Lakers Gameday | 06/03/10 | Celtics

GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Boston Celtics 21 20 23 25 89
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 26 24 34 18 102


Lakers-Celtics Highlights


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Tough Lakers beat Boston 102-89 in finals opener

By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Ron Artest and Paul Pierce went back-to-back with their elbows locked, both unwilling to yield even an inch underneath the hoop. The veteran forwards crashed to the court together and got up looking to rumble, earning double technical fouls.And that was just in the first 27 seconds.

This NBA finals rematch was rough from the opening tumble, but Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol made sure the Los Angeles Lakers landed the first shot on the Boston Celtics.

Bryant scored 30 points, Gasol had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and defending champion Los Angeles got tough in a 102-89 victory over Boston in Game 1 on Thursday night.

Artest scored 15 points after his tangle with Pierce in the opening minute of the 12th finals meeting between the NBA’s most scintillating rivals. It was the opening salvo in a gritty physical effort against the Celtics, who memorably pushed around the Lakers while winning their 2008 finals matchup in six games.

The Lakers are the champs now, and they’re not giving it up without a tussle or two.

“I knew it was going to be physical. That’s a given,” Gasol said. “After consecutive finals, we understand the nature of the game. We understand who our rival is, how they play. You’ve got to compete, and you’ve got to match that physicality effort of the game to be successful.”

Pierce scored 24 points and Kevin Garnett added 16 after a slow start for the Celtics, who might not want to know Lakers coach Phil Jackson’s teams in Los Angeles and Chicago have won 47 straight playoff series after winning Game 1.

“I wish I had put it in the bank, so to speak,” said Jackson, the 10-time champion. “We’ve got to play this out. … Our defense stiffened at various points in the game, was very effective. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but it’s nice to know that (the 47-0 streak) is on our side.”

Game 2 is Sunday night at Staples Center.

If the first 48 minutes of the rematch are any indication, this series again will be a knockdown, drag-out physical confrontation—and the supposedly finesse-oriented Lakers held their ground early, leaving the Celtics frustrated after giving up 100 points for just the second time in their last 10 games.

“They were the more physical team by far,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “They were more aggressive. They attacked us the entire night. I didn’t think we handled it very well.”

Ray Allen scored 12 points in just 27 minutes, saddled with constant foul trouble while trying to guard Bryant. Pierce also picked up early fouls, while Garnett simply struggled, going 7 for 16 from the field and grabbing just four rebounds—even inexplicably missing an open layup with 5 1/2 minutes to play.

That’s mostly because of Gasol, the Spanish 7-footer determined to assert himself after admittedly getting pushed around by Garnett two years ago. Gasol capped a strong game by sprinting downcourt and catching a long pass in stride for a dunk with 6:21 to play.

“Pau played a big game tonight,” Jackson said. “I thought they did a good job on him in the post, but his movement and his activity was important.”

After Artest and Pierce got wrapped up, the mood didn’t improve much in a game featuring 54 fouls. But Bryant’s playmaking and the Lakers’ inside advantages drove them to a 20-point lead after three quarters before surviving Boston’s final run.

“You can’t ease into the game, especially in the finals,” Pierce said. “That’s one of the better rebounding teams in the NBA. We’ve just got to do a better job rebounding the ball, eliminating easy opportunities. When I look up and we’ve given up 100 points, I haven’t seen that in a while.”

Los Angeles outrebounded the Celtics 42-31 and put up a strong shooting percentage until a fourth-quarter slump, again excelling at the their two biggest areas of strength in this postseason.

Andrew Bynum scored 10 points on his injured right knee as the Lakers improved to 9-0 at home in the playoffs, with 12 straight postseason home wins dating to last year’s championship run.

Rajon Rondo had 13 points—just three in the second half—and eight assists as Boston went 1 for 10 on 3-pointers, but forced 15 turnovers with active hands in passing lanes.

Bryant scored just four points in the fourth quarter, but hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds. He added seven rebounds and six assists in his 12th 30-point game of the postseason.

Pierce and Artest set a resonant tone for the first quarter, which featured 18 personal fouls and 20 free throws, 12 by Boston. The Lakers took a 50-41 halftime lead, but Rondo kept the Lakers close with 10 points, including a buzzer-beating jumper.

Los Angeles took charge in the final minutes of the third quarter, when Bryant led an 11-2 run to an 84-64 lead heading into the fourth. Boston swiftly sliced that lead with a 10-1 run in the first four minutes, but the Lakers kept their lead in double digits throughout the fourth.

Boston had homecourt advantage in the clubs’ 2008 meeting, but these Celtics will have to win at least once at Staples Center, where the Lakers have won 12 straight playoff games since last season’s Western Conference finals.

The arena was packed well before the opening tip for the Lakers’ third straight appearance in the NBA finals, and several thousand fans actually deigned to put on the giveaway gold T-shirts handed out by the team. The T-shirt stunt failed miserably the past two times Los Angeles tried it in the playoffs.

NOTES: An entertaining jump ball occurred midway through the second quarter when 5-9 Nate Robinson tied up the 7-foot Gasol. The Spaniard won the tip. … Celtics C Kendrick Perkins didn’t get his seventh technical foul of the postseason, which will result in an automatic one-game suspension, but technical-foul legend Rasheed Wallace got one for arguing late in the third quarter. … Fans near courtside included Jerry West, Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlize Theron, David Duchovny, Will Ferrell, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., Terrell Owens, Steven Spielberg, Snoop Dogg, Mike Epps and Hilary Swank. Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James and Adam Sandler sat together at courtside to promote their “Grown Ups” movie, opening in three weeks. … When the Staples Center trained its KissCam on Dustin Hoffman and his wife for their usual smooch, Hoffman instead turned the other way and kissed actor Jason Bateman.

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2 Fourth quarter turnovers for the Lakers after 13 total in the first three periods, helping L.A. keep a 10-plus-point cushion throughout the final quarter.

8 Offensive rebounds for Pau Gasol, and the entire Celtics’ team. Gasol had a huge double-double with 23 points (on 8-of-14 FG’s) with 14 rebounds, plus three blocks and three assists.

16 Big-time edge in second-chance points for the Lakers, thanks to 12 offensive rebounds, eight of which came from Gasol.

30 Points from Kobe Bryant, thanks to a three-pointer with four seconds left in the game. It was the 11th time in 12 games that Bryant hit the 30-point mark. He added seven boards, six assists and a big block.

48.7 Shooting percentage for the Lakers, a solid mark against the usually terrific Boston defense.

Mike Trudell,

Lakers-Celtics Quotes

Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson

PHIL JACKSON: Well, it wasn't the prettiest basketball game I've ever watched in my life, but it was a good win for us. We sustained the lead in the second half even though we had some tough plays, tough sequences out there. But they contested well at times and got some easy baskets and some transition points that helped edge it.

Q. Could you address Pau Gasol's contribution tonight.
PHIL JACKSON: Well, you know, I thought Pau played a big game tonight. He tried a couple things in the post to start the game that weren't successful and he found a new rhythm. Other spots in the game I thought they did a good job on him in the post, but his movement and his activity was important.

Q. Can you talk about, you went deep into your bench in that second quarter and played some line‑ups you really haven't played all year. Talk about how they held down the fort for you.
PHIL JACKSON: Yeah, we had to match up with a small guard unit. They came out with Robinson and Rondo, obviously they tried to energize their game a little bit with pace. Put Allen some at three even, that sequence. We had a good contribution from Shannon. I thought he did some things that were good for us, that sequence, Jordan did some good things on defense all right, and I think we kind of weathered the storm out there with fouls and Artest and Derek and Kobe, all of them in foul situations we had to do that.

Q. Can you talk about Ron Artest's defense on Paul Pierce tonight.
PHIL JACKSON: He did fine. I thought he had ‑‑ he had a foul, we tried to talk him into not getting gambling fouls out there, little consequential things that cost him a foul early in the ballgame. He had to go sit down for a while. But he came back and I thought solidified our defense for quite a period of time. A couple times Pierce had to find a bail‑out pass and got a run‑up lay‑up out of it.
He made some big baskets for us, also, that I thought were real shot‑in‑the‑arm kind of shots for us, three‑point shots and sequences of opportunities, at the end, a screen roll.

Q. Were you surprised by the power categories, the differential rebounds, points in the paint, second‑chance points, all heavily in your favor?
PHIL JACKSON: You know, I hadn't analyzed the box before I was run out here, but 16‑0 in second‑chance points is pretty remarkable. They are a team that has big guys. They do splay out with their shooters. Garnett and Wallace a lot of times are not available, but Perkins and Davis are active on the boards. We were able to hold that in. That was a big part of the game.

Q. You said it wasn't a pretty game but was it aesthetically pleasing to you to get that production and the balanced scoring you saw from your team?
PHIL JACKSON: I thought we got some different places, guys chipped in at different times, helped us out. You know, I was particularly happy about Drew being able to play the minutes he was able to play tonight and support us because of foul trouble that Lamar got in.

Q. You talked a little bit about Pau, but coming off of 2008 there was still a lot of questions about toughness about him. Do you see from him an effort to consciously try to answer those sorts of questions about his game?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, what I see from him is just the little actions that represent not backing down type of things, getting hit, taking the blow, absorbing it, not reacting to it one way or the other with the mentality to look at the referee or wonder about the blow and the legitimacy of it. Those are the things he's learned in the last year and a half or two.

Q. You guys were able to build up a big lead and extend it and never really let it dwindle too far. Talk about the importance of keeping your foot on the gas.
PHIL JACKSON: They had a good third quarter, important quarter. Obviously a couple baskets in there that really kind of stepped it out a little bit. It just stayed at 9, 10, 11 for a long period of time in that third quarter and then we were able to extend it somewhat. Fourth quarter obviously they came out and scored 10‑1 right off the bat and set the game right back into contesting point again.

Q. What does the statistic mean to you that you're 47‑0 in your career when your team wins the first game of the series, and now the first game is over? Do you have continued good feelings that you've had when you've previously won the first game of series?
PHIL JACKSON: I wish I felt that way. I wish I had put it in the bank, so to speak. We've got to play this out, and we know this is a team that's got a multitude of changes, line‑ups, activities, capabilities. Our defense, I think stiffened at various points in the game; was very effective. So we've got a lot of work ahead of us, but it's nice to know that that's on our side.

Q. You talked a lot about keeping the Celtics in general out of transition. Can you talk about the keys of that.
PHIL JACKSON: Yeah, I thought that was a big part of it, not having the lay‑up line going with Rondo and his activities, just little things, steals in the backcourt, transition baskets, steals and activity in outlet passes and things that he's capable of doing. I thought we were careful with him but yet respectful of what he can do.

Q. Isn't this supposed to be more interesting? It's The Finals.
PHIL JACKSON: It's Game 1.

Q. Were you bored by what was going on?
PHIL JACKSON: No. It was long, though. It was a long game.

Q. The Celtics seemed to make a push defensively in that fourth quarter. Are you concerned that they sort of gained an idea of how they want to attack you, concerns for Game 2?
PHIL JACKSON: I think that's consistent with how they want to play. We were trying to, you know, encourage our players to continue to do things that were correct, and they felt into little habits of dropping the ball in Kobe's hands and allowing him to try and do things individually, which their defense can key off of. They're a good enough defensive team to be able to key off of that. We know it's going to take more than just dropping it in Kobe's hands and standing in the corner and watch it.

Q. I know you sort of deferred on that Game 1 issue, but how important is it in your mind to get off to that good start, especially when you have the home court advantage?
PHIL JACKSON: It's ultimately important, but then every game becomes the next most important game. You know how that goes. This first game kind of sets the table, and that's important action.

Lakers Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant

Q. Can you talk about the physicality of the game and the big numbers that you put up? Do you think you made a statement, saying, yes, I'm here and I am physical and I'm ready to compete? You had 23 and 14 by the way.
PAU GASOL: Yeah, I knew that. (Laughter).
I knew it was going to be physical, and that's a given. You know, I think that we're out there ‑‑ this being our third consecutive final, we understand the nature of the game. We understand what a rival is, how they play, and you've got to compete and you've got to make sure you match that physicality, that aspect of the game, in order to be successful. So tonight, good effort. I think the most positive thing is that the whole team just brought an intensity and activity, especially defensively, that sent it to them and was able to give us a really good pace out there. So that's what I'm really, really happy about. Now we've got to make sure we tune in again and refocus for Game 2.

Q. The very beginning of the game you seemed uncomfortable, turnovers and difficulty and then you progressed and responded. Talk about what it took to adjust to the game. And then also, how was it playing with this team, the Celtics, with a healthy Andrew Bynum next to you?
PAU GASOL: Yeah, at first you could feel a little bit more the tension of the game, the start of the Finals. I wasn't fully aggressive and certain with my moves. Then I was able to hit my first three shots, so that was good, that was positive.
You know, it was great to have Andrew. Obviously he was a big factor tonight. Really contributed in different ways, and we want to see him as much as possible out there.

Q. We've talked about it every single game during the playoffs, points in the paint. You guys dominated by 18 again. You keep doing that, do you feel you can never lose a game truthfully? That's domination.
PAU GASOL: We did a good job tonight on getting to the paint and finishing and being aggressive and understanding what kind of defense they play, so we've just got to continue to do that. I think we continued also to do a good job rebounding the ball. We've given ourselves a really good chance to have second‑chance points, control the rebounding on the defensive end. They did a good job overall, just a very complete game.

Q. You know how this went two years ago, was it important for you personally to make a statement?
PAU GASOL: You know, for me it was important just to play hard, be aggressive and help as much as possible out there, win the first game. That was my mindset tonight. There was no statements to be made. My goal, our goal is to win the championship, not just the first game and not just to make a statement right now. Obviously we're very happy with the result tonight, but now we've just got to focus for Game 2.

Q. You seemed to be in another zone physically. Even though you say you were subdued, did you make a special effort to really reach deep and play the physical game?
PAU GASOL: I was ready. I was just ready to play. I like the challenge, and I'm ready to step up and play. That's all I did.

Q. Kobe, were you surprised by how easily you were the more physical team, winning rebounds, points in the paint as well as second‑chance opportunities?
KOBE BRYANT: I just responded to the challenge, played well, rebounded the ball well. That's something that we've done all year. I'm not really surprised.

Q. Can I ask you, I know you've been focusing on just the big picture rather than small pictures, but at the same time this idea of getting off to a good start. Two years ago you lost the first game. How important is it to get off to this good start, especially when you have the home‑court advantage and it's on your home court?
KOBE BRYANT: At this point the important thing is to win every game. A good start ‑‑ that's absolutely the key. You want to take Game 1 and now it's Game 2, we want to win Game 2 and so on and so on. It's not necessarily about having a great start as much as it is trying to win the series.

Q. I have a question from Rafael Nadal who is playing in Paris: He said that you were really inspiring to the Spanish players, playing abroad. He wanted to know if even though you were playing in The Finals, if you had time to watch his game?
PAU GASOL: He plays tomorrow in the final, so I'm keeping up with him. If I wake up earlier tomorrow, I'll maybe be able to watch a little bit of it.
KOBE BRYANT: He's getting his rest. (Laughter).
PAU GASOL: I definitely need my rest for sure, and then I'll just see the stats.

Q. Do you know him very well?
PAU GASOL: Yeah, we talk regularly. Yeah, it was his birthday today, so I wished him happy birthday and wished him good luck for tomorrow against Melzer.
So yeah, we talked.

Q. There was a moment midway through the fourth when Ron had a block on Big Baby that led to a run out and a dunk by Pau into the time‑out, came to the bench, you gave him a big emotional hug. What were you trying to convey to him in that moment and in general in this series to your guys in terms of what you need from them to get this done?
KOBE BRYANT: Well, it was a big play for us. I was happy with the play that he made and I was excited for him. I think he does a great job for us of setting the tone defensively with his intensity and with his energy. I was just letting him know it was well appreciated.

Q. Andrew in the locker room was addressing how vocal you were tonight, how vocal you've been on the floor in timeouts throughout the playoffs. Where is that coming from and what do you try to get across?
KOBE BRYANT: I've been that way. Just making sure we're all on the same page and executing properly.

Q. Talk about what you expect in Game 2 from the Celtics. And can you talk about Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar's contribution tonight.
KOBE BRYANT: Our bench came in and did a great job, really sparked us, particularly at the end of the first quarter, really turned things around for us. Going into halftime, as well, they did a good job.
In terms of Game 2, I don't know, I'm really not sure. I haven't thought about it much. We'll look at it tomorrow and be ready for the adjustments Game 2.

Q. Much has been said so far about the Celtics' defense and their success. What did you see against them tonight? Why were you successful against them?
KOBE BRYANT: We did a good job moving the ball. You know, that's really a big key for us, ball movement, executing properly, making sure our spacing is good, and tonight it worked pretty well.

Q. Also just talk about the impact you had getting their guys in foul trouble?
KOBE BRYANT: Well, yeah, just being aggressive, getting the bodies, and tonight I got the benefit of the whistle.

Q. 102 against the Celtics, they don't give up 100 very often. Did that surprise you?
KOBE BRYANT: Yeah, that was surprising. That's not something that we were hanging our hats on, to score 100 points. We hang our hats on defending and rebounding.

Q. How did you think the match‑up with Rondo went? Like you expected?
KOBE BRYANT: It was okay. It was pretty much what we expected. Just try to keep him out of the lane as much as possible.

Q. Two questions: Before Pau got here you were playing with a different level of talent. Now that Ron is here and you're playing the Celtics two years later, can you talk about how it will figure in with a guy like Ron against this particular team? And then also do you see yourself as any different than you were a year ago going to The Finals? Just my impression of how you're communicating with us is different. You were a little surly last year.
KOBE BRYANT: I don't know what that means.

Q. Kind of short. You know, short. Not in height.
KOBE BRYANT: I don't know.

Q. As far as Ron?
KOBE BRYANT: Ron was great. You know, he gave us a physical presence to go against some of these bigger forwards. You know, on top of that, he's just a great all‑around player. He can shoot, he can penetrate, he can post. He can do a multitude of things. Like in the Phoenix series in Game 6, he showcased his full repertoire. A lot of times on this team he goes unnoticed because we have so many skilled players.
Surly enough for you? (Laughter).

Lakers’ Center Andrew Bynum

Q: What did coach say to you during the timeout after you guys had a substantial lead?
Bynum: He just tries to stay on you and keep you sharp. Teams have a tendency to get up by 20 and get laid back and we did a little bit of it tonight. We have a bunch of great leaders that tell us to keep going and press on. That’s coming from guys that have been in the league for a long time and that’s key for me.

Q: In order to win the series, you are going to need to dominate in the paint and you’re never going to lose if you do that, are you?
Bynum: We won’t lose if we do that, but defensively we did a pretty good job tonight. Offensively, we can be much more conservative with the basketball. I think we threw a lot of passes away and had a lot of turnovers. I think if we continue to play with that hunger and energy we will be alright.

Q: You looked pretty hungry tonight.
Bynum: We had to be. Everybody is locked in and everyone is key. We need to maintain focus.

Q: Your knee looked like it kind of buckled at one point during the game, was everything okay?
Bynum: It does buckle, but there’s not much I can do about that. That’s the time you have to be careful and understand when you are tired.

Q: How much does the adrenaline of the game overcome the pain?
Bynum: It does. You don’t feel anything especially when you have that energy and you have that momentum.

Lakers’ Forward Ron Artest

Q: What is it like guarding Paul Pierce offensively?
Artest: He’s tough. We’ve been there before, both of us.

Q: Do you believe that when you and Pierce got tangled up in the beginning that set the tone for the game?
Artest: That’s not a tone that we want to set. We want to set a tone of basketball. At that point, I was a little emotional and I had a little bit of anxiety at that point, and I was fired up. I would still rather set the tone with basketball.

Q: Do you feel that your role is to bring toughness to the court?
Artest: Not necessarily. My role is to play aggressively and to play good team basketball and to play hard. You play hard, you are tough already.

Q: How do you think you played Paul Pierce tonight?
Artest: I got to watch the tape, but it’s more of a team thing. I’m not really interested in what I did individually.

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers

Q. I'm just wondering, with all the fouls called, did the Celtics have trouble getting into a rhythm or were the fouls a result of your physical defense or just gambling a little too much?
DOC RIVERS: I thought the fouls were called because they were more physical. I thought the Lakers were clearly the more physical team today. I thought they were more aggressive. I thought they attacked us the entire night, and you know, I've always thought the team that is the most aggressive gets better calls. That's just human nature.
I just thought they attacked us the entire night. I didn't think we handled it very well. They killed us on the glass. The 50/50 game was 17‑4 them, impossible to win on the road when you lose that bad in the 50/50 game. So I thought it was more that, yeah, the rhythm was impossible for us to get any rhythm because they either got an offensive rebound, they scored or they shot a free throw. There wasn't a lot of times where we could get the ball to Rondo in the open court.
But I thought it was their play. I thought they were terrific today. I thought they were by far the more physical team.

Q. Why do you think that was?
DOC RIVERS: I don't know. We'll watch it on film and fix it, though.

Q. What did you think of the defense?
DOC RIVERS: It was horrible. I thought we hugged up on guys all night. That wasn't our defense tonight, I can tell you that. Give them credit, they moved the ball, they spaced the floor very well. But we didn't shrink the floor at all tonight. In the first half, you know, it made the bigs look bad because they were getting offensive rebounds but it wasn't the bigs' fault, it was the guards dribbling down the middle of the lane. Our bigs have to help, they miss a shot and their bigs get an offensive rebound. They didn't control the dribble at all. Before the game we told them the key to the game was rebounding, dribble penetration. We stop those two things, we'll be in good shape, but we didn't do either one.

Q. How do you get that interior defense?
DOC RIVERS: We've got to help. We've got to show our help better. It's fixable, but we have to do it.

Q. Rajon doesn't often get played by a two‑guard who's 6'6", 210. What do you think Kobe's impact was?
DOC RIVERS: I thought he did a terrific job. I thought we fell back into trying to score on him instead of just running the offense. I thought overall offensively we didn't move the ball much. We had that one stretch in the fourth quarter when Nate and that group was in, the ball, we got the second and third pass, but we didn't trust it enough.
But Rondo has seen that. That's nothing new for Rondo.

Q. 16‑0 second chance points. You dealt with it earlier, but is that positioning, effort?
DOC RIVERS: It's not effort. You know, at least I hope not. We're in The Finals. But again, I just thought it was their guards. I thought they just attacked the paint the whole night. I didn't think we handled the dribble penetration well at all. On our end, when we did get into the post, I thought it was pretty good, and we have to do that more.

Q. At the end of three quarters you being outrebounded 34‑17, I'm just wondering if you recall a differential that big. It was a 20‑point game ‑‑
DOC RIVERS: I don't know if I recall one, but I know if there was one, we lost that game, too. I can guarantee you that. They killed us on the glass.
But you know, like I said, it wasn't the bigs as much as it was our guards. We did not handle their guards off the dribble. They were in the paint, Shannon Brown, Kobe, Fisher, I mean, it was a parade down the paint. We take pride in our defense, and we didn't do it ‑‑ I think, I don't know what it was, I think they had 84 going into the fourth. But we're better than that defensively. Well, we have to be better than that defensively.

Q. Kevin Garnett didn't have a great series offensively versus the Magic. Today he struggled, as well. Will you try to involve him more in the next game?
DOC RIVERS: Yeah, we'd better. We have to. Got to slow him down a little bit. I thought as a team we were too fast. First game excitement, whatever. I thought offensively we were too fast the entire game for the most part. Missed a lot of great shots at the basket as a team, three or four lay‑ups, but their length makes you do that, as well. But we have to get him involved more.

Q. Could you talk about any silver lining that you saw for your team tonight. And the play of Brown and Farmar for them?
DOC RIVERS: Well, their bench outplayed our bench. I thought Rasheed was terrific. I said before the game happened, he just got exhausted. You knew it was going to happen when you don't practice for five days and he couldn't practice. You knew the wind was going to be a factor, and it was.
But I didn't see any silver lining. The only silver lining is I guess as bad as I thought we played, there were chances to get back in the game. But there's no silver lining in that.

Q. There were a couple of points where it seemed like Ray got frustrated guarding Kobe. Do you think that affected him?
DOC RIVERS: No, I just thought foul trouble. Ray didn't have a chance to play tonight. He was in foul trouble for the entire game and took his rhythm off. He actually started out the game like he was going to have a big game, but then he picked up the fouls. We have to make an adjustment there, that's for sure.

Q. You talked about it's impossible to get in a rhythm tonight, do you feel like the layoff hurt you guys at all?
DOC RIVERS: No, they had four. It could have, you know, but no. Both teams had a lot of time off. I thought it was more the foul trouble, the offensive rebounds and the fact they were shooting about 56 percent at one point. I thought that was more of it.

Q. Rajon Rondo hasn't played particularly well since the Cleveland series and Nate Robinson came in the game for you today. Do you plan on using Nate Robinson any more in the series?
DOC RIVERS: Well, you must be in the Nate Robinson fan club clearly. Nate has played well, but I think Rondo is pretty good. I've got a feeling he's going to keep playing a lot.

Q. How was the version of Gasol different tonight than what you saw in 2008?
DOC RIVERS: He was more aggressive. He attacked us. I thought he was the best player on the floor. I thought he made terrific plays, terrific passes, shot when he should shoot. Yeah, he's better. He's far more aggressive. If you heard for two years what you couldn't do, you're probably going to come in and try to prove that, and I thought Gasol proved a lot tonight.

Celtics Forward Paul Pierce

Q. Doc was just out here and said that LA came out a lot more aggressive than you guys. Why do you think that was?
PAUL PIERCE: That was the game plan. I mean, they did an excellent job with all the hustle plays. That's a game that we usually thrive in was the loose balls and 50/50 plays. They got us on offensive rebounds. But we knew that. The thing is you can't ease into the game, especially in The Finals. It's one of the better rebounding teams in the NBA, especially with their size and athleticism down low, we've just got to do a better job rebounding the ball and eliminating the opportunities. I felt like all night we pretty much let them run what they wanted to run, there was no resistance. I looked up and we gave up 100 points, I haven't seen that in a while. We've got our work cut out for us. They definitely pushed us tonight and had us on our heels.

Q. You mentioned you haven't seen that that often. How much pride do you guys take in yourselves being a defensive team and how important is it to you to change that in Game 2?
PAUL PIERCE: We take a lot of pride. You saw it in guys' faces, you heard it, from reactions after the game, just how guys felt. It wasn't a typical loss locker room. There was some angry people in there and they showed us. But that's just the pride. The guys in there got pride and don't want to lose the way we did. We can deal with losing because it's part of the game, you lose games, you win games. But you can't deal with it when you lose the way we did. We're down 20, they beat us to the hustle plays. That don't sit well with me at all.

Q. It seemed that all of you talked about all the hustle categories in which they outdid you, including 16‑0 in second‑chance points. You guys didn't get anything off the glass. What goes into that? Is that effort?
PAUL PIERCE: That's all it is. It's effort, there's no skill. There's no designed play to get rebounds. It's just about the mentality you've got to have when that ball goes up, when the ball is loose, to go out there and get it, simple as that.

Q. Can you talk about playing against Ron Artest, who wasn't here two years ago and the challenge it presented.
PAUL PIERCE: Ron is a great defender. I have a lot of respect for him. You've got to expect him to be physical. He's going to work hard. He's their defensive leader. I don't know what you want me to say. He's a good defender.

Q. How about also Andrew Bynum wasn't there a few years back. Did the Laker team seem different to you than two years ago?
PAUL PIERCE: Obviously they added some pieces. Obviously they were bringing Bynum back, Ron Artest. A more seasoned team from a couple years ago with some added pieces.

Q. What do you guys do to go forward from this place after this game, this big loss?
PAUL PIERCE: Well, we watch the film and we learn from it. That's all you can do. We go tomorrow and practice, watch the tape, see what we can do a lot better. Obviously there's going to be a lot of things we can do a lot better when you give up 100 points, give up 48 percent shooting. Got to do a better job of stopping the guards from penetrating obviously, got to do a better job rebounding the ball and we've got to do a better job with Kobe Bryant. Everybody knows he's going to shoot the ball, everybody knows he's going to be aggressive. So we've got to do a better job of getting the ball out of his hands.

Q. There was a lot of talk before the series about the Lakers being soft. Tonight Doc said they came out and were a lot more physical than you guys. Can you talk about that.
PAUL PIERCE: Well, they were. Look at the rebound numbers. We look at the blocks, you look at the hustle, it's stuff that don't even show up in the box scores that you saw in the game if you guys watched, all the hustle plays. That's all part of physicality. We've got to do a better job of pushing the guys back on the rebounds, outhustling them for loose balls and things of that nature, and that's where they beat us tonight.

Q. You mentioned about doing a better job on Kobe Bryant. What do you need to do to stop Kobe or even slow him down?
PAUL PIERCE: Just limit his touches, can't let him get to the spots he wants to get to. I thought he was way too comfortable on the floor to shoot, posted, got the ball from midrange, got to the basket. When you're playing a great player who can do so many things, you've got to take something away. I didn't think we took anything away from him. Whether it's denying him, trapping him, hard fouling him, we've got to do something to get the ball out of his hands and limit his easy looks.

Q. Were you surprised that the Lakers did reach into the abyss coming up with the hustle plays, coming up with the physicality?
PAUL PIERCE: I'm not surprised at anything the Lakers do at this point. I mean, it's the NBA Finals. You've got to expect their best. You have to expect their best. You've got to expect them to be more physical, you've got to expect them to be a better team than they were the last series. This is The Finals. There's no more room for mistakes, and we've got to come to expect that. Tonight we didn't, and I don't know the reason why. But hopefully we'll bring it in Game 2 and have a better understanding of what we need to do.

Q. What gives you optimism about being able to be more competitive in Game 2 and the rest of the series?
PAUL PIERCE: Because I know my team. I've been with them the last three years and I know how we bounce back. I know we're going to bounce back Game 2 with a lot better effort, just being around these guys and understanding them and knowing them, I just know that we'll put together a better game next game.

Q. The first two games in the regular season were very close games, and this game was a blowout. What was it about that game that seemed different to you, if anything seemed different?
PAUL PIERCE: Well, this is the NBA Finals. It's a bigger stage. There's more at stake, simple and plain. That's pretty much what it is. A regular season has no indication of what happens in the NBA Finals. Both teams are better from the regular season. They're seasoned, they went through 82 games, they went through however many playoff games. So both teams are better at this point than during the regular season. You know, that's about it, man. That's about it.

Celtics Guard Rajon Rondo

Q. What was the defense like that slowed you guys down and took you out of the offense or limited your scoring tonight?
RAJON RONDO: I don't think we had a lot of fast‑break points. They did a great job getting back on the fast break. And it seemed like every time down we took the ball out the net.

Q. Talk about how important Game 2 is going to be for you guys, and how you guys have responded when your backs have been pushed against the wall.
RAJON RONDO: Obviously Game 2 is very important for us. Try to come out here and get the split now. We don't want to go back home down 0‑2 and giving them the opportunity to try to sneak one of their games in Boston and then come back here with two games to close out. We definitely want to try to get the split and go back home with three games to get back in the series.

Q. Could you talk about the Laker defense closing out on your penetration? It seemed like at times there was a lot of help and other times you had a lane to the basket but decided to dish it out instead of challenging them. Give me a feel for what you saw out there.
RAJON RONDO: They did a good job of collapsing when I did get a chance to get inside the paint. They're very long, Gasol and Bynum. Fish is very clever. He took a charge at me one time. They did a great job mixing it up. I've got to sometimes attack, make the refs call the call, and other times just get it out to our shooters.

Q. In your opinion how much difference Ron Artest makes for the Lakers comparing 2008 and right now?
RAJON RONDO: I don't know. He's more of a physical guy at the three. He's more physical than Ariza, but Ariza usually shoots those threes, as well, and Artest made some threes tonight. Other than that he hurt us behind the three‑point line, but other than that, they're almost similar but they both play good defense.
But Artest I think is a better guard for Paul maybe.

Celtics Center Kendrick Perkins

Q: [Inaudible]
Perkins: … We didn’t attack. We fouled every time. I just think, personally, we have to stick together and bounce back in Game 2. We’ve got to go back and watch film and come back down to earth and do what we do that got us here … we’ve got to get back to doing the little things.

Q: Why do you think that intensity was missing?
Perkins: I don’t know. It’s hard to say. I mean, their intensity wasn’t missing. They had the same layoff as us. I don’t know what to say; I just think they wanted it more and they came out and showed it.

Q: Do you think their home court made the difference?
Perkins: No, it wasn’t home court … they just played harder than us and that was it. They played harder and they wanted it more.

Q: Do you think the layoff had any affect?
Perkins: No. It didn’t have an affect on them. I feel that you just have to have more fight.

Q: You say they wanted it more, but how much does this team now want it down 0-1?
Perkins: I’m pretty sure the guys aren’t going to get any sleep tonight. I’m pretty sure guys are going to watch film in their rooms and get [it] back to what we need to do. We need to have two productive days on Friday and Saturday, and come back Sunday. There’s nothing we can do about this game. We lost it [and] we’ve got to bounce back stronger.

Q: Talk about the second-chance points and offensive rebounds you guys gave up….
Perkins: That was the key to the game. You know, Doc said win the rebounding war and we’d be alright today. But I thought that was the game today.

Lakers-Celtics Preview

By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Phil Jackson knows the story by heart, even if his players only seem interested in the last two chapters.

Their coach is steeped in the history of pro basketball’s most compelling rivalry, familiar with every twist in the Boston Celtics’ half-century of championship clashes with the Los Angeles Lakers. The NBA’s most decorated franchises have battled through heartbreaks, high stakes and neck-aches while forging a true pro sports rivalry, that rarest of commodities in the age of free agency.

Jackson doesn’t mind that almost everybody playing in the franchises’ 12th NBA finals meeting, starting Thursday night at Staples Center, doesn’t have much of a grasp on the history sewn into the uniforms they wear.

So what if Ron Artest claims total ignorance of the Lakers’ past, while Kobe Bryant says he couldn’t care less who Los Angeles played? So what if the deep-seated hatred between the franchises’ fans doesn’t seem to be truly savored by nearly anybody exceptPaul Pierce, the Los Angeles native turned Celtics star?

When asked why the kids these days just don’t get it, Jackson smirks and nimbly sidesteps the trap set for grumpy old men and history buffs.

“That rivalry is renewed … it seems like every 20 years, and now here it is,” Jackson said. “This is our second time going back at them. It’s one that I think piques the interest of the fans of basketball.”

Notice he didn’t mention the players’ interest. In the age of easy team-swapping, $100 million contracts and offseason Vegas partying with bitter in-season opponents, there’s not much actual malice to be found between these Lakers and these Celtics.

“It’s not a personal thing,” Celtics forward Kevin Garnett said before the Celtics practiced at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on Tuesday. “They’re a great team, we’re a great team. We’re both trying to get to the same goal.”

The clubs are meeting in the finals for the second time in three seasons, and the winner will walk away with the franchises’ 33rd combined championship. That’s more than half of the titles in NBA history.

Yet this 21st-century confluence of Boston’s Big Three era and Bryant’s career zenith still hasn’t reached the frequency and ferocity of the rivalry’s early years. They met seven times in 11 seasons from 1959-69—and the Celtics won every time, led by Bill Russell, coach Red Auerbach and whatever leprechaun pushed Frank Selvy’s late jumper off the rim in Game 7 of the 1962 finals, allowing Boston to win in overtime.

“It seems like most of the ’60s, the Lakers were playing the Celtics, and they were never able to get by them,” Jackson said. “That was a long and arduous period of time for these fans.”

Pierce grew up in Inglewood near the Lakers’ former neighborhood, and he heard the story about the balloons. He knows the Lakers were favorites against the Celtics in 1968 and again in 1969, but Boston twice rallied to beat Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain, forlornly stranding thousands of celebratory balloons in the rafters of the Forum.

“We’ve definitely got two franchises that never really liked each other because they were always playing for the ultimate prize,” said Pierce, the 2008 NBA finals MVP. “You can definitely sense that, and I already knew that growing up here.”

Bryant, burrowed deep into his playoff tunnel, professes not to care about the rivalry, even when a victory might fulfill West’s prediction that Kobe will go down as the greatest player to wear the Lakers’ uniform.

“I’m playing in it. I don’t give a damn about it,” Bryant said. “That’s for other people to get excited about. I get excited about winning.”

Yet it’s tough to believe Bryant: He also has said his NBA education during his youth in Italy largely consisted of watching Lakers-Celtics games, when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird clashed three times in four seasons.

Other Lakers aren’t excited about playing the Boston franchise so much as they’re thrilled for a chance at revenge on these particular Celtics, most of whom sent the Lakers home from the finals in 2008. Center Andrew Bynum, who was injured for that series, couldn’t resist talking up a Boston rematch even while the Lakers were in the thick of a tough Western Conference finals against Phoenix.

These Lakers don’t remember Game 4 of the 1984 series, when Kevin McHale clotheslined Kurt Rambis before Cedric Maxwell mimed a choking motion at James Worthy during a key game in perhaps the most fascinating finals in NBA history, an era-defining showcase of the Magic-Bird rivalry.

No, they remember June 2008, when celebrating Celtics fans punctuated their team’s 39-point victory in the clincher by throwing rocks at Los Angeles’ bus.

Leave it to Pau Gasol, the Lakers’ cultured Spanish forward in his third straight NBA finals, to find a common ground between the importance of this franchise’s history and the immediacy of winning one last playoff series in an eight-month grind of a modern season.

“The history just makes it a little more exciting than it already is,” Gasol said. “It’s a matchup that a lot of people want to see. The history is exciting, and there’s a lot of—you could say hate—between the teams, crowds and fans and stuff, but we try to be above that a little bit, and try not to let that affect our minds.

“Obviously it’s motivating, but you still want to win the Finals and championship no matter who it’s against. But obviously it will taste better, to be honest, than what we went through in 2008.”

Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited


Lakers-Celtics Scouting Report

The matchup that everyone wanted is here. As we prepare for Game 1 of the Finals the break in the schedule gives us a good amount of time to analyze our opponent. Following the final game of the conference finals there was a day off for everyone which was badly needed. While the players have had a few days off here and there, the staff enjoyed their first day off since the all-star break in February. Essentially every day was a Monday. After re-charging our batteries, we came back and started the process of showing the players the significant parts of the Boston attack. The first day we looked back at our two games against the Celtics. Both games went down to the last possession and even though Kobe didn’t play in the second contest there was some valuable information in those games. The next day we showed the team some game flow action of the Celtics recent playoff battles. On the final two days we get more specific as we look at some of the specific play sets that the Celtics like to use to get certain players the ball at certain areas of the floor.

Regster to Lakers Courtside Connection to read more.

Lakers-Celtics Injury Report

Shannon Brown (sprained right thumb) will play.
Kobe Bryant (arthritis, right index finger) will play.
Andrew Bynum (slight tear, lateral meniscus, right knee) is probable.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is probable.

Marquis Daniels (concussion) is day-to-day

Lakers-Celtics Game Notes


The Lakers split their 2009-10 season series with the Celtics 1-1 after sweeping last season’s series with Boston 2-0. The two teams have met 181 times since the Lakers moved to Los Angeles prior to the 1960- 61 season with Los Angeles trailing the series 83-98. Including their time in Minneapolis, the Lakers and Celtics have met 272 times in all with Boston leading the all-time series 152-120. The Lakers are 6-4 against the Celtics in their last 10 overall regular season meetings. In Boston, the Lakers are 6-4 in their last 10 regular season games at TD Garden while in Los Angeles, the Lakers are 7-4 all-time against the Celtics at STAPLES Center (regular season). Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 13-7 against Boston during the regular season. With the Lakers 92-83 Christmas Day victory in 2008, Phil Jackson recorded his 1,000th career victory as an NBA head coach. Under Jackson, the Lakers have swept Boston on five occasions while twice being swept by the Celtics during the regular season. In 22 career regular season games against Boston including 19 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 24.8 points, but missed their most recent meeting (2/18/10) with a left ankle injury. Pau Gasol is the next highest scoring Laker career-wise versus Boston, averaging 17.9 points in 15 career regular season games against the Celtics. Celtics forward Paul Pierce grew up in Southern California, attending Inglewood High. Last season, Phil Jackson surpassed legendary Celtics head coach Red Auerbach (9) with his 10th NBA championship as a head coach, an NBA record. Jackson surpassed Auerbach in all-time victories during the 2007-08 season and in games coached during the 2008-09 season. Losing to the Celtics in six games during the 2008 NBA Finals, the Lakers and Celtics are now meeting in their 12th NBA Finals dating back to Minneapolis in 1959. The Lakers are 2-9 in NBA Finals series against Boston, with the Celtics taking the first eight before Los Angeles won in 1985 and 1987.

- This will be the Lakers 25th trip to the NBA Finals since moving to Los Angeles (31st overall) and 16th since Dr. Jerry Buss purchased the team prior to 1979-80.

In 24 trips to the NBA Finals since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season, the Lakers are 10-14 all-time (15-15 overall) and 9-6 under Buss.

The Lakers are 85-87 all-time in the NBA Finals (65-72 Los Angeles, 20-15 Minneapolis).

Since the NBA went to a 2-3-2 format prior to the ‘85 Finals, the Lakers are 7-4 overall & 6-1 when holding home-court advantage (1987-88, 2000-02, 2004, 2009).

The Lakers are 15-15 in Game #1 of the NBA Finals (11-13 Los Angeles, 4-2 Minneapolis).

- When losing Game #1 and #2 of the NBA Finals, the Lakers are: 0-5 Los Angeles, 0-1 Minneapolis.

The Lakers are 12-3 all-time in the NBA Finals when holding home court advantage. (8-3 Los Angeles, 4-0 Minneapolis)

The Lakers and Celtics have met 11 previous times in the postseason (1959, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1984, 1985, 1987 and 2008), each time in the NBA Finals, with Los Angeles defeating Boston twice overall. The Lakers total of 67 playoff games against the Celtics (63 in LA era) is the highest against a single team in the franchise’s postseason history ahead of Phoenix (62) and San Antonio (52). The Lakers are 17-15 against the Celtics at home, 10-25 when visiting Boston and 27-40 overall against the Celtics in the postseason. Of their 11 meetings in the NBA Finals, four have gone the full seven games (1962, 1966, 1969, 1984) while five have gone six games (1963, 1968, 1985, 1987, 2008). Only once (1959) has there been a sweep. This will be just the third time that the Lakers have owned home court advantage (1969, 1987) against the Celtics. The Lakers are 2-1 against Boston since the Finals went to the 2-3-2 format beginning in 1985.

With a close-out Game 6 victory in the Western Conference Finals at Phoenix on May 29th, the Lakers became the 7th team since the 16-team NBA Playoff format began in 1983-84 to close out all three opponents on the road en route to the NBA Finals, joining the 2005-06 Mavericks, 2002-03 Spurs, 1998-99 Spurs, 1988-89 Pistons and Lakers and the 1985-86 Houston Rockets. Three of the previous six teams to do so went on to win an NBA Championship (’03 Spurs, ’99 Spurs, ’89 Pistons).

When Phil Jackson wins Game 1 of any playoff series, best-of-five or best-of-seven, his teams are 47-0, having gone 24-0 with Chicago and 23-0 with the Lakers. When Jackson-led teams open a series with a 2-0 lead, he is 36-0 all-time. And when holding a series lead of any kind, Jackson’s teams are 54-1 all-time.

With 37 points in a Game 6 victory 5/29 at Phoenix, Kobe Bryant finished the Western Conference Finals averaging 33.7 points per game while shooting 52.1 percent from the field. It was the 3rd highest scoring average Bryant has recorded in 38 career NBA playoff series, but the first time he had coupled such a high average with a shooting percentage of at least 50 percent. Over the last 35 seasons, only one other player led his team to a Conference Finals series victory with both a scoring average and a shooting percentage as high as Bryant's. Against the Spurs in 1995, the Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon averaged 35.3 points while shooting 56.0 percent from the field.

Since moving to STAPLES Center prior to the 1999-2000 season, the Lakers have won 85% of their postseason home games (71-13). The Lakers have topped the century mark in over half of their postseason home games at STAPLES Center (50-of-84) while the opposition has been held under 100 points in all but 25 of those games. In their last 47 home playoff games, the Lakers are 41-6 and have won 11 straight dating back to the 2009 Western Conference Finals.

With 37 points 5/29 at Phoenix, Kobe Bryant recorded his 75th career 30+ point playoff game, passing Jerry West (74) and tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (75) for the second most 30+ point playoff games in NBA history. Only Michael Jordan (109) has more 30+ point playoff games than Bryant. Elgin Baylor (60) and Shaquille O’Neal (55) round out the all-time list. Bryant, who recorded his first 30+ point playoff game in the 2000 NBA Playoffs, has posted 11 30+ point games this postseason alone. The most 30+ point games Bryant has ever recorded in a single postseason game last year when he posted 15 such games.


With 37 points in Game 6 of the Conf. Finals 5/29 at Phoenix, Kobe Bryant recorded 30+ points for the 8th consecutive time in a road game in which the Lakers have had the opportunity to close a series out. His string of eight straight such games is an NBA record, with Elgin Baylor (6), Michael Jordan (5) and Oscar Robertson (4) rounding out the list. Bryant’s streak began with 31 points (12-24 FG) 4/28/08 @ DEN and continued with 34 points (9-19 FG) 5/16/08 @ UTAH, 32 points (11-27 FG) 5/14/09 @ HOU, 35 points (12-20 FG) 5/29/09 @ DEN, 30 points (10-23 FG) 6/14/09 @ ORL, 32 points (12-25 FG) 4/30/10 @ OKC and 32 points (11-23 FG) 5/10/10 @ UTAH.*

BRYANT PASSES KARL MALONE FOR 4th ON NBA’S ALL-TIME PLAYOFF SCORING LIST With a 3-point field goal at the 2:04 mark of the second quarter May 25 at Phoenix, Kobe Bryant passed Karl Malone (4,761) for 4th on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list. Earlier this postseason, with a fade away jumper at the 8:58 mark of the third quarter April 22 at Oklahoma City, Bryant moved past Jerry West (4,457) for 1st on the Lakers all-time playoff scoring list and 5th on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list. Only Michael Jordan (1st/5,987), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2nd/5,762) and Shaquille O’Neal (3rd/5,248) have scored more points in the playoffs than Bryant (4,852). Among all players with 2,500+ postseason points, only Michael Jordan (33.4), Jerry West (29.1), Elgin Baylor (27.0), Hakeem Olajuwon (25.9) and Dirk Nowitzki (25.6) have a higher postseason scoring average than Bryant (25.4).


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