From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Plenty of people watching the NBA Finals have wanted to yell at NBA Commissioner David Stern about it. Celtics minority owner Jim Pallotta did just that after Game 3. He confronted Stern and said the officiating was an embarrassment to the league. That likely means a fine is on the way, and maybe a healthy one, according to the report in the Boston Globe. Officiating has become a big story this series, with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and others having to sit because of foul trouble.
From Kelly Dwyer, Ball Don’t Lie: Speaking to the media Wednesday, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers was clearly not happy with the way his team has been treated by the officials in the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. At least not in Game 3. When asked to discuss how it was, exactly, that Laker guard Derek Fisher helped hold Ray Allen to 0-13 shooting in the Game 3 loss, Rivers seemed more than a little perturbed. “Besides flopping,” Rivers started, “he doesn’t do a lot extra. He plays hard. He’s been in the game long enough to understand. I thought he got away with a lot last night. I thought there was a lot of holding going on and a lot of flopping going on.”
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Predictably, much of today’s practice chatter centered around Derek Fisher’s Game 3 heroics. 11 fourth quarter points. A coast-to-coast layup instantly added to a considerable list of indelible franchise moments. An unlikely showing of pick and roll dominance. Plus, the speeches he’s famous for giving as situations grow tense. Words captivating everyone spellbound as they leave his mouth. And I do mean everyone. Even Kobe Bryant, obligated to listen to nobody on the Laker roster. By his own admission, that’s basically the case.
From Tim Potvak, NBA Fanhouse: Celtics forward Paul Pierce believes he is on the verge of a much-needed breakout game at the NBA Finals, ready to rescue his team with a big shooting night. Lakers forward Ron Artest is thinking just the opposite, that his own defense is about to intensify, preparing to lock down Pierce even more than he already has. One of them is going to be awakened rudely Thursday night. The winner of that debate is probably going to win Game 4.
From Kenny Masenda, Ed The Sports Fan: The NBA Finals are supposed to be the greatest time of the year for all basketball fans. We get to see the two best teams, with some of the best players in the NBA, go at it, and they do it all in the name of the Larry O’ Brien Trophy. However, leave it to the officials to call these games in a manner that’s been so awful, so pathetic, and so unnecessary that it’s taking the fun out of the entire thing.
(UPDATED) From Matt Hubert, D-League Digest: Luke Walton never played in the D-League. He entered the NBA in 2003 after being drafted in the second round by the Lakers (32nd overall) following a solid but not spectacular fifth-year senior season at Arizona. Back then his name was Luke Walton The Son of Hall of Famer Bill Walton. Now in his seventh season with the Lakers, Walton has established his own NBA identity. He is far from a candidate for time in the D-League, but his performance in Game 3 of the NBA Finals was a blueprint of how a role player can impact a game, even on the biggest stage.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Trevor Ariza’s Twitter identification photo features him staring out the window of the Lakers’ team plane last season. Ariza wasn’t on the Lakers’ flight from Los Angeles to Boston for the 2010 NBA Finals. Instead, Ron Artest was. So was Lamar Odom, who similarly occupies a window seat on the plane, frequently playing cards with Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton and Adam Morrison near the window – Artest and Shannon Brown often joining from across the aisle.
From Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times: Twelve hours had passed since Derek Fisher reinvigorated a franchise with nine minutes he’ll remember forever, but the Lakers were back at work Wednesday, treading somewhere between cautious and confident, knowing the Boston Celtics weren’t done yet but definitely feeling the sting of a defense that continued to govern the NBA Finals. The Lakers met for a brief practice on what happened to be the 25th anniversary of their first championship victory over the Celtics, a time that will eternally live in the eyes of the organization.
From Mark Heisler, Los Angeles Times: Anyone have an extra Big Three? Anyone you can spare, whether it’s two star players or even just one, please send them to the TD Garden immediately. The Celtics used to have a Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Now it’s Rajon Rondo, someone like Nate Robinson or Glen Davis and whichever member of their old Big Three has a discernible pulse that night. If nothing else, it shows just how improbable the Celtics’ run to the NBA Finals was.
From Mike Trudell, NBA.com (Practice report with video): There was plenty of time during Wednesday’s media session for the Lakers to talk and think about their impressive 91-84 victory in Game 3, and we’ll get to that momentarily. But the team’s focus, almost immediately, had to turn to Game 4. “I expect a fight,” said Lamar Odom. “(The Celtics) are tough competitors as well as great basketball players. We expect a fight.” While the Lakers proved to be the more mentally tuned in team while reclaiming home court advantage in the series, they certainly expect Boston’s best effort in Game 4.
From Scott Howard Cooper, NBA.com: The ultimate irony, the ultimate assault on the senses, is that the two most important shots of the Kobe Bryant postseason are misses. His short jumper in the final seconds of Game 6 against the Thunder became the offensive rebound Pau Gasol turned into the basket that ended the opening round. And his twisting Hail Mary in Game 5 against the Suns was transformed into Ron Artest’s redemption bucket at the buzzer that turned the Western Conference finals toward the Lakers.
From Tim Legler, ESPN.com: Who knew that Forrest Gump would prove to be such a visionary when he so eloquently opined, “The NBA Finals are like a box of chocolates: You never know what you’re gonna get”? OK, maybe Forrest was referring to something about life when he uttered that famous line, but he might as well have been talking about basketball’s biggest stage, because the 2010 NBA Finals have been anything but predictable. The Los Angeles Lakers are two wins away from their second consecutive championship, and even they would admit that they have no idea what to expect when the series resumes Thursday night.
From Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston: “Just keep shooting the ball. I thought I had some pretty good looks in Game 3. Really not discouraged at my opportunities. Really didn’t see a lot of double-teaming. A lot of those looks I got were looks I can make. So just stay positive, and if I get those same looks in Game 4, I’m confident that they’ll go in.” — Paul Pierce Those sound like words Paul Pierce might have uttered Tuesday night, right? Nope, those were spoken about two years ago on June 10, 2008, after Pierce labored through a 2-of-14 shooting performance and scored a mere six points in a Game 3 loss to the Lakers in that year’s NBA Finals. It was the only stinker Pierce posted during a series in which he earned Finals MVP. True to his word, he rebounded to average 25 points over the final three games of the 2008 series.
From Mike Freeman, CBS Sports: t happened, again, in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. An NBA player was whining about a call. Actually, this time, it was two players crying at once. After an official called a foul on Glen Davis, he exploded in a sort of fast walk away from the official, protesting the entire time. It was similar to what serial ref complainer Kendrick Perkins did during the Orlando series. Perkins was whistled for a technical foul.