Post-game Reactions

• Andrew Bynum is feeling good after getting his knee drained, and he sounds optimistic he can give the Lakers more in Game 5 than he gave them in Game 4 (via the Herald):

“It is frustrating, especially during the series,” he said. “But I’m doing OK. The draining worked, and (tonight) I’m going to be ready to go.”

Kobe’s knee responded very well to a draining in the first round, and Bynum’s has responded decently to past drainings. The Lakers seem to be a tougher team defensively (if not offensively) with Bynum on the floor, and the plus/minus numbers back that impression up. 

• Also re: Bynum: Phil Jackson talked about Perk’s ability to push Gasol off his preferred spots, though Jackson couldn’t resist one of his patented asides about the officiating (via the Herald):

“Yeah, he’s got the ability to displace Pau even though that’s not part of the standards of the game, but he does move him off the post.”

I love it: “Even though that’s not part of the standards of the game.” Why not just come out say, “He’s using both hands to push Pau, and that’s against the rules?” 

• In what I can only assume is a polite lie, Kobe Bryant thinks the whole beating the Celtics thing isn’t that important for his Laker legacy, according to the Washington Post:

“What’s everybody’s fascination with the Celtics in terms of going down in history as — it’s a little weird to me.”

• Some people seem upset by the fact that Lamar Odom said this about Boston’s offensive performance in Game 4 (via WEEI):

“We have the quickness and the size to defend this team,” Odom said. “If we communicate, we’ll be alright. It wasn’t like they scored 125 points or anything like that.”

Lamar is right about the point totals, but he doesn’t take pace into account. There were only about 86 possessions in Game 4—a very low number—and Boston’s 96 points, underwhelming at first glance, work out to about 111.5 points per 100 possessions, a number that would have ranked in the top five in the NBA this season. 

On the other hand, there is no question Boston’s offense is struggling against LA through four games. The team is shooting a hideous 45.8 percent from two-point range, down from 52.3 percent in the regular season, according to ESPN

To me, that’s one of the big questions about the last part of the Finals: Can the Celtics find a semi-dependable half-court game? They haven’t so far, and they will have trouble beating the Lakers two more times without one. 

• Along these lines, there are stories everywhere today (see here and here, for instance) wondering when all four of Boston’s best offensive players will all finally play well in the same game. Here’s my guess: Never in this series. You expect the Big Three to put up 60 or 70 points combined on 50 percent plus shooting? Well, why should you expect that? The C’s are facing one the league’s best defenses, and this is 2010, not 2008 or 2005. The Big Three are all past their primes, and Rajon Rondo is still feeling his way as a scorer against elite defenses stacked with shot-blockers. 

If three of the four score efficiently, that would be a huge, huge victory for Boston. But if you’re sitting and waiting for a vintage performance from all three of the Big Three (or all four of the Big Four, if you prefer), you’re probably going to be waiting until next season. 

• Speaking of Rondo, Chris Forsberg, writing at the Daily Dime, wonders if Rondo’s awful free throw shooting (4-of-15 in this series, 61 percent overall in the playoffs) is making him think twice about attacking the rim. Rondo insists it’s not, but Doc Rivers spotted something in Game 3:

“But then the confidence part has to come back as well. I will say this: I was really proud of him because I thought in [Game 3] when he missed a couple, he stopped driving, and that’s what happens when you miss free throws and then you don’t want to get fouled anymore. I thought [Thursday] night [in Game 4], he kept taking it to the basket, and for me that was huge. That’s a good sign for him.”

I’m not worried about this. I expect a high-energy game from Rondo tonight. 

• More Rondo: Steve Bulpett reflects back on the Rondo contract negotiations in the Herald, and if Bulpett’s reporting is right (and it seems to be, as he spoke to all the key parties involved), the negotiations went like this: Rondo and his agent, Bill Duffy, named their price (five years, $55 million—Tony Parker money) and waited for Boston to match it. 

And Danny Ainge eventually did. Here’s the GM:

“I mean, they gave a number that they were willing to accept and didn’t move throughout the entire negotiation. They just hung true, and they felt strongly that they wanted the number that they ended up getting. And we just decided that it was a good deal in the long run, too.”

Did the C’s end up with a bargain? One anonymous GM thinks so:

Said one NBA general manager, “You’re looking at a max-type guy in Rondo right now.”

Rondo is happy with his security, and he mentions the risk that he might not have played as well with free agency hanging over his head, or, even worse, that he may have suffered a serious injury like one of his “friends”:

“It wasn’t guaranteed that I would have the season I did this year, and also a friend of mine got hurt and he didn’t get an opportunity to get a contract. I can’t really say his name, but I’m just saying he’s a friend of mine and he got hurt and he didn’t get a contract. He almost made it through an entire season playing extremely well, but at the end of day, he got like a two-year deal. So I was definitely thinking about that.”

Sounds like Leon Powe, doesn’t it? Perhaps Powe’s injury changed Rondo’s strategy, making him more likely to prioritize signing a fair deal rather than preserving his free agency in hopes of hitting a home run later. 

• Did Pau Gasol try and goad Perk into that 7th technical? Doc Rivers thinks so, but Perk disagrees, according to the Globe.

Doc: “Even though they say they didn’t, I thought Gasol — I thought there was a lot of extra stuff going on,’’ said Rivers.”

Perk: “I thought he was playing hard,’’ Perkins said. “He was just tyring to be that physical presence.’’  

I’m with Perk on this one—it never struck me that Gasol was doing anything to tempt Perk into a T. 

• I’ve joked lately that the only way the Lakers could have made themselves more hate-able to a C’s fan my age was to hire Chuck Person—and they did it! Well, Dave McMenamin has a nice story at ESPNLosAngeles.com detailing Chuck Person’s long relationship as an advisor to Ron Artest and Phil Jackson’s decision to add Person to his staff this season. 

It’s also got some nice details on Person’s playing career, including this from Donnie Walsh, who drafted Person to the Pacers in the 1980s:

“He had kept a file card on every drill he ever learned, dating back to Jerry West’s basketball camp in the seventh grade,” Walsh said. “He kept it up to date all the way through his playing career and his coaching career. That shows me dedication for pursuing a goal.”

And on Person’s work with Artest in Indy:

“He made Ronnie work unbelievably hard,” Walsh said. “Everything he did, he did full-speed, full-court. So if you’re shooting jump shots, he had to dribble the length of the floor, pull up at the hash mark, take a jump shot, get the rebound and then, full speed, go back the other way. And he did that, he was doing it for 45 minutes to an hour and he did it at full speed.”

The whole piece is worth your time. 

Should the city of Boston do more to honor Bill Russell? And why don’t the C’s sell his jerseys at the team stores at the Garden? 

• Rajon Rondo has declared himself (in the Sports Illustrated cover story) the best all-around point guard in the league, so perhaps we should not be surprised by his honest answer to a question about whether Big Baby is a better player than Lamar Odom (via the Globe):

The benches have played a big role in this series, and Rondo rates the Celtics’ Glen Davis over the Lakers’ Lamar Odom. Asked if he meant Davis had improved or he was better than Odom, Rondo replied, “Both.’’

 “I expected that out of Big Baby,’’ Rondo said of Davis’s Game 4 contributions (18 points, 5 rebounds). “I think he’s pretty much a better all-around player.’’

Not quite, Rajon. But your team spirit is appreciated.

More 1969 talk.

That’s it for now. Enjoy your Sundays. We’ll back with more later.

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Zach Lowe

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  • urbeltic

    How about this in the Boston Globe today…”They (the C’s) are probably the most disliked team in the league. ” Are we the Detroit Pistons of the 21st Century?

  • Jay P

    Not sure if I’d go that far. But they play an old school physical style of Basketball.

    The league these days is all about superstars, they want high flying, 1 on 1 basketball, not old fashioned, grind it out, knock you in the mouth basketball the Celtics play.

    So people hate them for it, whatever.

    Bout the article:

    1) Odom is a far more talented player, he’s got more speed, more height, a better shot; and absolutely no heart. I’d take Davis on my team any day.

    2) Love Rondo’s confidence, but until he can get that FT shooting under control, he is not the best all around PG in the league. I think he’s still the best passer in the league right now, but to be the best all around he has to be a consistent threat to score every night. He has to be able to drive, and make teams pay if they put him at the line, so he’s not there yet.

    3) The C’s haven’t had an efficient half court game yet, because they’ve missed wide open shots. I have to believe these shots will start falling, they need to keep doing what they’ve been doing, the shots have been there, they’re just not going down. The law of averages states that those looks will start falling, they have to. So on that note, yes, I think we will see a good game from all 4 of the Big 4, it’s going to happen, with the looks they’ve been getting, it has to.

  • BlairAndBlair

    I have no idea what they’re talking about but I just want

  • BlairAndBlair

    I have no idea what they’re talking about but I just want Celtics to win the game! They better bring it on.

  • MP

    Refs tonight: Joey Crawford, Derrick Stafford, and Mike Callahan. Uh-oh!

  • mitch

    joey crawford is a piece of shit

  • Devon

    Better get started on your article about what it means to be short two of the major components of the Celtics front court. Maybe we should put Finley at the 4. Seriously.

    @ Mitch, AGREED!

  • DRJ1

    To the point that the Lakers’ D is so excellent, etc…. the Celtics’ horrid showing on O in game 4 had much more to do with their own ridiculous shooting… missing umpteen layups and wide open shots… than anything the Lakers did. When people wonder if all 4 guys will ever have a good game at the same time… that’s why.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    only threat to the Cs is their half court offense – nothing else gives me any worries currently, you know exactly what this team will bring. doc leaving the backups in last game was a genius move, but it also says a lot about his faith in the starters being able to score down the stretch when the game tightens up (one more pierce iso to end a quarter anyone?). they’re just going to have to continue to find creative ways to score in the 4th quarter. never would have guessed i’d be confident in doc’s ability to outwit zen-master….but i is.

    i also agree with JayP that they have missed their fair share of open shots. i’m always hesitant to say this as its a 2way game and the Lakers are playing great D….but there were definitely a lot of cases where the celtics got the looks they wanted and they just didn’t fall (ex. a ton of missed layups). however, most of these open misses have been early in the game.

    maybe the ‘Big3 or 4’ will line-up a mammoth game together, maybe not. but i like the chances of enough guys scoring to pull out two more games. this is the thing i really cherish about watching this team now….they are going to beat the more talented team to win the title because they have a group of guys that collectively will do whatever it takes to grind out wins.

    crawford tonight…not good. hopefully he is only in half-hero mode.

    Go Cs!

  • DRJ1

    “…most disliked team in the league?” I doubt there’s another team that has so many fans who do not live in their city. I became a fan just because I liked this team… had nothing to do with location (which would otherwise have led me to their current opponent). Maybe all this antipathy is closer to jealousy than actual dislike. I mean, how can you not love a team that includes a Big Baby, a Big Ticket, a Sugar Ray and a Beastodo?? They’re one-of-a-kind, these guys….

  • lakershater13

    i say pierce punches crawford in the face in the first quarter and the refs will do a great job again tonight : )

  • Cptn Bubbles

    @ Jay P & KoolAid good points

    One thing about Joey Crawford which is consistent….he loathes being diss’d. If you disrespect Joey you are gonna get the T, & you may not get any calls from him ie forget about getting to the free throw line. It seems like every player should know this by now. Joey is the little emperor, BUT that’s the way it is. Perk & Sheed should not even look or breathe near Joey. I think Joey is quicker on the trigger to call a T than any other ref. If Sheed or Perk or any C do not understand that then they are really stupid.

    I hope they give Paul a ton of picks since Artest seems to get stuck a lot. I would love to see our bigs RUN RUN RUN the floor. KG may have problems posting, but he can be a monster when he is running the floor. Bynum’s man should have a huge advantage if he runs really hard. Phil said that he might have to take Bynum out of the game if the Cs were running on them. BUT we cannot run unless the WHOLE team DEFENSIVE rebounds—especially Rajon. Double digit defensive rebounds for Rajon should mean double digit fast breaks & running Bynum into an early exit so Glen & Nate & Rondo can get to the rim.

    Most of all we gots to have THE best defense. If we make them miserable on offense & turn their back court into one big chaotic mess with HEAVY pressure on the ball then we should be able to hold them under 90 & win.

  • zach lowe

    I hate the celts and their fans but i have to give it to Zach lowe, he does a really good job disseminating info in a fair and thoughtful way. I guess there are intelligent celtic fans out there. But then I read the comments and realized that Zach is definitely in the minority.

    Anyway, thanks Zach, you do a good job.