Tag: Celtics Lakers

Kurt Rambis on Pau Gasol: "He just looks tired."


Thumbnail image for gasol_2_game1.pngPau Gasol is not soft. He is tired.

That is what former Laker assistant and current Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis sees, and what he told Dan Bareirro on KFAN in Minneapolis. Gasol looked good in the first two games when he was getting help from Andrew Bynum, but with Bynum fading and Odom MIA it is all too much.

“I told [Gasol] in Orlando after we won that championship that he was the biggest reason why we won that championship because he learned [to play through the physicality]. He started that way against the Celtics, but… it just looks to me like he is tired. He still has that aggressive mindset, but just physically he cannot absorb the punishment that the Celtics are putting out.”

As for the Lakers offense, Rambis sees what we all see: A lot of people standing around and watching the Kobe Bryant show.

“I saw a Laker team that was stagnant. I saw an awful lot of players that were either indecisive, non-aggressive or making improper decisions when it came to executing shots or sequences offensively. It was just stagnant. It was dead. I thought that he did a good job of jump starting the team to motivating them to play better. But, in a lot of ways it didn’t. The players didn’t seem to ride his coattails of momentum. They just stood around and watched him – which puts a lot of pressure on him. I can’t tell you how many times they are executing their offense and they pass up 2-3 shots. Finally, Kobe gets the ball in his hands and he has to find his shot… This is where he has to move the basketball on and his team has to step up. I think that fine line was not adhered to. It usually is with him. But in that ballgame, more of the responsibility falls on his teammates. They weren’t executing. They weren’t being aggressive. They were being very timid last night. That’s why he had to step up. I don’t think he had a choice.”

Hey Timberwolves fans. Both of you. Check out the interview because Rambis also talks about his team, and confirms he doesn’t think they can really win with an Al Jefferson and Kevin Love front line. He wants a center.

NBA finals, Lakers Celtics: Who is the MVP?


Thumbnail image for bryant_game2.pngUsually five games into an NBA finals, we have a pretty good idea who is going to get the finals MVP award.

This finals? Good luck. You’d have an easier time naming all 11 starters on the Slovenian national soccer team.

Really, the only consistently good player on both sides has been Kobe Bryant. The guy who tried to carry the Lakers to victory in Game 5 by himself during the third quarter. Win or lose, Kobe has been there, scoring 29 points or more in four of the five games. It has not always been efficient scoring, but he has been the one player who has attacked in each and every game.

The last guy to win Finals MVP on the losing team? Jerry West in the 1969 finals, when the Lakers lost in seven games to the Celtics at the old Great Western Forum. That was a group of more talented Lakers losing out to a better team in the Celtics.

For the Celtics, who do you pick?

Rajon Rondo has been the leader of their offense in terms of setting up, and he took over the second half of Game 4. Kevin Garnett has had two good offensive games and again remains key to the Celtics defense that has them ahead. Paul Pierce has had a couple good games now, but was missing the first half of the series. Ray Allen had a record setting night and a horrific night. Big Baby?

Maybe the referees for their influence on games?

The winner of the award may well be the guy that takes over Game 7. (Because you just have a feeling with these teams it is going to get there.) But if the vote were conducted now, we might need the Electoral College to come in because there would be know clear winner.

NBA finals, Lakers Celtics: Phil Jackson throws some love toward Doc Rivers


Thumbnail image for Rivers_Nicholson.jpgHistory is not going to record Doc Rivers as the same level of coach as Phil Jackson. Because he’s not.

But right now, with this team, Rivers is every bit the coach he has to be, every bit the match for Jackson. And Jackson knows it. Today at his press conference he threw some love toward Rivers. And the Celtics veterans, as well.

But I’ll tell you what he’s done well, he’s done well with match-ups. He’s done well in attacking some of our weaker guys out there on the floor in situations that’s given them an advantage. I thought he’s used his bench exceptionally well.

As far as the other stuff, the players that he has on the team, they’re all — they’re experienced players. During the regular season they knew what was important about the year. The year was important about coming in the playoffs and playing, the Garnetts and the Pierces and the Allens and the Wallaces, they’ve been through these things, they know a little bit about what’s important. Sometimes those last 15, 20 games in the regular season can get to be arduous and you can beat a dead horse into a situation you don’t want to get into, and I think Doc rode his team the right way.

So they came into the playoffs knowing what was important. It’s the second season that’s important in this game, and they’ve come in with a good amount of energy and the right team play here.

NBA finals, Lakers Celtics: Why the 2-3-2 format?


For the first three rounds of the NBA playoffs, Game 5 returns to the home court of the higher seed. Game 6 is at the lower seed’s building, then the teams travel again for a Game 7, back to the higher seeds home court. The 2-2-1-1-1 format.

But not for the NBA finals. Then the rules change.

Now it is a 2-3-2 format, with the lower seeded team getting the three games in the middle. It’s perceived as a disadvantage for the lower seed — only twice since the NBA went to this format has the lower seed swept those three middle games.

So why do it? Money. Money and convenience.

This year’s finals (and last year’s) mean a cross-country flight for everyone. Not just the players, but for the massive number of media, television crews, NBA personnel and more that are at the games. Putting on and NBA finals is a production, and moving that production all the way across the country is expensive and a big pain.

And in a seven-game series, that’s a lot of cross-country flights in a few days right at the end. A lot of days lost to travel.

Remember this format was instituted in 1985 — when the two teams playing in this year’s finals were playing seemingly every year. And would be for a while. The travel was less of an issue getting from Chicago to Utah in the 1990s, but the format had been set. And as the league’s popularity grew, so did the contingent that follows the finals. That meant nothing changed.

And nothing is going to in the near future, unless some kind of Star Trek transporter can be developed. Not that I would be surprised if David Stern already had one of those, he’s just not making it public.

NBA finals, Lakers Celtics: For the sake of watchable basketball, referees stop blowing the whistle


Kobe_complains.jpgOne hundred and thirty four.

That is how many free throws we’ve gotten to witness through the first two games of the NBA finals. That is 67 free throws a game. The league average was about 48 a game during the regular season.

That is a 71 percent increase in foul calls for the NBA finals.

I’m not jumping on the conspiracy theory bandwagon here — the referees have been whistle happy and inconsistent with calls, but they have been equal opportunity bad. Ray Allen got to sit in Game 1, Kobe was in trouble and tentative late in Game 2 because of fouls. Big Baby had had clean blocks called fouls, Lamar Odom apparently gets a call for just stepping on to the court. There have been bad calls, but they have gone both ways.

And the team that has adjusted better to the calls have won both games.

But there just needs to be less of them.

I’m not asking for a return to the 1990s. For any reason. Nobody wants to watch that again. Not even Jeff Van Gundy and he coached one of those teams. We don’t like the whistle being blown every trip down the court.

The tight whistles are hampering the aggressiveness of the teams. They are keeping the best players on the bench for too long. They are taking any flow out of the games. While Game 2 was exciting, neither game has been aesthetically pleasing (outside of Ray Allen’s pure jumper).

It’s the finals — let the big boys play a little. If Andrew Bynum and Kendrick Perkins want to bang on the block, let them. If the Lakers get a little physical with Ray Allen as he comes off screens, so be it. If Kobe has to fight through some contact to get through a double team, that’s the way it should be. There can be a little bumping, some pushing, a little physicality.  

I get not wanting the game to get out of control, but so far it has been the referees that have been the ones out of control. In trying to exert their control.

It’s the finals — let them play a little. It’s what we all want to see.