Things You Should Know About The Celtics

Kurt —  June 3, 2008

Today, Jeff from Celtics Blog has been given this space, and I have been granted a little time over at his site.

Hello Lakers fans! Kurt was kind enough to lend me a little space on this blog to discuss the Celtics and I am doing the same for him on CelticsBlog.com. To be clear, this absolutely not intended to be a trash talking article. Far from it. Kurt is one of my favorite bloggers in the business and I respect the Lakers and fans like you a great deal. Hey, if Larry and Magic can be best of friends, then maybe we all can coexist harmoniously, right?

Anyway, Kurt and I thought it would be a fun idea to address the opposing team’s fanbase for a day. So here are some things that I wanted you to know about the Celtics and in particular Celtics fans.

Bill Simmons doesn’t always speak for all of us. Let’s get this out of the way up front. I think Simmons is a fantastic writer. He’s gotten on a lot of people’s nerves lately (especially with this whole reverse-jinx thing). Still, a lot of us in Boston still find Simmons to be clever and he’s always had a knack for expressing the emotions of being a fan (especially a Boston fan). His has a gift of putting into words exactly how it feels when we get stomach-punched (Len Bias) or when we are on top of the world (2004 Red Sox). With that said, he doesn’t always speak for a nation of Celtics fans.

He does know his basketball, but that doesn’t mean we always agree with him. For instance, not everyone is convinced that Doc Rivers is responsible for everything wrong with sports, clubbing baby seals, and the rising cost of crude oil. Some of us actually give Doc credit for taking a diverse set of alpha-dogs, getting them to buy into the team concept, and guiding the team to 66 wins and a Finals berth in their first year playing with each other. If I had to put a number on it, I’d say 50% of Celtics fans probably do think the way Simmons does about Doc. The other 50% is cautiously optimistic that he’s good enough to guide a potentially great team to the title. Nobody will confuse him with Red or even Phil, but we’re hoping he’s something like another KC Jones.

We are head over heels for Rajon Rondo (and to a lesser extent Kendrick Perkins). It is hard to put a finger on exactly what makes Rajon so popular, but I think it has something to do with the fact that we haven’t had a young, dynamic playmaking point guard in a long, long time. The best points we’ve had since DJ left have been an old Kenny Anderson and an older Gary Payton. Rondo’s a revelation with his quickness, penetration, distribution, and defense. But most importantly, the offense simply runs 100% smoother when he’s in the game than when he’s not.

I know you’ve all heard about his sub-par jumpshot. You must be salivating at the idea of leaving him open outside to double down on one of the big three. Sometimes that works, but not as much as you might think. First of all, he’s getting better and better at taking and making those wide open mid-range jumpers. Secondly, if you give him room to roam, he’ll still blow by most defenders and force you to react to him. There will be nights (like game 5 of the ECF) when he’s shooting very poorly and making the kinds of mistakes that second year point guards make. But then you’ll look up at the box score and he’s still got 13 assists, 4 steals, and 6 rebounds. The kid is just a joy to watch.

We are also big fans of Kendrick Perkins. You probably won’t like him. He is very emotional and he celebrates big moments like a linebacker that just got a sack. You might find yourself wondering why a guy that averages 6.9 points a game would ever open his mouth. But from where we sit, he’s earned his stripes with the all-out effort he gives on the court.

He’s not much of a scoring threat, but he’s been known to drop 18 points on an unsuspecting opponent from time to time. Where he’s really valuable is on defense and on the boards. He’ll blitz the pick and roll at the top of the key and sprint (not easy with a 280 lb. frame) back to the baseline to pick up his defensive rotation and box out. Let’s put it this way, Celtics fans (like our hero Tommy Heinsohn) love hustle plays and hard working players. That is Kendrick’s whole game and we love him for it.

We are not “front runners,” we’re just bi-polar. Some people will try to tell you that we are “front runners.” That might just be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. If Celtics fans can be accused of anything it is for caring a bit too much. On any given day, our fans are either over the moon in love with this team or tearing our hair out in frustration. That’s just the way we’re hard wired.

Take CelticsBlog for example. Last year the forums were full of people with 100 different theories about why we were so bad and everyone had a different plan to make the team better. This year, with a drastically better team, the amount of activity on the forums actually dropped a bit during the regular season. Why? Fewer things to complain about! Any team is going to pick up your standard pink hat fans when the team is doing well, including your Lakers. However, as a general rule Celtics fans are amongst the most diehard there is.

I admit, we’re pretty self absorbed. I mean, this whole post is about us isn’t it? I blame the East coast biased media. For my part, I did my part to help fans avoid the “Boston fan” stereotypes.

Some more quick hits:

• We respect Kobe’s game, but will never admire him like we do other team’s stars.

• We absolutely love Tommy.

• We like Big Baby, but right now we prefer Leon Powe off the bench.

• “Beat LA!” started out as an encouragement to the 76ers.

• Scalabrine is as much of a joke to us as he is to you.

• The 1986 team would have destroyed the Lakers, I’m still personally bitter about that.

• We love our history but we’re trying not to live in the past or become like Yankee fans.

• We are officially done with the Sam Cassell experiment. Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!

• If you see a guy from the 70’s dancing in a “Gino” shirt, you’ve already lost.

• We really don’t want to see Phil Jackson pass Red.

Feel free to pepper me with questions about the Celtics or offer your own comments on what I wrote. I’ll answer the best I can. Thanks for your time.

Kurt

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181 responses to Things You Should Know About The Celtics

  1. please feel free to send me your questions (or insults, or hate mail, or whatever)

  2. Jeff,

    Glad to see you in Lakerland. I was interested to see what you thought of the guard matchups and the bench matchup. These are two factors that I think the Lakers have distinct advantages over your beloved Celtics. How do the Celtics counter these (admittedly self-perceived) advantages?

  3. I just saw film on ESPN of the 1962 Lakers-Celtics finals game 3 where Jerry West stole the ball from Bob Cousy and laid it up for the win at the buzzer.That was the game that started me as a Lakers fan
    I was a sophomore in high school and my best friend’s dad had company seats,middle,6 rows up,and they took me.
    Don’t think I had ever seen the film of the end of the game but it looked just like I remembered.Talk about a flash back.

  4. Warren Wee Lim June 3, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Jeff, I made a post on your blog “talking” to Celtics fans. I also did it on the previous thread to this one.

  5. WeaselD, I understand why you are confident in Fisher over Rondo, but I still say you should not count him out. What he lacks in experience he makes up for in talent. That won’t always be enough, but I have no doubt that he could be the deciding factor of at least one game this series.

    Of course Kobe has it all over Ray, but if Ray can hit his shots and not pull another disapearing act again, he can at least help carry the load offensively.

  6. The bench has been up and down all post season long for us. Honestly I don’t know your bench well enough to compare outright. I really hope we are done seeing Sam Cassell get his pocket picked in the back court. Sam’s just not a PG anymore and Eddie House can score just as well if not better than Sam.

    PJ Brown has gotten better the more he plays and was huge in the Cleveland series. Posey is just nails. I’m sure you guys will learn to hate him like everyone else does, but that makes him beautiful to us.

    Other than that, like I said, Leon Powe is a tough undersized PF that fans prefer to Big Baby.

  7. Someone made the suggestion in ASBNLL, and I think it’s a good one, that Simmons is not trying a reverse-jinx in this column–just as he says he’s not doing. Oh, obviously he won’t mind if it works that way, but it’s not his intent. Rather, it’s something he’s done in the past (though not, evidently, this most recent go-around with the Pats): Prepare himself for the plausible crushing loss, so that when it comes–if it comes–it’s not as crushing, and if it doesn’t, the win seems more unexpected and pleasant.

  8. I have a feeling we’re going to get to know Sasha a lot better in the coming week or so. Tell me about the rest of your bench. Is Turiaf like a Leon Powe?

  9. you might be right about Simmons – which is why I posted on my site that we need an intervention – he’s becoming what he hates (the Boston media)

  10. Jeff and kurt,

    great job coming up with the idea of switching it up for a day. hopefully this will help both groups have a better understanding and appreciation of the other group and how truly lucky we all are to have both the lakers and celtics back in the finals.

    with that said, jeff i would like to ask you who do you think among the celtcis bench will have a chance to elevate his game in the finals and why?

  11. Jeff, great to see the swap for the day. A couple of questions:

    *How do you think Doc will cover Kobe? Dare him to shoot jumpers? Double him hard? Something else?

    *How do you think Perkins will handle Pau in isolation sets? Perkins was able to muscle Bynum away from the hoop and keep him away from the offensive glass, but Pau is a different type of player that uses quickness and skill to get to his sweet spots. Will Perk be up to that challenge?

    *RE Rondo: I think Phil will funnell the offense to him and try to veer him to areas of the court where he is least comfortable. Is Rondo skilled enough offensively to beat this type of strategy? I know his jumper has improved (and as you mentioned he does have a very good all around game), but is he ready to consistently make the Lakers pay?

    *Simmons (and others) have spoken about KG and how he sometimes doesn’t make the plays that you would want from the best player (especially on offense). Do you feel the same way or is that ultimately trumped by his high intensity and the dirty work that he does that leads to wins?

    *Honest oppinion: Who is the favorite in this series?

    Thanks for taking the time and good luck (but not too much) in the Finals…

  12. jeff- in response to your “is ronny like a leon powe?” question. The only really help I can give from a fans stand point is that they both play similiar roles as you already know however I do think that Ronny has a better mid range game. You will either see him take a 12 foot jump shot at the high post or he will dunk, but he isn’t really in the game for his offense. His defense is solid and he likes to play physical just like powe. I hope and I think that you will see a lot of him in the finals if perkins gives Pau/Lamar problems, similar to when duncan was simply being too physical with Pau. Also to finish off he is like a human can of Red Bull and is proberbly our most energetic person on the team, (even if he’s on the bench)

  13. @#8 the way you described powe in #6 would best describe ronnie on paper.

    he is much more than that though. i think the best way to describe ronnie would be as our energy guy. he’s the sparkplug that gets the laker engine running, whether it be his cheering antics on the bench or his hussle and heart on the floor.

  14. Posey is a given to make a difference off the bench (usually on D or with a big 3) – outside that, it is anyone’s guess who will step up, but if I had to pick, I’d guess Eddie House with some timely outside shooting

  15. 1) Warren, where’d you post on CelticsBlog?

    2) Jeff-Great blog by the way. Forum section is a little overwhelming but I’ll see if I can navigate through it.

    To answer your question on Turiaf: I don’t really know about Powe, but Ronny has four aspects of his game which you’ll see, two being on the offensive end.

    a) He can consistently hit the 12-14 footer at the elbow. Opposing centers never play up on him at this distance from the basket, and most of his points come from this shot. Unfortunately, national broadcasters don’t know his game and always seem surprised when he hits and question the shot when he misses. That’s his shot. Unfortunately for someone his size, his inside game is severely limited.

    b)The other aspect of his offense, and where he gets his points down low, is off dump passes when his defender is in a help situation. Kobe and sometimes Walton have the ability to find him open under the basket, maybe once or twice a game, and the crowd is treated to a thunderous dunk, braids flying everywhere.

    3) The next aspect of Ronny’s game is on the defensive end. Ronny is huge. Broad. Very different from the starting frontcourt of Gasol, Odom, and Vlad. He is injury prone, but always seems to have one or two momentum-shifting blocks a game. He rarely plays more than 12-15 minutes, so when he’s in the game. He’s all energy.

    4) Last aspect of his game: watch him on the bench. Dude can dance.

  16. In the previous comment (14), I meant to say ROnny is foul prone, not injury prone.

  17. Jeff, good to have you here. Everyone’s giddy about this series. Like Kurt said, it’s just more fun when it’s against the Celtics. One thing, though:

    *We love our history but we’re trying not to live in the past or become like Yankee fans.*

    You won’t like to hear this, but from our vantage point out here, Boston fans and New York fans are flip sides of the same obnoxious coin. (Blame ESPN’s ALL I-95 ALL THE TIME coverage, if it softens the blow.) I look forward to you doing your best to dispel that impression…

  18. The Laker bench has definitely been a strength all season (with possible exception of the Utah series, which was a great bench battle all 6 games).

    The most striking element the bench brings is the change of pace. The Lakers 2nd unit plays much faster than the starters do. While most teams struggle to hang on when the starters leave the game, the Laker bench tends to extend leads/shrink deficits (see Game 5 in the Spurs series). Typically, PJ will pull his starters with about 3 min to play in the 1st quarter and comes in with Farmar, Vujacic (who you will absolutely despise in this series) Walton, Turiaf, and Gasol/Odom. This unit plays extremely hard and runs the Triangle extremely well. The Triangle will go through Gasol and with the hard cutting action and with Gasol’s passing ability he is able to find open shooters at the top of the key and on the baselines.

    If the bench plays well, watch out.

  19. laughing hard June 3, 2008 at 10:51 am

    8 — Hey Jeff, thanks for coming into enemy territory to give us your impressions.

    Turiaf is a little bigger and stronger than Powe, but he’s been relegated to a very limited role this postseason. With Gasol and Odom both playing 40+ minutes, his time on court has dropped since the regular season from about 18 minutes to between 7 and 8. During that time he hasn’t done the kind of damage on the stat sheet that he did during the season, but he’s come onto the court and given some very good minutes defensively (he had a couple of really nice blocks on Boozer and Duncan in the last two series).

    Phil Jackson has taken to leaving Gasol and Odom out with the second unit while Kobe rests (during the season it was usually Turiaf and Odom during those stretches). When Turiaf is in, he gives LA a solid interior defensive presence, but can’t be counted on for much offensively outside of a couple of putbacks at the rim. He also has a surprisingly consistent 21-foot jump shot from either the top of the key or one of the wings, which seems to surprise the announcer every time he makes it.

  20. Jeff,

    I keep hearing about how the Celtics have the advantage in the frontcourt — what with KG, PP, and Perkins, and the Lakers have it in the backcourt. with Kobe and Fish beating out Rondo and Ray.

    My question is this: do the Celtics have a low post threat besides Pierce (and before you say KG, understand that to me it seems that 75% of his offense is faceups and fadeaways)? It seems like the Lakers are long enough to contain the Celtics post game and Perkins doesn’t have the moves to take advantage of his size were the Lakers to slap, say, Radmonovic on him.

    Anyways, great to have you here. Hope you enjoy your stay. We’ve been enjoying your blog.

    Happydaze

  21. Jeff,
    RE our bench: Turiaf is a more athletic Powe type of player (living in Oakland, I’m familiar with Powe. I love Powe). He is a good player that will probably draw interest on the RFA market this off-season. He has a semi-reliable mid-range jumper that he shoots with confidence (which is important) and is a good finisher inside. He usually makes good decisions with the ball and has really shown that he has a good IQ by operating well in the Triangle….passing well, setting good screens, and moving to open spaces where he can catch and finish. He is prone to fouling on defense, but uses his body the best way he can and challenges shots with his length and athleticism. He protects the rim and will not give up easy lay ups. He will go for the block (and get some) but will also give the *playoff foul* and make you earn it at the line.

    Farmar is a confident young guard in the Rondo mold. He’s got a pretty good outside jumper and has quickness in attacking the rim and finishing. He had his confidence shaken against Utah where Fisher’s foul trouble had him matched up with the bigger/stronger Williams, but bounced back well against the Spurs and showed us a lot in terms of perseverance and mental toughness. He was also instrumental in our Game 5 comeback against the Spurs when he came into the game with the 2nd unit and had a 6-0 run all on his own. He is energy off the bench and is a good *leader* for the 2nd team. His growth, combined with improvements from Sasha and Bynum, really took our team to the next level.

    Luke is the veteran of our 2nd unit. He has the most experience and is the most knowledgeable in terms of offensive and defensive schemes. He is also one of the guys (Sasha being the other) that will find himself on the floor in crunch time. Phil trusts him to make the right decisions, so that reliability is good. Luke is really a less athletic, poor man’s Odom. He stuffs the stat sheet, he plays in the post, can hit the jumper, can push the ball on the break, and is a good rebounder for his size on both the offensive and defensive glass. He has a problem with finishing inside (at times) and his confidence comes and goes and he can get down on himself. But he has had a pretty good playoffs, playing excellent against Denver and okay against Utah/Spurs.

    Sasha is a sharp shooting irratant. He is second to Kobe in terms of confidence. *Machine like take big shots*. He has impressed this year with his ability extend on defense as an on ball pressurer and an off ball chaser. He did a good job on Ginobili and a good job on Korver. Phil has been giving him RadMan’s crunch time minutes as his defense has proven to be strong and his shooting is very good (providing another FT shooter to close out games and a player that can generate the spacing needed to run the offense effectively).

    Obviously our bench is not perfect, but it’s been a strength of ours all season. They have had multiple games where they have put up more than 40 points (where multiple players get into double digits) and really do play as a unit. I think their youth, athleticism, and exectuion can trump some of the experience that the Celtics bring off their bench, but we’ll see how Doc uses his rotations and who matches up with who.

  22. Hey Jeff, thanks for much more insightful analysis than I’ve gotten all year on ESPN. I appreciate your take on Rondo. It’s symptomatic of the TV coverage that they can’t carry two thoughts (The Big Three and There Are Nine Other Players) in their head at the same time. I think all year people have underrated Rondo. He’s a very good rebounder for a guard. He makes great decisions on the court, he’s quick, brave; it’s just a pity ESPN (not that the Big Three don’t deserve the coverage) can’t recognize other players adequately. I think Ronny is probably a little less strong than Powe but he has a better jumper and Powe (at least from what I’ve seen) seems a bit more inclined to take it inside. But both are energizers…and really…..can Powe dance like this? http://preview.tinyurl.com/5aqtl9

  23. Oh man, please put Radman on Perkins. That would be a treat.

    Perkins is about as fluid as stone, but he can post up a smaller player and just back him down with pure force. He’s even getting a little touch on his shot.

    He’s most effective when someone drives to the hoop, forcing Perk’s defender to help, then being available for the open dunk or reverse layup.

    Of course all Celtics fans cringe when he starts his slow gather for a dunk, which allows defenders to come in and block the ball or at least foul him (where he’s not the best FT shooter).

  24. Jeff (CelticsBlog) thanks for your write up…and thanks for making it in such a fan oriented fashion. I think real fans of the game of basketball can appreciate what we are about to see on Thrusday night and are able to leave out much of their personal bias when really breaking down the players and styles of each of these teams. I appreciate the small insight to a Celtics fan and wish you guys the best of luck.

    stating the obvious here but the team that plays the better defnse and takes the other team out of comfot situations wins this series.

    Lamar is the key for the Lakers…as always in my opinion. He has been known to given KG trouble when healthy and everyone else knows their D assignments and he dosent have to help defend every possession. I am not saying LO is greater than or anything of the sort…but he does pose problems for KG and always has. It will be interesting to see if the Celtics pound it inside to KP then to free KG up some. Look for Mihm and Turiaf to come in and take some fouls. I see the Lakers playing soft of Ray Ray until he starts consitenly hitting his shots so their is a help defender for to help take Peirce down a notch.

    I will say this…its great to see the Celtics back in the finals…I have missed hating green for a long time…I almost forgot what it was like….but its all coming back to me….and it will be nice to have another parade in Los Angles in June at the Celtics expense.

  25. Do Celtic fans realize that when Pau is in the Lakers lineup, the team is 35-7? That’s a 70-win season pace and this includes the playoffs, which means the opponents are better than your normal NBA schedule. That’s pretty impressive.

    After the 1st 41 games of the Celtics season, Boston was 34-7 before KG got hurt…but that’s against a weaker schedule.

    I don’t think Boston fans realize how much better the Lakers got after acquiring Pau.

  26. VladRad on Perkins would be awful.

    Bynum got owned by Perkins in December; I think Perkins almost had 20 and 10

  27. Pau is a problem for us, no doubt. Nobody’s really sure what’s going to happen with him. Hopefully KG or Perkins can slow him down somewhat, but if he’s roaming around the outside, it makes it very hard for us (see Big Z and Sheed in prior games).

  28. I wish Bynum could play :-(

  29. I wish Cassell could (still) play :(

  30. Turiaf lacks gumption on the post unless he’s wide open for a dunk. If there’s even a modicum of pressure, he will dish it out–usually to a Laker, but often leading to a three-second call. He’s an underrated shot-blocker, but he can too easily be put into the popcorn machine. (Do any of the other Laker fans remember a certain Antonio Harvey? Turiaf’s much better, of course, but there are certain similarities.) He would be a good match for Perkins, I think, but he cannot play the same number of minutes, so he’s not the primary solution the Lakers will employ. He has a good 17-footer. More recently, he’s been trying to stretch his range, with indifferent success.

    I wouldn’t take too much from Kobe’s shooting percentages from the early-season matchups. Yes, Bynum was there, and the Lakers were still a good team, but the offense is pretty different between December and now. Pau has made it much more fluid; it is considerably less Kobe-drive-and-dish. That said, Kobe must be careful how he harnesses his “this is my time” mojo.

    Celtics have reasonable length, but the Lakers are freakishly long. I’m curious to see how the Celtics will deal with the Laker knuckledraggers. Will they be able to force Pau into weenie shots? Can they make Lamar go right? Will Space Cadet touch the arena ceiling on his next rainmaker?

    Print up your membership cards in the SFC.

    Neither of these teams is exactly long on championship experience. Lakers have a slight edge, but the teams as a whole are pretty fresh to the Finals experience. I’m also curious to see how that all plays out. Will players freeze up? I don’t think so, but it could affect decision making in more subtle ways.

  31. Jeff (26): Pau’s midrange game has really gone south during the playoffs, and it’s not just field goals–his free throw shooting has also become unreliable. This is in turn affecting his close-in shots, as defenders feel more comfortable putting more pressure on him, knowing that a foul is not the costly proposition it might have been earlier in the year. That notwithstanding, I think Pau must continue to threaten that shot, and he must put down the running hook with regularity. He’s no match strengthwise with the Celtic defenders, but his length can help him get the shot around them. One thing he should not do, that he’s done a couple of times each game, is to go iso and grind to a halt for a few seconds. Kobe can do that because his repertoire of moves is much broader, but there’s only so many moves Pau can do from that mid-angle spot about 15 feet out.

  32. Hey, Jeff. I won’t say “nice to see you”, but thanks for taking the time to come by and (potentially) expose yourself to fire.

    I have to say, after going over to your blog and looking over the comments there, it seems most of your readership take a very dim view of Gasol (and LA as a city, and the Lakers in general). I have to ask, is that an opinion you share (as in Pau Gasol is a big white softie)?

    Furthermore, what’s your opinion on Kevin Garnett’s crunch-time performance? I’ve always been in the “Garnett is not clutch” camp, and I’ve seen positively nothing in these playoffs so far to deter me from that belief. In fact, late in games, whenever Garnett gets the ball, I’ve more than once remarked “He’s going to take a turnaround fadeaway and miss it badly” and been right more times than I would be comfortable with if I were a Celtics fan (of course, I took perverse delight in watching him miss).

    As an interesting aside: looking over the proceedings here, I have to say they’ve been rather civil so far…poor Kurt, on the other hand, is busy being slammed over at the Celtics blog.

  33. laughing hard June 3, 2008 at 11:39 am

    25 — Pau is very unlikely to be roaming outside. His consistent range is limited to about 12-15 feet from the rim, but he does most of his damage on the inside.

    Jeff, what do you consider the worst match-up for your guys? For ours?

  34. This is great stuff. Who is Space Cadet? What are “weenie shots?”

  35. Jeff, Phil Jackson refers to Radmanovic as a space cadet. It’s earned. I’ll let someone else take a shot at weenie shots.

  36. Jeff (33): Space Cadet is D-Rad. He is also “My Favorite Martian.” I think both of those come from Phil, but I’m not sure. Weenie shots are Pau’s four-foot layups without conviction, which go in at about a 40 percent clip. Also a Phil sound bite.

    I took a gander over at your blog, Jeff. Looks like Kurt is having to deal with a bit more trash talk than you are today. :)

  37. That was V-Rad, not D-Rad.

  38. Brian, I can handle my own. I haven’t brought up Grady Little once.

  39. @ 31 – My impression of Gasol is this “good offense, bad defense (though I hear he’s a good weak side shot blocker”)” – We’ll see if I’m proven wrong but I fully admit I’m not familiar enough with his game to make a solid assesment.

  40. 33.Jeff. Weenie shots refers to the little light flip shots at the rim that Gasol tends to like to do when he is being pushed around or if he is tired. Phil wants him to take it hard at the basket instead but….

  41. The KG clutch thing is starting to get old for me. Not that I can blame you for bringing it up, it seems to be the topic du jour. My official stance is this: 1. I don’t think he’s as un-clutch as many make him out to be. If he has good looks in the 4th, he’s just as likely to make those shots as anyone. 2. the thing with him is that he refuses to FORCE shots in the 4th or at any other time in the game. He’s unselfish – sometimes to a fault. If you double team him in the 4th, he’ll pass to the open man. If that open man is hitting shots, great! If not, sometimes we wish he would just take the shot against the double team. 3. Even if he wasn’t clutch on offense in the 4th, he still brings it all game on defense and manages to chip in 20 – 25 points on any given night. I’ll take that.

    the man IS clutch on defense, I can promise you that

  42. Hey Jeff, how did you feel when in game 6 vs the Pistons KG passed up that open 15 footer in crunch time to a startled Rondo who hadn’t shot in a while?

  43. Kurt (37): Back pocket, eh? Good thinking.

    I know you can handle your own. I post not to pull you out, but to praise you. :)

  44. I do appreciate the warm welcome guys. I’m not sure why the tone is different on CB. I hope it doesn’t turn sour because that was not our intention at all.

  45. I read what’s going on over at Celticsblog and they are definitely not as “calm” as we are over here. They seem to be really enraged that Kurt said Fisher could contain Rondo. They seem generally offended by that comment.

    I understand that this is just the passion of the Celtics fans. I give them a lot of credit. Their team has a lot of talent and heart.

    What they lack though, is championship experience. And it shows in both the behavior of the Celtics players as well as their fans. The Lakers players may not have championship experience other than Kobe and Fish, but the players who have not won yet have already been trained to act like champs by the coaching staff. Everybody from the owners down to the towel boys have rings. It sets an example of a “winning atmosphere”.

    The Celtics do not have these winners to follow. Most of their front office from their last championship is not really around anymore, and their coaches have no rings on their fingers. The coaching staff is just as much of a rookie to the Finals as the players are. Sure Cassell and Posey have rings, but this series is depending on KG, Pierce and Allen and those 3 have no notable winning in their careers.

    It just seems to me like the Celtics are a little too happy to be in the Finals. A true champion knows that the work is not over yet. Getting to the Finals does not mean anything unless you channel your emotions and keep your eye on the prize. The Celtics (especially Paul Pierce) seem a little over-excited and may be a little distracted by the glamour of the Finals.

    I see it in the fan bases too. Lakers fans are feeling a sense of “we’re back where we feel at home” in the Finals. We have been here before, we have won and we have lost. We know how much work is left to do and we are all going about it in a calm professional manner. The Celtics fans seem a little on edge.

  46. I wouldn’t say ugly. The fan base at Jeff’s site is smart and very passionate. They don’t like LA, they don’t love my takes (I’d be shocked if they did) but it hasn’t been personal. That’s all good.

  47. @41 that was terrible, but keep in mind he also had 10 points in the 4th of that game (it was game 5 actually) and hit the game clinching free throws – not bad for “not clutch”

  48. It will be fun hearing the battle of the soundbites between Phil and Doc – they can both turn a phrase from time to time.

  49. Well, to be fair I also recall KG missing two huge free throws late in the 4th quarter of Game 6.

    Regarding the tone at Celtics Blog, I don’t have any problem with trash talk, but I do think the overall attitude is condescending and more than a little smug, which is hardly warranted considering the Celtics’ performance against two vastly inferior teams in the first two rounds (The Cavs are understandable in the “Hey, it’s LeBron” sense, but honestly I think the Celts should have done a lot better considering overall team superiority, like San Antonio last season).

    Not to say I haven’t been guilty of the same on other occasions, but meh. I suppose it’s simply more irritating when you’re on the receiving end.

  50. If Pau is limited to an inside game, then I’m cautiously optimistic that the combination of KG and Perk will be able to keep him honest. That said, the Lakers passing and spacing will likely give him some looks that other bigs wouldn’t get.

    I seem to remember Gasol being quiet in our meeting against him this year, but the Griz being a terrible team might have had a lot to do with that.

  51. I just read Kurt’s guest post over at CelticsBlog and wow…there are a lot of Laker haters there. In the comments here, it is more constructive, talking about the game, matchups, and so forth, whereas over at CelticsBlog everybody is just bashing the Lakers even bringing up quotes from “the great Red”. There doesn’t seem to be any analysis other than, “we are great! we live and breathe basketball! we’re gonna kick butt!” etc. They feel like it’s their destiny to win, and will win. Laker fans here (FB&G) know it’s not gonna be easy and will be the toughest challenge yet. Even Paul Pierce started a “Beat LA” chant after winning the Eastern Conference Finals.

    Jeff, why are Celtic fans like that?

  52. By the way, in the LA Times today Lamar Odom hints that he would be on Perkins and Gasol will take KG.

  53. One more thing…rather than Kurt being able to analyze and talk about matchups, defense, offense, etc. he seems to be defending the Lakers more than anything else. The Celtic fans seem to keep dismissing the Lakers as another speed bump.

  54. “The Celtics do not have these winners to follow.”

    Danny Ainge begs to differ. So do all the old timers that come out and support the team. Tommy is active with the team. Russell has taken a liking to KG. Big man coach Clifford Ray has a ring with the Warriors.

    We don’t have Phil Jackson, but that doesn’t mean there’s no winners to follow.

  55. Jeff,

    I noticed in your response #26 to comment #24 you spoke of Pau “being a problem for us”. The comment was speaking of the Lakers TEAM since the aquisition of Pau.

    I know this sounds like splitting hairs, but I think it highlights a major flaw that I have noticed on CelticsBlog. There seems to be a “Pau is slightly better than Bynum so we should be OK” thing going on there.

    This is the flaw. The Lakers play a completely different game now as opposed to then. Not only do you have the play of Pau, but also the new role of Kobe, the much improved Odom, the subsequent improvement of Sasha, Farmar, Radmanovic, etc. The pick and roll is a Laker staple (no pun intended) now, and the offense runs like a well oiled machine (again no pun intended).

    How do you feel about this? Do you agree with this assessment? Most people over at CelticBlog (great site by the way) don’t seem to understand the difference and are focusing on the 2-0 regular season record way too much.

    Thanks for the reply (in advance obviously)

  56. Mikee,

    The Spurs fans did the same thing if you remember. :-)

  57. Great Stuff Jeff and Kurt… I have been a fan on your blog for sometime now, but haven’t been reading as much this year.( like you said, it is not as interesting when your a winner).

    I see why your bloggers are getting upset about rondo. You gotta figure he will be able to blow by fisher. I don’t feel that is going to be a difference maker and should not be the focus of this series. I think it will come down to the bench, and altough the celts pine had a great season, the lakers bench has been more established this postseason.

    I wonder if any national media will pick up this story. Two of the better blogs in the league sharing thoughts about each other!

    Lastly, I know sox fans always take a liking to their jewish athletes(youk,Kapler) , any talk of Jordan Farmar over there?

  58. don’t forget what I said about Celtics fans – we’re on top of the world right now – as soon as we lose a game (IF we lose a game! – sorry, couldn’t resist) we’ll be moaning about our lot in life and wondering if we can hold Kobe to 100 points a game

  59. Who guards Odom?

  60. Jeff, do you think Sam Cassell is the second best player on the floor? – for the Lakers. Can he get a little burn… please?

  61. Rondo guards Fisher
    Ray tries to guard Kobe
    I think I’d be tempted to put Pierce on V-Rad
    then KG gets Odom and Perk gets Gasol

    of course the beauty of our defense is that nobody is on an island – they switch and cover for each other and most importantly they all trust each other

    so you’ll see Kobe picked up by KG and the occasional mismatch where Gasol is facing Pierce with help on the way

  62. LOL, so much for the streak of classy posts – I guess it had to end some time

  63. Ray Allen to guard Kobe. Thanks! That’s all the insentive Kobe needs to have a huge series. Those two games the Lakers lost to the Celtics, don’t make too much out of them. The Mamba had not yet made this his team. It is now. I love the Lakers but think the sports writers are having fun with the Celtic fans. There is no way the majority of the sports writers should be picking L.A.. At best it should be about 50/50. The Celtics have home court, they have the best record, There defense is superior to the Lakers and they have players who can breakout when least expected. I think both teams will win a game on the road and it will come down to game 7 in Boston where the Lakers will break the hearts of the Celtic horde.

  64. If it plays out like that, I’d have to give the edge in the 4,5 match to the Lakers. You have to like Gasol’s chances against Perkins/Big Baby, I’m sure PJ Brown is crafty enough to hold his own, but I thought he was more or less out there to pick up six fouls as quickly as possible…now if the Celtics have to switch to Garnett covering him, then Odom gets involved…if they double gasol, then you have to like his ability to hit the open man…It’ll definetly be interesting to see what Doc’s assignment for the Defensive Player of the year is….I’d just think that he’d use him on Gasol, instead of the “3rd option”…

  65. regarding Ray on Kobe, nobody thinks that’s a fun matchup for us, I got a little hope from reading TrueHoop’s post on how the C’s guarded him this year

    a little

  66. Jeff,

    In all seriousness, welcome to FBG. We really enjoy hanging out here for the tone, civility, and love of the team, but also the love of the game.

    I think I speak for all of the Laker fans that while we wish desperately for the Lakers to win , especially over the Celtics, win or not we consider this season to be a blessing. From the turmoils of last summer to where we are today the process has been quite unexpected. I haven’t enjoyed the Lakers this much since 1987.

    So for me one key distinction between the two teams is expectation. We the fans and the city are simply surprised, proud and delighted at this young team’s progress and wish for their success and will be satistified with the result (while hoping for victory).

    I think the expectation for the Celtics, their fans, and the entire city has been entirely different ever since the Garnett trade.

    Let’s see how these different expectations and the asymetric pressure they ‘ve born feed through as the games progress.

  67. 48. I think the fact that it took Boston 7 games to dispatch Atlanta and Cleveland is fool’s gold for us Laker fans, and it’s also what’s causing a lot of the “Boston peaked too early” talk (which I believe is BS). While I do think the Lakers would have swept Atlanta like they did Denver, I’m not surprised that it took Boston longer–not because Boston is an inferior team necessarily, but because of their team mentality. For LA, Kobe is the tone-setter, and Kobe is cold-blooded. He would’ve looked at the Hawks and been upset that the Lakers had to even bother playing them on their way to the Finals, and he would have dispatched them accordingly. As Kobe goes, so go the Lakers.

    Boston, on the other hand, takes its emotional cues from KG, who is the opposite of cold-blooded (but in a good way). It seems only natural that they might come into the first round of their first playoffs as a team a little too amped, a little jittery. Combine that with some ridiculous play from Joe Johnson (honestly, who did he think he was in that 4th quarter of game 4?) and a really athletic Hawks team, and it’s not too hard to see why the series went for 7 games. But, by the time the Celts played game 6 in Detroit, they were in full fledged take-care-of-business-on-the-road mode. They’re back to playing their best basketball, and that Atlanta series seems like an awfully long time ago…

    In any event, I think that’s one of the more interesting things about this Finals match-up: the divergent team mentalities. You’ve got two emotional leaders in Kobe and KG that are on completely opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, and I think it will be interesting to see which side prevails–the KG’s ridiculous level of passion, or Kobe’s cold-blooded killer mentality.

  68. Jeff –

    Duly noted that Celtics fans are on top of the world, but that doesn’t defend questions about how to keep Kobe from “cheating on his wife in Boston” or calling Lakers players thugs. Obviously this comes up all the time in opposing fanbases, so don’t get me wrong. It just seems weird that some of the commenters over there would rather ask sarcastic questions about that than about certain player’s games or defense, etc.

    On a totally different topic: Your defensive match-ups, you have Pierce on the Space Cadet, then can I correctly assume he’ll sag off Vlade a little to be providing help D and some weakside doubles or since Vlade has gotten seemingly a little more comfortable, especially in the 1st quarters, to take some J’s and drive to the hoop that Pierce will have to pay more attention to him early on?

  69. Elle,

    You might also point out to Jeff that Vlade only plays 20 minutes. The rest of the time is split between Walton and Kobe at the 3 (unless we see Ariza).

    Walton is playing much better than any time in the regular season and I like his chances against Pierce in the low post. Against Kobe, well…

    Both Walton and Vlade played very good defense against Melo and Manu. I think Boston is taking the match up at the 3 spot for granted.

  70. Hey Jeff,

    I’ve been on some C’s Blogs and I think you guys are seriously underrating Pau’s length and potential to disrupt KG’s fade away. KG does not drive to the hole, he perfers to fadeaway for 10+ feet. Pau gave Timmy some trouble with that. Most of Duncan’s points came when he backed Pau down. KG will not. Also, if Lamar can play Perk how he did Oberto, Perk will be very quiet offensively (as he should be), because he cannot create for himself and he does get the jitters at times. I cannot seeing him getting over Lamar’s length either. Thoughts?

  71. Nice site you have here Kurt, et. al…does it get any better than this…the two best teams in the NBA play for it all and the fact that it is two storied franchises, is icing in the cake…not all of us hate Jack..in fact the movie he made here (Departed) was one of his best …not all Boston fans hate Kobe…Rambis might be another story (sorry)…as far as the series is concerned…may the better team win and the other team continue to enjoy the west coat…

  72. wondahbap, you make it sound like KG and Perk will be shut down because you played Duncan pretty well

    KG will get his points somehow, he’s just to versatile to be kept down for long

    nobody ever said Perk would score unless he’s wide open or finds a smallish player on him (not likely)

  73. Jeff,
    I’ve been having trouble posting at your site. It’s asking me to create an account in order to comment…so I created an account and am currently “logged in” but am still unable to comment. I was able to leave a comment as *desus32* but can’t anymore. Do you know how I can get around this?

  74. log out, clean your cache, log back in, and try again, other than that, I don’t know what to tell you

  75. No. I didn’t say KG would be shut down, but I do he will be defended effectively. Before he became a Celtic, I rooted for KG to someday become a dominant player, and punish people down low. To stop trying to face them up, and get to work in the post. He still doesn’t do that with any consistancy. He actually plays to Pau’s strengths. He will not over power Pau. I know Perk isn’t a scorer but he gave it to Detroit, at the worst times too. I’m simply saying that shouldn’t happen this series, obviously limiting what the C’s can do.

  76. Jeff,

    I commented a while ago #54. I didn’t get a response so I thought I would try again. I know you are being bombarded so I will be patient, but I would love to know your answer to my question, thanks.

  77. lets put it this way, the one player on our team that I’m least worried about is KG – he’ll get it done – if not in one game, then over the corse of the series – he’s just been really consistent in these playoffs

    the guy I’m most worried about on our team is clearly Ray Allen – he’s been hot and cold and mostly cold – if he’s hitting, look out

  78. 54/75 – I don’t know who is saying Pau is slighly better than Bynum, but I simply don’t agree – must be wishful thinking

    not only is Pau a former franchise guy, but they simply have completely different games – as has been pointed out, he fits the triangle perfectly

    I only take comfort in the fact that Perk should be able to push him around for boards and if we are lucky, Perk might be able to knock him around some on defense – but as people have commented here, that doesn’t always work on Pau

    following my last post – I think Pau is the one I’m most concerned about (beyond the obvious Kobe)

    I don’t know who I’m “least” concerned about, unless you count Coby Karl

  79. its been fun guys, but I’ve got to go – I’ll try to check in later for more and hopefully we can keep a good dialogue throughout the series

  80. Was that a response to my comment? Because that is not at all what I was asking. I don’t mean to sound like an ass, but everyone at CelticsBlog has been dodging that question and it seems like you are too. Or maybe you were responding to someone else?

  81. Jeff, I just want to get this in while you’re still here (and you are always welcomed here) — thanks for sticking around, answering questions and being a good sport today. There’s a reason everyone in the NBA blogging community looks up to you.

  82. Jeff-

    I’ve read that Ariza played KG well when Ariza was still playing for Orlando.

    I doubt Ariza gets much burn this series because of his rust, but I was curious about your thoughts about the possible Ariza/KG matchup.

  83. pslakerfan, you seem to be asking me to defend an arguement I didn’t make – I can’t help you there – sorry

  84. Wow, it took me forever to realize that the reason people kept adding little numbers in front of their posts was because they were addressing previous posters.

    Apparently my browser (Opera) doesn’t display the numbering properly (or at all really). But I digress.

    Anyhow, to #65: I agree totally on the fact that Boston took so long with the Hawks and Cavs because of their mentality. I actually consider that to be an advantage for the Lakers- except for Detroit I honestly didn’t see the sort of killer instinct Kobe brings to the Lakers outside of a few flashes from Pierce.

    It may seem a little simplistic to put it this way, but it gives me confidence- championship teams take care of business, and Boston very clearly did not.

    With that being said, I’m certainly not taking the Celtics lightly. I’m just saying their fans really don’t have a lot of justification to be acting so high-and-mighty.

  85. Who you got in a 1 on 1 battle for an undeserved championship ring?

    Brian Scalabrine vs DJ Mbenga

  86. 3 Things that scare me the most about the Lakers:
    1. Phil Jackson – excellent coach. Don’t underestimate the impact of timely adjustments. With two good teams, these can be critical.

    2. 4th Quarter Kobe: Joe Johnson is good (I’m from AR seen him play a lot), but Kobe is in a completely different category.

    3. Under-rated Laker D: The Laker’s length reminds me of Atlanta (don’t think y’all are as athletic) – which did give the Celtics some trouble.

    Random Notes: Big ups for the comeback win in SA and the quick dispatch of Enver. HUGE Fisher fan (from his UALR days) and think he doesn’t get enough credit for his impact this season. Excellent post on how Fisher playing a less traditional PG role is a counter Rondo’s defense (which is also VERY good).

    KG-fan

  87. I nominate #84 for question of the day.

    I would go with mbenga since he is a black belt.

  88. Jeff,

    I am not asking you to defend anything. I am asking your opinion on a common error that I see in the fans at CelticsBlog. The question is simple. The Celtics fans don’t seem to grasp that this team is completely different than the one they played twice this year. The addition of Pau is only a small piece of that change. What do you think of that? Do you disagree with that assessment? Do you think they are right and we are the same, just with Pau and not Bynum? Etc…. That is the question, maybe I should have just written it that way.

  89. What? No confidence in Michael Rapaport?…haha…

  90. One thing that I would like to point out… I was watching Doc Rivers postgame press conference after they closed out the Pistons in game 6, and Doc made a comment about how they only ran 1 play for the last 8 minutes of the game. Doc said that he realized his players were in a tough situation and wanted them to run the one play that they were comfortable running.

    Running one play for the last 8 minutes of a game against Flip Saunders might work, but bring that type of coaching to the Finals against Phil and you’re going to be in big trouble.

    Another thing I didn’t like about Doc’s coaching, he was running around on the court after they closed out the Pistons hugging Paul Pierce almost like Tony Parker and Eva Longoria after the Spurs won the title last year… Meanwhile, when the Lakers closed out the Spurs and got their trophy, Phil was nowhere to be found because he knows how unimportant the conference trophies are when the big one is right around the corner.

  91. I agree #84 is the question of the day.

    Answer: Scalabrine of course. Unless he escaped being tortured and executed for his fathers political affiliations.

  92. 87. He said multiple times that Pau was one of the Lakers that scared him most, I think that answers the question. I’ll agree with you, after a day hanging out at CelticsBlog, they really don’t think much of Pau. I keep telling them they will be surprised.

  93. Geez,

    read my post for gods sake, that wasn’t the question!!!!!!

  94. Sorry Kurt,

    I didn’t mean to type angry, but I have written the question three ways till tuesday and I keep getting an answer to how they feel about Pau. That has almost nothing to do with my question.

  95. My entire point is that Pau is not the issue, but the way the rest of the team has changed or evolved since the trade. The bloggers there don’t seem to understand that. They only focus on Pau vs. Bynum. That is the question and no one over there wants to touch it. I guess it scares them.

  96. pllakerfan, I’l take a shot at it:

    You’re saying the Lakers are better than they were when the teams met. That’s true.

    The Celtics perspective is: We’re better too.

    You point to the improvement of the Lakers young guys: The Celtics young guys have also improved since they defeated LA twice early in the season.

    You speak of the “well-oiled offense.” This is where the series will be decided. The Celtics are the league’s top defense.

    Boston has faced every challenge this year. Now they meet a retooled Laker team that’s played great through the playoffs. The Celtics have beaten everyone they’ve faced. I’m sure they’ll do everything in their power to continue that.

    Does that answer it?

  97. I think pslakerfan’s question is predicated in part on the notion that the defensive recipe the Celtics used during the regular season is the one to apply during the Finals. It’s not clear that’s actually so, since the Laker offense is rather different than it was in December.

    It is not simply a matter of Pau being a bit more refined than Bynum; it’s that he facilitates the triangle offense much more than Bynum. Bynum was a beneficiary of the triangle, but he could hardly be said to make it work. Laker fans know that Gasol certainly benefits from the triangle, but it also benefits from him, and it looks pretty different with him in there. Certainly I don’t think Tex was saying that the Lakers were running the triangle better than he had ever seen it, back when Bynum was playing in December and early January.

    The question really boils down to this. In December, the Lakers were a decent passing team. In May, they were an excellent passing team. What is Boston going to do to simultaneously (a) clog the passing lanes, (b) prevent Kobe from getting to the paint, and (c) keep perimeter shooters like the Machine and the Space Cadet from getting theirs. It can be done, obviously, but I suspect it’s going to require more than just “what worked in December, only more so.”

  98. Sort of. My point was that no one over there is admitting that we ARE a changed team. They think we are EXACTLY the same team except we substituted a little more offense (Pau) for a little less defense (Bynum). I think it is more dynamic than that. However yes I agree with your assessment of the teams.

    I wanted his opinion on the difference between these two perceptions, not his defense of one or the other.

  99. Thank you Brian, I couldn’t (and obviously didn’t) say it better myself. Now if Jeff can come back and give his two cents I will be satisfied.

  100. PSLakersfan, no worries, after today that is about the least angry thing directed at me.

    I think Jeff, like a lot of Celtics fans, has seen only snipits of the Lakers since those games. I don’t think they have a real understanding of how we have changed yet, no real place to gain the perspective you are looking for. I’ll agree, they are not admitting it. Likely the Lakers could sweep the series and they may not admit it.

  101. I agree, they have the same attitude the Spurs fans had before the last series. “Oh we know those guys, no problem” . Big mistake. I just wanted Jeff’s take on that, but too late apparently.

  102. Having lived in Boston and SoCal, I agree with Jeff about the huge mood swings of Boston fans. That’s just way they are. I appreciate their passion, but sometimes it does get annoying when their passion overrides logic and reason. Wait until they lose. Plus this blog is unlike typical fan blogs. Look at some of the entries at lakersblog on the LA Times site for a daily dose of good-natured and not so good-natured homerism and smack talk.

    I think the teams are close enough on paper with offsetting strengths and weaknesses (IMO Celts D vs. Lakers O) that each side can find valid reasons for why their team will win. This isn’t the Spurs – Cavs where noone, not even the Cavs, were surprised the Spurs swept.

    The typical LA and Boston fan does not appreciate how good the other team is because they haven’t watched or followed the other team as closely as their own. The Patriots were just emerging when I was in Boston and the national media didn’t really appreciate how good that team was becoming. It wasn’t bias. It was a lack of attention relative to that of a diehard fan. People weren’t watching every game and noticing how that team was responding in critical game situations.

    I’ve followed the Celts more closely this year because of the big trades and past connections. While we (LA fans and the media) downplay their record because the East was so weak, they have a better winning percentage vs. West teams than they do East teams. They swept season series’ against Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and LA. And remember they completed the rare and difficult Texas three-step sweep on one roadtrip.

    That said, the Celts playoff performance is puzzling. They are where everyone expected them to be, but the difficulty getting here was surprising. Maybe it was the weight of expectations or the relative lack of playoff experience.

    The Cavs split the season series, so maybe they play the Celts tough – kind of the way Portland seems to play us though (or Charlotte sad to say). No one has an explanation for ATL, and I would not interpret the Celts eventual win as a character building experience the way some Celts fans are spinning it. That series created doubts. The only silver lining in beating a 37-45 team 4 games to 3 is that you won the series. Unfortunately, I think the Celts may have gotten some of that confidence back in series with the Pistons; thanks in no small part to Rasheed’s crap-ass play.

    Sooo, all that to say it’s going to be close and either team could win, which I would think that even the most die-hard fans would agree (to themselves). While it’s fun to talk about match-ups and strategies, I think on paper the teams are close enough and it will come down to the squishy intangibles such as ability to execute at critical moments and luck. I’ve read some good, rationale arguments on both sides for why their respective teams will win, but we still have to play the games. This year’s Superbowl is a sharp reminder of that.

    So I don’t mind fans on the Celts Blogs trashing LA (in a good-natured way) and I have to admit that they come up with some pretty funny stuff. (Listen to the Weiner Whiner Line on WEEI over the internet sometime.) It will make it even sweeter when the Lakers win! Go Lakers!

  103. pslakerfan, you are more relentless than Kobe driving to the rim

    sure, yeah, youbetcha

    I feel like I agreed with the fact that Pau fits the offense like a triangle shaped glove – I think I mentioned that the passing and spacing would open things up for him

    and getting away from Pau (before you yell again) the team I’m sure is working like a well oiled Sasha

  104. like Kurt said, I haven’t seen much of the Lakers since last we met

    I still like our chances against ANYONE

  105. have we achieved closure now?

    :)

  106. #1 reason why Pau can’t be compared to Bynum is that the Lakers became a beter motion-offense and passing team with Pau’s presence. He opens up a lot of driving lanes because of the threat of his mid-range jumper. He’ll stand about 12 feet from the rim and his defender is forced to remain within arms-length. This opens up the key for Lamar, Kobe, and even VladRad to drive in. Pau’s passing abilities accentuates that point.

  107. @pslakersfan, i’m sorry man, your insistence on a guest blogger answering your question over and over again was high comedy. maybe you should try decaf next time.

    the celtics big three scare the crap out of me with rondo being a quick point guard, which traditionally gives us problems.

    Does anyone besides Reed have any input on how the 2-3-2 format is different from the 2-2-1-1-1 format? especially from the lakers point of view?

  108. pslakerfan – I like being underrated. It doesn’t sound like Jeff is underrating us. But if teams underrate you, it means you can sneak in under the radar (see Spurs, San Antonio, every year; A’s Oakland, very frequently). I think Gant was speaking for Celts fans @ 95 saying that he believed their team had gelled and developed too. And Jeff’s point was simply that he was not going to address an argument which he didn’t even take seriously. At least that’s my understanding of the claims at issue.

  109. 101 – Excellent comment. I was just thinking that it’s hard for Jeff (and Celtics fans) to talk about the Lakers the way we’re used to talking about them because, let’s face it, they’ve been paying attention to their team (and the Eastern Conference)–not ours. I’m a huge Lakers fan (and I’ve learned a lot by visiting this blog and reading the great analysis here), but I can’t say I know much about the Celtics except for the names of their players (and what I’ve read in the national media). That said, I’m really looking forward to learning more about their team–and really hoping that, when it’s all said and done, it’ll have been a great series capped by a Laker win. :)

  110. nomuskles #107: I think the Lakers have to be of the mind that there is no safety in going home. We must get a split in the first 2 games (preferably winning game 1) and be prepared to win a close out game on the road. I also agree with Reed that we may have to play from behind in this series(something we haven’t done all playoffs) and may need to win a game where we’re facing elimination on the road. One thing of note (and I haven’t fact checked this with stats, so bear with me) but the 2004 Pistons are one of the only teams *ever* to win all 3 home games in the back to back to back format in the Finals. So I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it will be a tough task to accomplish. I mean the Finals are usually a matchup of 2 of the best teams in the league. Beating a really strong opponent 3 straight times is a tough task (regardless of where the games are played). So, I think we need to put an even greater emphasis on winning in Boston. We can’t afford to find solace in our home court because odds are we will lose a game there (especially if this is a long series; I really don’t see home court holding serve all the way to a game 7).

  111. Hey Jeff or any basketball fan in boston.. know anywhere in the boston area a Laker fan can watch the game on thursday without fear of bodily harm?

  112. Both teams have good reason to be confident going into the Finals. Both fan bases have reasons for optimism.

    The long lead-up lends iteself to lots of speculation about match-ups and strategy, but when it comes down to it there will be surprises. There always are.

    Kurt, Jeff and both websites have done an excellent job with this back-and-forth.

    This will be exciting.

  113. I have already posted this on another section, but it needs to be heard.
    To all of you going to a game
    Around the league, there have been many “Beat LA” chants. We need one of our own. If i go to a game I will try to get it going.
    WE WANT BOSTON clap clap clap clap clap WE WANT BOSTON
    Any thoughts or suggestions?
    If you have any ideas please post them. We need to come together and end this series quick and clean.

  114. Darius – I know you said you didn’t fact check but I believe the Heat won all 3 Home games against Dallas after losing the first two on the road.

    Also I know the 91′ Bulls won games 2-5 against the Lakers in the Finals but I don’t remember who the home team was.

    Same with the 00-01 Lakers they took games 2-5 but I don’t remember the home team.

    I also didn’t fact check but just going off memory. There may be more examples.

  115. OVER-RATED clap clap clap clap clap OVER-RATED

  116. Kwame A.

    I think all of oston will be on the same bandwagon boozing together. So, you might have your choice of places to go…..

  117. ’91 Bulls won games 3-5 on the road. and the ’01 Lakers won games 3-5 on the road as well. Darius is correct in saying that Detroit was the only HOME team to win games 3-5 in the finals of a 2-3-2 format.

  118. Darius,

    I actually think the 2-3-2 format will benefit the Lakers, they can and will road games, while Boston could only get it done against the disappointing over-rated schiztoid Pistons. I’m not one to care what the “experts” say, but I think that has to play into their reasoning also. I can definitely see the Lakers winning a game in Boston, then getting to play 3 at home, and winning at least 2 in L.A. After that, do you see them losing 2 straight chances to seal the deal? I can’t.

  119. So Miami did not do it against Dallas? I thought they did.

  120. 05-06 Miami Heat (52-30) won games 3-6 against Dallas (60-22)

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2006_games.html

    I am not saying Darius was wrong, because he admitted that he didn’t fact check, just like I said I wasn’t sure about the laker/bulls and laker/philly examples.

  121. 116 – Sca-la-brine, Sca-la-bri-ne……from the opening tip all the way through, right in Doc Rivers’ ear so he eventually has to put the big man in.

  122. Jeff,

    It seems to me that Celt fans, and indeed Boston sports fans in general can be a bit delusional about their teams. I mean this is a city that came of with the silly “Curse of The Bambino” excuse as a reason for not winning a world series for 86 years.

    News flash: The Red Sox sucked for 86 years. Get over it. The curse was just as real as the monster hiding under my daughters bed.

    As far the Celts this year. They were taken to 7 games by two teams that wouldn’t have even made the playoffs in the Western Conference. Cleveland would have finished 5 games behind the Nuggets and Atlanta actually has a losing record.

    Congrats on winning 66 games in extremely sub-par conference, but out west is where the real basketball has been played all season long.

    I’m a Suns fan and despite all this I was still picking the Celts to win it all before the playoffs and admittedly before I had watched them much. Suffice to say I’m not impressed at all with what I’ve seen.

    Also you don’t think those great defensive numbers the Celts put up this year were at all influenced by playing against b-league competition this year?

  123. hey guys, im a boston fan.. and im a fan of underdogs too, thats why in previous playoffs(when boston wasnt in it) i cheered for memphis, and so i am somewhat a fan of gasol.. with that said i think the trade(more like a gimme) made them a lot better

    you cant blame us boston fans for raising our confidence in our chances.. after all the national media has been saying to us..

    and some laker guy was posting on CB about the garnett trade and gasol trade is a wash and even saying that KGs was much more of gimme coz kg was a lot better than pau however i dont know if any of you laker fans say that the trade was bad and wishes you would still have kwame back(much like al jefferson is missed by most)

    with that said i think the series would be great. oh and about vlad on perk, pls dont.. as bad as he offensively(esp the ft) he can back players down(see maxiel,mcdyess and sheed) maybe pau but no vlad

    and oh one more thing, about that pierce doc hug, its just an appreciation of where they are now compared to where they are last year, rem, those two didnt even know if they would still be on boston last year, and what i love about paul is(he grew up being a laker fan btw and leaves on inglewood ca) he appreciates what he has now while not straying for his ultimate glow

  124. those great defensive numbers where not just bec of the weak competition in the east as youve said.. they did have good defensive stats against the playoff teams from the west as well.. and other than the lakers and hornets i honestly think we match up better against the west teams than we do in the east(man you know how happy i was that cleveland beat washington?)

  125. pslakersfan,

    When KG came to Boston all Celtics fans thought they understood what they were getting but as the season began and continued most were amazed at just how large a difference Kevin actually had on the small things that happened around the Celtics. How large an impact he had, how big an effect he had on his teammates. The reason is that it’s hard to grasp just how much of a difference one man can bring. KG is a former League MVP, one of the most popular and talked about players in the league. Considered one of the “Intangibles” poster boys for making players better. Still most Celtics fans were suprised at just how large a difference he made over the whole team.

    Gasol has played 27 regular season games with LA, most Celtics fans don’t watch Lakers games at the best of times. And it’s not like folks watch a lot of Memphis games. Just to add to it, Pau being one of the most overlooked players in the NBA for several years. That’s not a lot of information for people who don’t regularly check Lakers or Grizzlies games and most Celtics fans as I’m sure you imagine do not watch many of those.

    It’s harder to have a firm grasp on Pau’s gifts and effects when you haven’t seen him play 15-20 games for LA and watched 15-20 games of the Lakers pre-Gasol. You need to be watching those games to gain that true appreciation.

    That’s why I think many fans on CelticsBlog don’t appreciate Gasol’s effect on the Lakers.

    To most Celtics fans he’s an 18/8 big man who passes the ball very well but has a reputation for being soft and doesn’t play enough in the paint or play good enough defense. Gasol has that soft euro label also and wasn’t capable of being a franchise player in Memphis, to add to that he’s considered a borderline all-star and not an All-Pro level player. Andrew Bynum was a 13/11 interior low post big man who’s an all-star in the making. That’s the reputations of both guys from most fans who don’t see many of their games. That difference isn’t anstronimcal when you look at like that. Traded some power for finesse, little more scoring, little less rebounding and defense. Clearly it’s wrong, the Lakers performances have proved that. Gasol has had an incredible effect on everyone on the Lakers team.

    Anyway, I think that’s my best attempt at answering your question about Celtics fans views on Gasol’s effect.

  126. Excellent idea Kurt,

    Always fun to hear the thoughts of the enemy. I hope Pau ends up playing KG b/c he struggles against active players that are in this league mostly because of effort ie. Millsap. We all know Pau struggles to box out effectively but his on the ball defense is definitely better than adequate, which is why I like him on KG. I’m sure the Lakers will send Fish in for the blindside double team (the lil gem as B Bridges calls it) and try to close out on the 3’s from Pierce and Allen.

    With that said I hope we get Pau going early and get his confidence up. B/c he wasn’t very effective on the offensive side against the Spurs. However, on defense he was very important. One out of two isn’t bad, but I’d rest assuredly if Pau is able to avg. 18 a game.

    Still can’t wait for the game. GO LAkERS!.

  127. #105, I will accept your response as an obnoxious attempt to once again avoid the question. I appreciate the help.

  128. can’t please some people I guess

  129. the 2-3-2 format absolutely favors the Lakers

    if you steal one in Boston, we face the prospect of never returning home – what kind of advantage is that? then again, we we can’t win at least one game in LA, you could make the argument that we don’t deserve to win

    I fully expect a great series between two very strong teams

    here’s my humble prediction: Celtics win the first two, steal one in LA, and win in 6

    that doesn’t mean that I’m taking the Lakers lightly, I just can’t imagine yet another 7 game series

  130. Who,

    Excellent analysis. I appreciate the effort you put into that. It frustrates me (obviously) that Jeff felt the need to a) answer my question without actually taking the time to read it, b) give a smart ass response when I pointed this out.

    My question was clearly about the change in the way the Lakers play ball and not the actual play of Pau himself.

    You got that, others got that, but apparently Jeff did not, or chose to pretend he did not. When he figured it out he chose the “smart ass response” tactic instead of the “my bad, here is my best answer” response.

  131. #131, I guess not.

  132. The Dude Abides June 3, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    PSLF, please give it a rest.

  133. 104/trestles great analysis – very balanced

  134. relax dude, just responding to who, can you abide?

  135. pslakersfan, I think you need to get over it. Move on to the next topic

  136. The Dude Abides June 3, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Jeff of Celtics Blog, I will say this: it’s a travesty that DJ was never voted into the Hall of Fame. All of this talk recently on ESPN about the Horry debate is totally meaningless when compared to the DJ travesty. Didn’t the guy win Finals MVP with Seattle before he ever played for Boston? Speaking as a longtime Laker fan, DJ is the one guy on those 1980s Celtic teams who I didn’t hate, although I stopped hating the team as much while watching them gut their way through the 1987 Eastern Conference playoffs. McHale and Walton each played with a broken foot, Parish kept spraining his ankle, Ainge and Bird were banged up, and Jerry Sichting was slow, short, and bald.

  137. PS….I think you need to relax man. You’ve been told by Gant that the reason some Boston fans don’t recognize our improved play is because they have also improved. Jeff has given you his final answer. You’re becoming a nuisance.

  138. Is there any news on Trevor Ariza? Any expectation that he would get minutes?

    I know he’s been back training for awhile now and played a couple of minutes against San Antonio. I can’t really see Phil upsetting the rotation though unless he truly feels Ariza is that big of a difference maker. It’s not like Ariza has a had a lot of playing time with his Lakers teammates because of injury.

    I’m not sure how much good he’d do on Paul Pierce. Ariza is a very good defensive player but he’s not the type of defender that stops Pierce (few are). Ariza has great quickness and length but he lacks strength. Paul has always been able to muscle him and get to the rim against Ariza in the past. Paul’s midpost game hurt Ariza. Also whenever he beat Ariza off the dribble he was able to hold him on his hip (again strength, like Deron did to Farmer) to keep Ariza from getting back into the play. Someone bulky generally bother Paul more like LeBron did in the second round because they fight off his skills anywhere below 15 feet better which is where he does his largest damage to the opposition.

    A poster above (no.83) mentioned that they’d read that Ariza had played very good defense on Garnett earlier this well. Ariza didn’t defend KG that game. Rashard Lewis matched up with Kevin the most and he played good defense on KG, he fronted him extensively and pushed him away from the rim. Then Dwight sagged off Perk down into the paint and supplied the backline to intimidate KG. Ariza didn’t play much that night, he was ineffective defensively and never really fitted SVG’s offense.

  139. Who, Ariza is back on the active roster but you are right, Phil is not messing with the rotations so he is getting little time. Plus, just being off that long his game fitness is a question mark. If Pierce is having a big night, expect Ariza to get a little run off the bench, but I don’t think at this point he’ll be much of a factor.

  140. Dude, you are preaching to the choir when it comes to DJ

    my absolute favorite plays by DJ were when he would let his man get a step on him with the ball, only to tap it ever so slightly, letting the man fly on past (without the ball) while he ever so casually picked up the ball and headed the other way

    since we are in the way back machine, I miss Michael Cooper, Byron Scott, and Kurt Rambis

    any other 80’s Lakers I’m forgetting? lets play “remember him?”

  141. I just realized that I’m way behind on reading the Boston newspapers because I spent all day on a Lakers blog – what a day!

  142. big games james knowing how to finish in the half court and on the break

  143. skigi , I think someone might have mentioned this, but I do think the reaction by Doc (hugging Paul) was due to their history, they weren’t always on the same page, but they’ve grown to respect each other

    again, I’m not sure Doc is the best coach, but I’m hoping he’s a decent fit for this team – he coaches on “feel” quite a bit – which sometimes bodes well for vets because they don’t feel overcoached, but as Simmons points out, it also has the effect of jerking the bench around with no set rotation

    basically I really hope he proves Bill Simmons wrong and waves the championship ring in his face

  144. nomuskles, yeah, I kinda took for granted Magic, Worthy, and Kareem

    who was the backup point on that team? is that like being Peyton Manning’s backup QB?

  145. I guess you’d say it was Wes Matthews, but I seem to remember that Coop mostly played that role off the bench.

  146. (by the way, jeff, regarding my earlier comment about obnoxious east coast fans, i must say you’re doing a fine job of dispelling the image so far. thanks for being here…)

  147. Watching Worthy’s baseline spin move still gives me chills.

  148. how about A.C. Green & Mychal Thompson?

  149. The guy/shot I miss is Jamaal Wilkes from the corner, with the elbow flared out.

  150. thompson’s been on my mind this week, and not just because he’s still an irritant on local radio (in my opinion, anyway). more because the gasol trade reminds me of the mychal thompson trade — for those who don’t remember, the lakers got him for peter gudmundsson, frank brickowski, and kwame brown, and he was a key player in that ’87 title.

  151. Follow up to my previous post (#88):

    3 Things that have Celtics Fans feeling good:

    1. Defense. I thought that the Spurs did a relatively good job defensively against such a talented offensive squad. I think that the Celtics defense is slightly better and Celtics offense (which impacts defense) is also better.

    2. Paul Pierce. I believe he causes as big of a mismatch problem for LA as Kobe does for Boston.

    3. Rebounding. Rondo is a very good rebounding PG. Perkins is also a very good rebounder. Offensive rebounds should help the C’s with tempo (slow is good for the C’s) and points (LA will get theirs).

    Random Notes: I think the Celtics offense and (in turn) defense will perform better than people expect against the Lakers.

    Look forward to this series. Regardless of how many games it goes (5,6,7) it will be a very competitive series. I’ve seen 7 game series that were less competitive on the whole than a 5 game series where every game was a fight. I think this will be an “every game is a fight” series. Look forward to your comments and a great series!

    KG-fan

  152. Geez, why can’t anyone answer my question. It’s about the teeeeam, not just Pau. People just think we switched Bynum’s D for Pau’s O, but it’s more than that. The team has changed. Jeff, answer me. About the team. Not just Pau. The team. Pau. Answer. Pleeease.

    (Sorry, I just really couldn’t resist).

  153. Thanks for sticking up for Kurt back on the CelticsBlog, Jeff… much appreciated

  154. Jeff,

    I read C’s blog often and you do a great job.

    ” The 1986 team would have destroyed the Lakers, I’m still personally bitter about that.”

    That’s OK and I agree–but the argument that goes along with this is often, “Injuries were the difference in 1987.” They weren’t–unless you count Bias’ death as an injury. The Lakers were a better team in ’87.

    I was talking to a Celts fan on a baseball blog the other day and talking about how much C’s fans love Rondo. That’s cool–Laker fans love Fisher. But IMO Rondo is simply not as good as many C’s fans think. He may be down the line. For now, I see him as slightly above average overall.

    I don’t think there is an “underdog” in this series. The Lakers are playing better than the Celtics, but the Celtics have homecourt and are tough on D.

    I agree about Perkins. He will be hated by many Purple and Gold fans by the end of the series. I also see him as a matchup issue for the Lakers.

  155. Jeff,

    As a kid back in the 80s, I could maybe respect Bird, Parish, and DJ, but absolutely abhored McHale, Ainge, and Red….and all the way down the line to M.L. Carr… and the fans who cheered those guys on :).

    This C’s team though…is a little harder to hate …we know Garnett more from Minnesota…and hell we have a lot of respect for KG. And Pierce is a local product. I wouldn’t mind a complete shutdown of Ray though. I think this C’s team would have to beat us and pour some salt in the wounds, or throw down a couple of flagrants, and be extremely physical before I have more negative feelings. But for now, the C’s just seem like another team in our way, and another team that hopefully won’t be in our way for much longer. I wish Red were alive to WATCH!!!

    The contests of the 80s were so damn heated. They were as good as it gets.

    Peace-

  156. 110: nomuskles – I also found hilarity in the relentless attempt to get the question answered…but I have to admit, he did get his question answered.

    Now onto your excellent topic of the 2-3-2 format and how it affects things. I see it as an advantage to the Lakers (I know, crazy!) The way I see, all we need to do is take 1 of the first 2 games in Boston, win 2 of the next three at home, and then we have two games in Boston to close out. Normally, I’d say that winning on the road would be a big challenge, but these Lakers have taken road games in every series so far and against arguably the best 2 home teams in the playoffs (Utah and SA). I really thought it’d go 6 with the Lakers closing in Boston, but I’m reserving my judgment until after seeing the 1st game. I’m starting to think the Lakeshow can get it done if 5, win one in Boston, then close it out with 3 in a row at home.

  157. The 2-3-2 format, I think it’s unlikely the Lakers will win three straight games at home against the Celtics. That’ll be a very tough task. I think LA will need to win at least two road games to get it done.

  158. 116. I don’t know about the Scalibrine chant. If we see Scalibrine in the game at any time, that probably means we’re down by 20. I don’t want to see him out there any more than Celtics fans want to see Son of George.

  159. It’s time for Celtics fans to stop being upset about the fact they didn’t get to play the Lakers in 1986. Here, and Simmons always mentions that as well, saying Bird and Magic would have been tied at 2-2 in series if they’d played that year. Perhaps. But, uh, what about 1980, 1982 and 1988? The Celtics failed to hold up their end of the bargain those years, so should we now say that Magic would have won 5 series against Larry, if the Celtics had made it those years? No, because the fact is the Celtics didn’t make it those seasons, just like the Lakers failed in 86. Sorry Celtcs, no matter how much you want it to not be true, Magic’s got five rings and Larry three, and he was 2-1 in the Finals against him.

    Most Celtic fans are insufferable about those 80s teams. Think how bad they’d be if they’d actually, you know, won five titles.

  160. #118-NICE thats a lot better. If you go to a game try to get it going. Bring a sign or something.

    DONT BE AFRAID
    If you do happen to go to a game, dont be afraid to show your lakers spirit. Dance around like an idiot, start a chant, and most importantly yell at the refs. Dont feel self conscious most of the people there have no idea who you are.

  161. I know I’m a biased Lakers fan, but I have to say, the comment thread here is a lot more civilized than the one at CelticsBlog.

  162. In my opinion, 2-3-2 favors the team without HCA more than 2-2-1-1-1 does…if the difference between the teams is substantial.. The first four games, and Game 7, are indistinguishable–only Games 5 and 6 are switched around. Frankly, as the weaker team, I’d rather have my home game earlier than later–if it’s later, I might not even get there.

    On the other hand, if the teams are close, the “underdog” might very well make it six games anyway, and so you want Game 6 at home to put pressure on the “favorite.” This is all a very subjective argument–I have no idea how you’d verify something like this with the limited data currently available–but that’s the way I see it.

  163. 164 – I’m a daily reader of Celticsblog and bleed green, and I still agree with you Amol. I came over to the Blue and Gold today to see the comments (was a little disappointed in the initial reception that Kurt received on Celticsblog), and have come away really impressed. A really well-reasoned set of comments.

    I think the tone over on CB reflects the defensive (and slightly insecure) nature of the Celtics fans right now. The regular season went so well, it was like a dream. Now the tougher-than-expected first few rounds makes us wonder whether it was all for real. After the game 6 victory over Detroit, we’re all just pumped up hoping that THAT is the Celtics that’ll show up for the finals.

  164. The 2-3-2 format favors the away team, if they can finish the series in 5 games or less. If it’s a long series more than 5, than the home team definitely benefits b/c they can tie things up at home in game 6, and definitely be charged up for game 7 by relying on the crowd to give it that last burst of energy.

    This theory gets thrown out of the water if the Lakers can clinch on the road to show that they really were the better team.

  165. 161-ehhh…it’s a fun word to say….and who knows, with some of Doc Rivers’ rotation choices, maybe we’ll get lucky :)

  166. 154:

    I think the depth of the Lakers counters your point that Paul Pierce is as big of a match up issue as Kobe is for Boston. While Phil doesn’t use it all that often. Turiaf can fill in at both 4 and 5, and play with Gasol and Odom for instance, which would put Lamar on PP. I think that is just as likely an option for slowing Pierce’s O as giving Ariza some burn. Granted, the lineup Doc has in at a moment like that would ultimately impact the effectiveness of that scheme. But if Turiaf and Gasol can play some solid D on KG/Perk, I think Odom could do a nice job on Paul Pierce.

    But really, Vlad deserves a bit more credit. Dude played pretty well against some extended run against Carmelo Anthony, who granted played himself out of his own game, but still.

  167. 164/166. I didn’t think the thread at Celtics blog was bad. Frankly, it just felt more East Coast, I can play that game. Jeff and his readers/commenters were generally nice and thoughtful. I think they are going to be surprised by some things, but I think we will be too.

  168. In his recent discussion with Roland Lazenby, Steve Kerr emphasized the importance of the initial post pass to Gasol in initiating the triangle offense. From what I saw of the Boston-Detroit series the Celtics were quite aggressive on the catch in the post, even on passes to the high post. In the Spurs series, for the most part, Duncan was content to allow Gasol the catch in the high post. The Celtics approach has the potential to be the source of some early turnovers for the Lakers and frustration for Gasol, or hopefully a few quick fouls on Garnett and Perkins.

  169. Renato Afonso June 4, 2008 at 3:17 am

    Do those people in Boston actually think that Rondo is better than:
    1. AI
    2. Deron Williams
    3. Tony Parker

    Seriously, I’ve read both threads (and I’ve been reading teams blogs everytime we play them) and I can only come to this conclusion… This is the classiest basketball blog there is (that Bulls guy is also pretty good).

    Sorry Jeff, you really write quite well and know about basketball, but most people there are just stuck in the argument of “you suck because you suck”.

    We can understand that you guys have been through Sheed and Lebron, and you adpated to those matchups to some extent. We realize that going 7 games most series brought the best out of you. But Celtics fans must recognize that their team also as flaws, the same way we recognize ours…

    You say the Spurs are not as good as the Pistons. I say you match up well against them. If I recall, the Spurs went through Phoenix and NO before meeting the Lakers with a Manu half-a-step slower than previous years. Do you actually think the Cavs are better than any of those teams? And how well did the Celtics matchup against Phoenix and NO this year?

    It all comes down to that. And yes, the Celtics were a great matchup against the Lakers when we didn’t have Gasol. But you got to at least concede that we’re not the same team we were in the beginning of the year and that we have a coaching staff which will adapt to a series better than yours.

    I would now like to present some facts to all the Celtics readers out there…

    I – we’ve been outrebounded for a long time now. We still win games…
    II – We’ve played against a great offensive team (and #5 was almost shutdown for the series), and we still won in the most difficult arena in the league (twice this year)
    III – We’ve played against a great defensive team, and we still won while they failed shutting down Kobe…
    IV – Forget Kobe. Go read a post in some Nuggets blog about a party with Lakers players in LA. Ubuntu? I say real brotherhood.
    V – We know Fisher is old, but I think he did just find against 3 of the five best at PG in the league. Yep, Rondo is fast, but I think AI and Parker “might” be as well.
    VI – The Garden is not the same… We won’t be needing oxygen masks.
    VII – Is Ray Allen that much better than T-Mac? You should see Radmanovic play against him. He’s tall and he can contest shots with ease (if he wants to). Ray is not a slasher…
    VIII – Ariza played minutes last series and got time to rest for this series. Expect to see some of Ariza on Pierce. There goes your mismatch on the offensive end.
    IX – The Lakers can win in any court. But our home record has been pretty good since Gasol came in.

    Celtics fans (not named Jeff or not those who actually discuss basketball like it should be discussed), please, tell me again why are you going to sweep this series?

    PS: Sorry for this sort of post… I now actually wish we could win game 7 in double-OT with KG choking and Kobe going for the title-clinching fastbreak dunk. Boston people would be crying for years to come… because their window passed on the greatest choke of all time.

  170. I too didn’t think the Celtic blog was as bad as mentioned on here. After reading the 1st 60 comments here I thought it would sound like some other Lakers blogs I have read. I am on this blog because I like the intelligent discussions and I mostly learn new things about my favorite team, the NBA in general, and our current opponents. I did get some of that on the Celtic blog and think Pike’s comments were spot on.

    I don’t think the 2-3-2 format reduces the home team advantages, just changes it. I think the away team is under greater pressure to win the 3 games at home because they get them all at the same time and cannot stumble during this period – it really heightens the pressure. For teams that have any road issues – they likely won’t win championships because it is almost guaranteed they will have to win 50% of their road games. At the same time, having both 6 & 7 at home really, really favors the home team. Under the current format, the away team almost has to split the 1st two games or they are pretty much toast. The away team gains its greatest advantage if they do split those first 2 games – now the middle 3 games put tremendous pressure on the team with the better record – the coaching better come up with something new here.

  171. RE: 169

    Boston has plenty of people to run at Kobe as well. Not to mention that Posey is a better defender than either of the two that you mentioned. I also think Boston has better defensive rotations. I agree that the Lakers do not get enough credit for the defensive effort that they have submitted (see 88), but that doesn’t mean that I think PP will have trouble getting to the hoop/line.

    Neither team, no matter who is placed in front of their respective scorer, is going to stop them. The only way to stop those two is to simply hope they are defering or not in the building.

    KG-fan

  172. New post up… feel free to continue the discussion there

  173. The Machine is our Danny Ainge.

    They might as well be clones.

  174. Who are the Las Vegas oddsmakers picking to win the series?!!! The money there doesnt lie…….
    That should tell fans of both teams a little something about who is the real favorite.

  175. so who is favored in Vegas?

  176. wow, such fun to get some Green-glasses perspective from Jeff, and without a lot of the usual Boston bluster. Very cool. I vividly remember the “balloon” game from ’69–it still haunts my childhood memories like the fumes of a certain cigar… But back to the future: I think the front court matchups are the most interesting part of this series for both teams. Here’s my two cents: Kobe at the 3, Machine at the 2. Obviously, Phil will never put VladRad on Pierce (you wouldn’t, would ya, Phil?), so MVP24 vs. The Truth will be the marquee matchup (I hope Ariza is able to take some of that assignment–save energy and fouls on Kobe). Machine chase green unit #20 until further programming input. Machine–insert defensive program NOW! Machine?!? Machine, respond!!! I see Lamar more on KG and Pau on Perkins, with Fish/Farm on Rondo, of course. What could make this interesting is to put the ball in LO’s hands, have him run a psuedo-point forward thing, space the flook with Machine and Fish, and try to make KG guard #7 over all 94 feet of hardwood (I really miss Chick Hearn). Hopefully pull the Big Ticket away from the lane, open things up for you-know-who. Anyway, I’m in hoops heaven; there’s nothing like Lakers/Celtics. Not even Yankees/Red Sox. Go Lakers!

  177. We need to keep out of a Game 7 at Boston.

    Do you know how many times Boston has lost a Game 7 at home in their whole history?

    Zero.

    We need to take either Game 1 or 2 in Boston. At least. Then win 2 at home, and finish them off in Game 6.

  178. C’s fan from Australia June 5, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Firstly, great blog with some much-needed intelligent discussion. Now before I get dismissed as a partisan Celtics fan let me say that I can easily admit that Magic is the best PG i’ve ever seen, I enjoyed seeing Shaq get his 1st ring, I was crushed when the Mailman missed out etc. Now that’s established, down to business…

    I think C’s fans disrespect of Gasol can be summarised as follows

    1) He doesn’t seem to show enough emotion at key times and goes missing.

    2) Duncan was a monster on the glass in the WCF, Can the lakers frontline stop both KG and Perk?

    3) Celtics fans have seen other ‘Touch’ big men go missing when the ref’s start to put the whistles away deep in the playoffs ( Most famoulsly Nowitski, but Sheed also ).

    4) KG’s high intensity D will disrupt him, making it harder for him to get the ball at the start of the Triangle.

    Overall, he’s a good player but it’ll be a lot scarier next year when he’s got Bynum to take care of the dirty work.

    IMHO the match-up will come down to ‘The Truth’ and KB24. I think that Posey is a better matchup for Kobe than anything the lakers have for PP, assumming they don’t want to put Kobe on him. If these two do go head 2 head then i think it’s a win for the celtics. Pierce has shown he can match it well enough with LeBron ( Sorry Kobe fans but LeBron is the best ) and if he can limit Kobe’s advantage then I think the C’s have more options. If the C’s come through then PP willl be Finals MVP, vice versa for Kobe.

    BTW, This ‘Soft-Euro’ stereotype needs to change, I lived in Russia last year and I can assure you that it is much harder than the NBA. The NBA has rules designed for high-scoring games, hence no zone, hand-checking etc. The reality is that REAL Euro big men would foul out within 5 minutes in the NBA. Gasol is probably a better player in the NBA than in many Euro leagues as he would get hammered inside.

    Now I’m a cynical type of guy but i think this is just obvious; There was some underhand deal involving $ to the Grizzlies owner for Gasol. He’s losing money, can’t sell the franchise, the balls never go his way at the lottery – can’t blame the guy. Not trying to be bitter about it as I’m sure this is common around the league, it’s just that this is so blatant this time. C’s did do well out of the KG trade but we gave up a future all-star and a kid called ryan gomes who is gonna be a solid player for many years to come. Reminds me of how the lakers magically found cap room for Shaq thanks to some generous GM a few years ago…..

    Finally, it’s just great for the league as a whole. It’s actually being regularly making the news in Australia for the first time since MJ.

    Go Green17