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Sunday Notebook: The Lakers Again, Perk’s Work, Closing Amway

 

The Herald reports that C’s fans have taken to Craigslist to try and negotiate for Finals tickets:

Red Sox fans even are willing to cough up two-for-one deals to anyone lucky enough to have a home seat to the 2010 NBA Finals.

One eager rooter offered his PlayStation 3, a PlayStation Portable and some games for just one ticket. Another tried to trade a new iPhone for C’s ducats.

That was fast. At this rate, we may not even hit the work week before someone emulates the Philly woman who allegedly offered sex in exchange for World Series tickets last year

• Were you waiting for an LA-based columnist to churn out some schlocky, unoriginal jokes to get fans fired up to hate the Celtics? I know I was! So thank you, Ted Green of the LA Times, for taking the mantle from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer‘s Bud Shaw and giving us these gems!

The Celtics cry. They cry more than Best Actress winners at the Oscars. They cry like every game is a wedding. Every time a call goes against them, there will be more tears than Kleenex can handle.

More! More!

But the Celtics’ captain flops more than a large-mouthed bass taking his last breath while dangling from a fishing line at the end of a pier. 

Yes! A flopping joke! I bet I know what comes next—a wheelchair joke. I know you’ll deliver for me, Ted.

Two years ago, he fell during the Finals against the Lakers and went off in a wheelchair. An actual wheelchair! Five minutes later, he was dropping three-pointers all over TD Banknorth Garden. He actually came back into the game with the music from “Rocky” blaring over the public-adress system. Yo, Paulie, that was such a bad con job, Sylvester Stallone is a better actor than your are. 

Oh, yes. Yes. Give me more. Where to next? KG? Ray Allen? How about Ray Allen’s Mom!

[Ray's] also a heckuva nice guy, even though his momma stands up too much and looks like she’s even cockier than K.G.

Onto Rajon Rondo, who has done very little to inspire any hatred, but we can try, right?

He has trouble making open five-footers in empty gyms, much less full arenas. Just remember this kid is, like, 8 years old and already as arrogant as the rest of them.

Should I send Ted to Hoopdata and point out that Rondo makes five-footers more proficiently than almost any point guard in the league? Or is that sort of “research” and “work” not really merited here?

All that’s missing is a Glen Davis fat joke. Come on, Ted. Don’t make me wait any more. 

They call this one Big Baby. Right on both counts. Right now he’s about two Krispy Kremes shy of Stanley Roberts, who ate himself out of the league.

YES! I need a cigarette. 

• Dan Shaughnessy writes a column about himself. Can you tell I’m cranky today? The general theme: He was right about the Celtics all along, which is true, to a point. 

Julian Benbow John Powers at the Globe has a nice profile of Kendrick Perkins that reflects on Perk’s current role and Danny Ainge’s decision to make Perk the first high-schooler the C’s organization ever acquired on draft day:

The Celtics never had taken a high schooler when they swapped with Memphis, who had drafted him 27th overall, and they understood that the Perkins Project would take some time.

“There are risks with all of the players left on the board at 27,’’ general manager Danny Ainge said that day. “But looking down the road in two years, we could be looking back at this draft and be saying we did something special.’’

And Perk understands he absolutely cannot pick up another technical foul:

“Doc always says that the bigger man walks away,’’ he says. “You’ve got to go out there and play basketball. You can’t let guys get in your head.

“There’s going to be a lot of things trying to distract you. You’ve just got to go out there and play Celtic ball.’’

Just check the stats: The C’s are doing great work against opposing front lines. Opposing power forwards have fallen apart against Boston in these playoffs, while centers have ranged from awful (Jermaine O’Neal) to wildly inconsistent (Dwight Howard, Shaq). 

And now comes the best front line the Celtics have faced in the post-season: Pau Gasol, shooting 57 percent in the playoffs; Andrew Bynum, contributing interior defense when he can stay on the court; and Lamar Odom, who just got done slicing through the Phoenix zone for a bundle of offensive rebounds. 

It seems unfair to even suggest it, but Perk, KG and the rest of the C’s front line will have to play even better if the C’s want to beat the Lakers. What a tough, tough job the NBA is in May and June .

• In a separate piece, the Globe’s Julian Benbow lists the payout each playoff team splits depending on how far they get. This is the money the Russell-era C’s always talked about as a key motivator, back in the day when Tommy Heinsohn was selling insurance in the off-season to make extra cash:

The total amount of the 2010 playoff pool is $12 million. As the fourth seed in the East, the Celtics were awarded $142,800. Each team in the first round received $179,092. The prize for reaching the second round was $213,095 for each team. The conference finals payout was $352,137. The team that loses the Finals gets $1,408,168, to the winner’s $2,125,137. To put the numbers in perspective, players and coaches split a $50,000 pool in the 1951 playoffs.

• The Herald’s Steve Bulpett points out something I’ve been thinking a lot about:

For years, the Magic have trumpeted the fact they won the last game played at the hallowed Boston Garden, a 95-92 decision on May 5, 1995, that gave them a 3-1 victory in the former best-of-five first round.

The Celtics didn’t win the last game played at Amway Arena, but by closing out the Eastern Conference finals Friday, they essentially reached down to central Florida and put an NBA padlock on the joint.

I was a senior in high school in 1995, and I genuinely believed the C’s, the 8th seed that season, had a legitimate chance to upset the Magic in the first round. I was in Mexico with some high school buddies doing the cliché American senior year trip when the Magic won Game 1 in Orlando by 47 points. That is not a typo. My friends laughed at me. 

Guess what? The Celtics won Game 2 in Orlando, as Dino Radja, Dominique Wilkins, Sherman Douglas and Dee Brown each scored at least 18 points. 

Orlando won the next two games in Boston by a combined 8 points, and both games were up in the air down the stretch. After Game 4, Shaq, wearing sunglasses because he was already that cool (I’m not being sarcastic, I promise), gave an interview in which he pronounced the Boston Garden closed for business. 

I remember thinking: This is a lot of bravado from a top-seeded team who barely squeaked past an 8th-seed starting Eric Montross at center and asking Dominique Wilkins to carry the scoring load. 

In any case: Amway Arena is closed, as if anyone outside of Orlando actually cares or knows anything about Amway Arena. (Note: This goes for basically any NBA arena at this point, save Madison Square Garden). 

• At ESPNBoston.com, Chris Forsberg has an early preview of the Finals which features this interesting nugget:

The visitors won both regular-season meetings, which would bode well for the Celtics. In fact, Boston is the first NBA finalist with a better record on the road (26-15) than at home (24-17) in the regular season, and is 6-3 away from home this postseason. 

He also raises one of the central questions of this series: How will the Lakers defend Rajon Rondo? The answer is, of course, that they’ll do a lot of different things against Rajon. But I don’t expect Phil Jackson to sic Kobe on Rondo immediately. He has made it clear that he would does not like Bryant guarding star point guards over the course of a full series because it saps Kobe’s energy. He waited until late in the first round, for instance, to try Kobe on Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, and barely had Kobe spend any time on Steve Nash.

But you know it’s coming, and you know Bryant will ignore Rondo just like he did in the ’08 Finals and just like Dwyane Wade, Jared Jeffries and a host of others have done since. The Celtics should be ready for this by now. 

Still: It’ll be Derek Fisher early, and it’ll be Derek Fisher for the bulk of the series. And it’s a match-up Boston has to win, handily, if they are going to beat the Lakers four times in seven games. 

• Last thing: You might want to bookmark Forum Blue & Gold, Silver Screen and Roll and all the great Laker writers at ESPN Los Angeles for the next couple of weeks. These are not rah-rah Lakers sites making Glen Davis fat jokes, so do not be afraid. This is rigorous analysis and good writing, and you will learn about the Lakers by reading them.

  • Rcry

    I actually think Kobe will be guarding Rondo for most of the series because guarding Ray would sap more energy than if he were guarding Rondo. It’d be running around chasing Ray through multiple screens while you could just be laying off of Rondo taking away his passing lanes and hoping Bynum/Gasol can provide the backup when Rondo penetrates.

    Lets hope the Celtics can get a transition game going because that’s really where Rondo will make them pay.

  • willybeamin

    “They cry even after they have to dial 911 to mop up some fallen opponent who’s been mugged and beaten within an inch of his life.”

    “By the way, Pierce’s idea of a fun night is going clubbing and getting stabbed. Good times!”

    Really Ted? This is pretty classless, make light of a situation that almost killed the man. There’s funny and then there’s taking it to far.

  • Kevin

    The piece on Perkins was written by John Powers, author of one of the greatest Celtic books ever, “The Short Season”.

  • Koshal

    I can’t wait to see Rondo destroy Fisher.

  • Berkcelt

    I remember that Orlando series a little bit. I remember Sherm Douglas having an awesome game 2, and I remember being enraged at Dee Brown getting a rebounding foul (Horace Grant pushed *him* off!) at a key point in game 4. Although I was only about 15 at the time and heavily influenced by Tommy :)

  • rondo-is-love

    @willybeamin

    You know, I was thinking the exact same thing. This guy makes Bud Shaw look good. I’m kind of shocked he actually mentioned Ray’s momma. What is this, a high school paper?

    By the way… he has KG listed as number 21. Was that something he did on purpose…??

  • Ersatz

    Re. the, um, writing of Ted Green: And people wonder why newspapers are a dying business.

  • sacbobv

    That is really one sad excuse for a “writer”, guess you can see why he formerly covered the Lakers for the LA Times.

  • mitch

    I would love to kidnap ted greens kids and chop them up into little pieces…and fling them off a spoon like a bootleg sling shot….is that going too far??? no, not far enough for this dirtbag.

  • http://hoopstersworld.blogspot.com miss j.moxie

    Wow. LA Times. That’s what I call great journalism.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Yes, Mitch, I’d say you passed “too far” about 50 miles ago.

  • http://hoopstersworld.blogspot.com miss j.moxie

    Whoa Mitch. Easy now.

  • Scott

    Hard to say whether the Celtics are better than they were two years ago. The Lakers are. Two years ago their third best big man was Rony Tauriaf. This year it’s Andrew Bynum. Two years ago their small forward was Radmonovich (aka Buzz Kill), this year it’s Ron Artest. Pierce won’t be able to abuse Artest the way he abused the Magic. The bumps before his step back jumpers won’t dislodge him. And Artest’s freakishly long arms will challenge him. Either team could win this series, but the Lakers are much improved from two years ago. Are the Celtics?

  • I love Green

    @Scott- Rondo has gotten about 10 times better, Perkins is a lot better, and I think our bench is better this year. KG and Paul might’ve gotten a step slower, but they’re playing great in the playoffs.

    Both teams definitley got better, but for the Lakers to win Artest is gonna have to show up in every game, not just one or two.

  • Toby

    The celtics are a better team then the 2008 championship team. The vastly improved game of Rondo is the most reconizable improvement but u also have to look at the rest of the team. Yes we are two years older but we are mostly healthy again and this starting five has yet to lose a playoff series. Our bench is improved from the P.J. Brown, James Posey, Eddie House, Leon Powe, Sam Cassel bench of 2008. Rasheed Wallace provides a cushion for Perkins and Baby and provides a different kind of big man that can discourage oppenents with his great mid to long range game. Nate Robinson provides alot of energy and scoring potential of the bench. Big Baby has had yet another good playoff appearance this year and dont forget about the other Allen we have on the bench Tony Allen. All in all the celtics look damn good! I would have to say that when all these components come together the celtice are a tough team to beat!And yes the celtics are a better team then the 2008 championship team. The lakers are a great team but rely to much on Kobe to carry them. The celtics are a TEAM! There is no one guy that we need to put up 30+ a night to win! The celtics should do what they did last time we met in the finals which was let Kobe be Kobe and shut down the rest of his team with that smothering defense. It should be a good series.

  • Toby

    oh and by the way whoever it was who said KG is dirty for his forearms to Howard the other night needs to look at the replays again. Yes Garnett got carried away but Howard was digging his fingers into KGs side as you could see by his pearly white knuckles and the grimace on Garnetts face

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @Toby. It doesn’t matter what Howard was doing. You cannot karate chop Howard’s arm–twice!–with the ref looking right at you if you’re risking your 2nd foul early in a massive playoff game.

    Sorry. There is no excuse for what KG did there. It was one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever seen a player do given the circumstances.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Chuck Norris could karate chop Howard in front of the ref & get away with it 3 times…

  • datruthsetsufree

    Posey almost single-handedly won game 4 in Los Angeles. PJ Brown consistently made huge contributions. Powe had the series of his life in the 2008 Finals. And even House had one night where he shot the lights out.

    Glen Davis has been extremely valuable the last two years. But aside from a couple of good games from Wallace and one from Robinson, there is very little evidence that the C’s bench is better than in 2008.

    The Lakers on the surface seem stronger with Bynum and Artest, but they have been so inconsistent, who knows?

    I don’t think anyone can predict the Finals. Both teams seem evenly matched. Both teams can play good defense. And both teams can be streaky from the 3 point line.

    It might just come down to dumb luck, like Jameer Nelson banking in a three in Orlando’s game 4 OT win, or Jason Richardson throwing up a prayer at the end of game 5 against the Lakers.

    The only thing that seems pretty certain is how important the first two games are. With that cursed 2-3-2 system, the home team is 11-1 if they win the first two games, and 7-3 if there is a split. Only 3 series in 25 have gone to a 7th game. Boston is a good enough road team that they could win a game 6 on the road. But they’re also erratic at home enough not to sweep the middle three.

    Here’s hoping for a great finals that goes the distance.

  • choffster

    I like the Lakers in 6, I don’t pretend to be unbiased. I would like to ask this question of Boston fans, at least those of you long of tooth enough to have an opinion. Is it just me, or does Perkins remind anyone else of Sonny Liston?

  • http://Perkisabeast.com The Crack Staff

    Where is the sense of Lakers hatred in all of this? Rooting for the Lakers is like rooting for a herpes outbreak

  • http://www.learnrosettastone.com Learn Rosetta Stone

    Posey almost single-handedly won game 4 in Los Angeles. PJ Brown consistently made huge contributions. Powe had the series of his life in the 2008 Finals. And even House had one night where he shot the lights out.

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