career-high tying points from Bynum, in addition to his seven blocks and six boards, in a terrific individual effort.

Celtics 103, Lakers 94: Finals Game 2 Diary

60664509Lakers – Celtics Gameday Page
After an impressive 101-89 Game 1 victory, the Lakers looked to hold home court heading to Boston for Games 3-5. We were there to make sure you didn’t miss a thing:

Inactives
Lakers: Adam Morrison
Celtics: Tony Gaffney

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Game 2 Video Preview
Assistant coach Frank Hamblen joined us to preview Game 2 against Boston, explaining why he expects a much better all-around effort from the Celtics, citing the importance of again controlling the glass, detailing how the Lakers want to better move the basketball on offense and more. CLICK HERE to watch.

Coaches Pregame Pressers
Phil Jackson spent the initial moments of his press conference discussing Tex Winter’s receiving of the NBA Coaches Association 2010 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award along with Dr. Jack Ramsey. “It’s heartwarming to see two guys you looked up to as a coach receive an award,” he said. Jackson also said he expected Game 2 to be much tighter than Game 1 down the stretch.

60664191First Quarter
8:35 The Lakers looked terrific in the first two minutes, forcing tough Celtics’ shots while scoring seven straight points to take a 7-2 lead. It was then good news, bad news for Boston as a 6-0 run featured two straight transition layups, but Garnett was called for his second personal foul.

4:38 Wasn’t this supposed to be a tough, grind-it-out defensive battle? Instead, offensive execution was the story of the opening minutes, as both teams checked in at over 60 percent from the field. Ray Allen carried Boston by making 4-of-5 shots for 10 points (including two threes), while Bynum and Gasol combined to make 5-of-6 shots for 12 total points in an 19-18 Lakers’ lead.

0:27.7 In Game 1, the Lakers noticeably missed the presence of Lamar Odom, who picked up three fouls off the bench almost immediately, getting called for a charge on Pierce for his third with 10:20 left in the second. Unfortunately for L.A., Odom last only three minutes in the first quarter before picking up his third yet again, fouling Pierce twice on defense and then – again – getting called for a charge of Pierce at the other end. Meanwhile, the Celtics went on a 9-2 run and smiled as the Lakers got away from running their offense crisply to close the quarter up 29-22.

60664238Second Quarter
9:52 While Odom’s output off the bench hurt L.A. for the second straight game, quick offense from Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown while attacking the hoop produced a 4-0 run. However, Farmar and Brown followed up by taking deep perimeter jumpers, and Boston used the second miss to get Allen a wide-open three in transition, which swished through to put the Celtics up 36-26. While L.A.’s offense had completely stalled, worse was the nine fastbreak points for Boston after just five in all of Game 1.

6:53 Time for the proverbial NBA JAM “He’s on fire!” reference. Allen continued to punish the Lakers in a big way, nailing his fifth three in as many attempts after Brown sagged off Allen to help on non-offensive threat Kendrick Perkins. As L.A. continued to struggle at the other end, Boston built its lead up to 14 points at 42-28.

3:47 After making just one of his first seven shots, Bryant hit a deep jumper, missed pull-up three, stole an outlet pass to draw two free throws and finally hit a pull-up jumper. Clearly, he was trying to assert his will offensively after L.A. struggled considerably early despite his five first quarter assists. But moments later, it was more bad news for the Lakers as Allen flopped to draw Bryant’s third personal, about which the fans were furious. To rub it in, Allen hit his seventh three – tying an NBA Finals record – in seven attempts to reach 27 first half points.

0:02.7 After a really poor all-around first half, L.A. got a lifeline as in-the-game-only-because-of-three-fouls-on-Perkins-and-Garnett Shelden Williams threw away a rebound with four seconds remaining to a crashing-in Bryant near midcourt. Kobe took a step, pulled up and drained a deep three to make it just a six-point Celtics lead (54-48) at the break. Seven Allen threes, foul trouble for Kobe and Odom, lack of Gasol touches and poor shooting, but just a six-point deficit? L.A. would certainly take it.

60664232Third Quarter
10:02 It was almost as if halftime didn’t exist as the Lakers rolled off an immediate 9-2 run to build on the 7-0 spurt that closed the half (16-2 total). Back-to-back hoops from Bryant and Gasol followed a corner three and 1-of-2 free throws from both Artest and Bynum to do the damage.

6:50 One player who’d been terrific throughout and a huge matchup problem for Boston was Bynum. He used his size advantage inside first for an alley-oop dunk from Gasol, then drew KG’s fourth foul (he’d drawn No. 4 on Perkins earlier) before hitting both free throws to reach 16 points, putting L.A. up 63-61.

3:28 Allen’s eighth three made him the sole holder of a new NBA Finals record, but Fisher’s pull-up J in transition tied the score at 68 heading into a time out.

0:36.7 Fittingly, Gasol hit the final shot of a terrific individual third quarter in which he scored 10 points to reach a team-high 24, but Boston played the Lakers even after L.A.’s initial burst, which produced a 72-all tie heading into what promised to be a terrific fourth quarter.

60663918Fourth Quarter
11:15 Well, that wasn’t what L.A. had in mind. Bryant was whistled for his fifth foul on a charge drawn by Big Baby, but Phil Jackson decided to trust him enough to leave him in.

9:12 A Vujacic three and Bynum dunk erased Boston’s brief four-point lead, but just-checked-in Lil’ Nate Robinson pulled up for a three, then scored off a Tony Allen steal to give Boston an 83-80 lead.

6:16 Bynum somehow caught a lobbed pass from Odom between two defenders and promptly laid the ball in to match a playoff career-high with 21 points, not to mention his playoff career high seven blocks and six rebounds, putting the Lakers up two, as the teams traded blows.

1:12 Then things went drier than the Sahara for L.A., who had not scored a single point in over four minutes. Bryant’s jumper with 5:21 remaining was literally the team’s only bucket of that stretch, as Boston reeled off a 11-0 run over that period to take a commanding 98-90 lead.

0:47.1 Bryant finally stopped the drought with a deep three before Rondo made 1-of-2 free throws, but Kobe turned the ball over on the next possession as Rondo poked it away from behind. Bynum then fouled Rondo at the other end, and he hit 1-of-2 again to make it a 100-93 lead with 33 seconds left.

0:00 That would be all for the Lakers, who’d lose their first home playoff game of the 2010 campaign, 103-94. Stay tuned for postgame coverage on Lakers.com.

2011 All-Star Logo Unveiled

11aslogo_500Almost one year after announcing Los Angeles as the host for the 60th NBA All-Star Game on February 20, 2011, we now have a logo.

NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver was joined by AEG President & CEO Timothy Leiweke, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Clipper guard Eric Gordon and Laker legend James Worthy, along with the majority of the national basketball media, in a ceremony prior to Game 2 of the Finals to unveil the primary mark for All-Star Weekend 2011.

“We’re looking forward to being back here in Los Angeles for our All Star Weekend or what’s really become a week now. It becomes the center of the basketball world for a week,” said Silver. “I guess this is the center of the basketball world today, but we’ll be doing it again here for a week, and it’s also, as James can attest to, become a reunion for NBA players, as well.”

All-Star Weekend festivities will begin February 18th with the Rookie/Sophmore Game and be followed the next day by All-Star Saturday night.

This will be the fifth time the All-Star Game has been played in Los Angeles and the second time at STAPLES Center. Click here to see photos from the 2004 game.

Tex Winter Receives Coaching Honor

texPrior to Sunday’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals between Boston and L.A., coaching legend Tex Winter received the NBA Coaches Association 2010 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award alongside Dr. Jack Ramsay.

“It’s heartwarming to see two guys you looked up to as a coach receive an award,” said Lakers head coach and devotee to Winter’s Triangle Offense Phil Jackson.

Winter took the podium in the STAPLES Center press room briefly to thank the Coaches Association for the honor, while receiving a hearty ovation from those in attendance as Mavericks coach and Coaches Association President Rick Carlisle presented the honors.

“To receive an award like this from my peers is one of the highlights of my career,” said Winter.

In a release from the Coaches Association, Winter was described as follows:

An exceptionally successful coach on the college level, Tex brought his passion, intense study of the game and strategic thinking to the NBA where he has been a key contributor to an amazing ten NBA Championship teams. Tex’s refinement and introduction of the now famed “Triangle Offense” into the NBA revolutionized the game and how it was coached.

Video Preview: Game 2 vs. Boston

Lakers assistant coach Frank Hamblen joined us after Saturday morning’s practice session to detail the team’s plans heading into Sunday’s Game 2 against Boston, in which L.A. will look to build upon a 101-88 Game 1 victory.

Hamblen explained why he expects a much better all-around effort from the Celtics, cited the importance of again controlling the glass, detailed how the Lakers want to better move the basketball on offense and more.

To watch, click play above.

1-on-1 Video: Sasha Vujacic

It’s no coincidence that Sasha Vujacic is good at getting around screens, as noted throughout the season by no less authority than Phil Jackson.

After all, Vujacic’s a shooter himself that has spent time throughout his basketball life running around the screens set by his teammates to enable clean looks at the rim.

As Vujacic explained to us after L.A.’s Friday afternoon workout at STAPLES Center following the team’s Game 1 victory over Boston*, his ability to run around screens on offense has directly helped him when it comes to chasing opponents around similarly set screens when he’s defending.
*The Slovenian also gave his overall impressions of L.A.’s effort, talked about the additions of Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest in the Boston matchup and offered his keys to Sunday’s Game 2. Click play above to watch.

With Derek Fisher being called for two personal fouls in the first two minutes of Thursday’s contest, Jackson called up Vujacic to guard Boston’s Ray Allen, perhaps the league’s best at running around screens (unless you want to make an argument for Rip Hamilton).

As it turned out, Allen only got two shots off in five first quarter minutes, making one, before heading to the bench with two fouls of his own.

Vujacic did his job, if only for a short spell, and knows it won’t be the only time he’s called upon to chase Allen all over the floor in the series.

Kobe Bryant 6-4 Practice Quotes

60638738Here’s what Kobe Bryant had to say following L.A.’s Friday practice:

Q. This Finals coming up we’ve got another set of finals coming up, the World Cup Finals. I know you’re a big soccer fan. I was wondering whether you’ll be watching team USA and whether you reckon USA will have a chance of upsetting.
KOBE BRYANT: I’ll follow them every chance.

Q. Are you going to be watching?
KOBE BRYANT: If I can, yeah.

Q. How much different is Kevin Garnett this year as opposed to the 2008 version?
KOBE BRYANT: I don’t know, I don’t really see much of a difference. He looks fine to me.

Q. He’s playing at the same level as 2008 you think?
KOBE BRYANT: He looks fine to me. He seems to be everywhere.

Q. A lot of people are talking about how you’re a man on a mission, and you even joked about, quote, being surly yesterday. But your attitude, just this man on a mission attitude, has it changed any since maybe early last decade when you were winning the titles? Does it come with being more of a veteran? Does it come with having those three years in a row where you didn’t make the playoffs and you lost in the first round? Maybe you could elaborate on that?
KOBE BRYANT: Yeah, I mean, just comes from understanding opportunities not coming along very often and making sure you focus in and take full advantage of it. Early in my career it’s like we’d pop up, we’d win three straight, and after that there was a drought. So now it’s just i want to make sure we don’t leave any stones unturned.

Q. Just realizing as you get older and you’ve got to take even more advantage
KOBE BRYANT: Absolutely. You can’t let any opportunities go to waste.

Q. Could you sense at all Ray Allen getting frustrated with the fouls trying to defend you last night? And are you more comfortable against this defense now than you were two years ago when James Posey played you a lot back then? Is this one a little easier for you individually?
KOBE BRYANT: No, you know, they’ve never played me with one guy. That’s never been whether it was Posey, whether it’s Ray, whether it’s Paul, they do a great job of surrounding me with other bodies and making sure I have guys in front of me all the time. So it’s really not a match up with me and Ray, it’s really me trying to find gaps and holes in their defensive scheme and the help that they provide.

60631431Q. What do you make of just all the attention the free agents are getting while The Finals are actually going on, especially LeBron whose been on national TV, Larry King and such? What do you make of all that attention being on that and maybe not as much on The Finals?
KOBE BRYANT: I don’t care about attention. It doesn’t mean anything to me.

Q. Your finger is maybe still not 100 percent. How do you characterize how you’re playing through all that stuff?
KOBE BRYANT: You just try to get as healthy as you can for every game and you go out there and just do your best. You just forget about the injuries and put your hardhat on and go to work.

Q. Talk about the difference this series is for Andrew. The last couple ones have been up tempo but now he has a more traditional series. He seems excited more so about this series than the past two. What do you think about how he fits here?
KOBE BRYANT: I mean, he’s excited about the series. His match up with Kendrick is a good one for him. Kendrick is a hell of a defender on the low post, so he was excited about that. The last series was tough for him, Oklahoma series, as well, because he did a lot of running and he had guys that were really fast, and it’s tough for his knee to get up and down that much.
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Phil Jackson’s 6-4 Practice Quotes

60633181Here’s what Phil Jackson had to say after Friday’s practice session at STAPLES Center:

Q. Everybody talks about Kobe, man on a mission, super serious attitude. Do you see much of a difference in Kobe now in that regard than earlier in the last decade when he was winning titles? Does it come with being more of a veteran or maybe did it come more after he won three years in a row with not once making the playoffs and twice being ousted in the first round?
PHIL JACKSON: Um, I think he’s always been a person that’s been extremely capable of concentrating and focusing on what he has to get accomplished. At some point I thought perhaps he had a more myopic view of it in his 20s, early 20s, when I first got here with the Los Angeles Lakers. The second year, or even in the first playoff, he started expanding his vision, and I think that comes with his dedication to the details of the game. So some of it I thought was about making plays. Now he’s capable of making the play that makes the play. That’s a big distinction. In hockey we still give them an assist, but in basketball we don’t. That’s a big distinction as to making the team react to what he’s doing so he can create an offensive opportunity for somebody else.

Q. Did it perhaps add more hunger when he had that three year stretch not once making the playoffs?
PHIL JACKSON: Oh, he couldn’t live with it. Kobe can’t live with not competing at the top level. He doesn’t understand that. We had many conversations early in his career about what it would be like when Shaq had retired and they weren’t going on together as a combo, and he never, ever saw himself in the position not to win. He thought that was his destiny.

Q. With all the talk about physicality in this series, the first game last night had 67 free throws. Is there any concern that this could just turn into a free throw competition? And is there anything that can be done to avoid that?
PHIL JACKSON: You know, I thought that the onset of the game created kind of a warning level for the referees who then called the game very close and very tight. You know, some of the things were just post up opportunities that guys got called on, which normally in this game probably wouldn’t be called. But because of the contact in the early part of the game, I think that that was the reason they might have been called. So I think that’s not going to be the normal activity. No one wants to see a team shoot 67 free throws in a ballgame, but that’s still part of the game, and that’s the process you have to adjust to the game as the game goes on, to how the game is being refereed, and we tell players that consistently, that you have to play beyond the refereeing, not above it or whatever, but just beyond it. Just play beyond it.

Q. So much of the talk after Game 1 was how physical you guys were and not Boston so much. Do you expect the Celtics to come out in Game 2 and really kind of push the physical envelope?
PHIL JACKSON: You know, there’s a difference between being aggressive and being physical, and I think that the distinction was made last night by Doc right here at the podium when he said that perhaps the Lakers were the aggressor. That’s a big difference. You know, it’s not about this is not a contact sport, we know that. Maybe it is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport. But this is not about power. This is a game about finesse and activity, and the activity is what creates the aggressiveness, I think, and that’s the context that I think we want to get this game to as coaches and as the NBA and everything else. We’re not talking about guys beating each other up and that type of stuff. So the physical context, yes, you’re going to be physical in the game, but it’s about being aggressive.
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