Archive for June 17th, 2008

These are raw, totally unedited notes of Lakers at Celtics, NBA Finals Game 6, taken live at the game as the action happens. Reload this page regularly.

Kendrick Perkins, who was doubtful for tonight, is well enough to play, and is starting at center. Rajon Rondo, who seems to be playing hurt and hasn’t been effective in the Finals, is at his usual starting point guard spot.

First Quarter

Immediately, a few seconds into the game, Pau Gasol drew a silly foul on Kendrick Perkins. And that possession, Kobe Bryant immediately nailed a jumper.

One minute into the game Derek Fisher drove, and crashed into Paul Pierce, who may have still been moving, but a foul got called on Pierce. It should have been a no-call or an offensive.

The Lakers are playing a zone.

Rajon Rondo misses a jumper, but then makes up for it with a steal and assist to Ray Allen, who hits a three.

Pierce got called for what appears to be a touch foul.

Kobe pulls up and nails an off-balance three in Ray Allen’s face. If he’s doing that all night Boston is in trouble.

Lots of fouls early on. A pair of Rondo free throws makes it 7 all, at 9:12.

Kobe’s shooting the second he gets a look, and even when he doesn’t. This time he was open and quickly splashed a three.

Pierce faked Vladimir Radmanovic off his feet, shot while trying to draw a foul, but missed, and no call. It appeared correct.

A defensive three-seconds call against the Lakers. I didn’t see who it was on.

At 7:36 Pau Gasol falls down, resulting in Kevin Garnett catching and putting in an easy layup.

Celtics are hustling on the offensive boards these last few shots, but not finishing.

Pierce checking Gasol, and makes him miss.

Kobe swoops in, tries to flip it in traffic to Lamar Odom, but turns it over.

Rondo, so open I was closer to him than any Lakers defense, swishes it from the right corner, making it 12-10 Celtics at 5:44.

Kobe, operating outside, fakes everybody a few times and nails a wild off-balance three, again. He has 11 points.
Bill Russell is in the crowd. How did he get tickets? A scalper, maybe.

Luke Walton is in for the Lakers, replacing Vladimir Radmanovic.

Ticker reports: “Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen left Tuesday’s Game Six of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers with 4:20 left in the first quarter after getting hit in the face. Allen fell to his knees after driving to the basket and scoring against Lakers forward Lamar Odom.”

Odom caught the ball near the rim, Perkins basically just lifted his arm up, and got called for a foul.

The Lakers zone resulted in Garnett hitting a fairly close shot over Kobe.

Walton can catch near the rim and make open layups, as he just proved. And then next play he drove and drew a foul.

KG hits a tough turnaround jumper over Gasol outside the right paint, making it 20-18 Boston with 2:40 left.

Pierce, open from up top at 2:04, missed a pretty open three-pointer.

Jordan Farmar fumbled the ball for no reason, losing it out of bounds.

KG caught an alley-oop and flushed it, driving the fans into a frenzy, though it’s still just a four-point game.

Farmar misses a jumper. He’s not off to a good start. Stay confident, young fella.

Farmar almost lost it again, as Rondo tipped it from behind into what was going to be a turnover, but the refs called Rondo for the reach, putting Jordan at the line. Farmar hits both.

Leon Powe and Eddie house come in for Rondo and Garnett.

Pierce brings the ball up, guarded very loosely by Kobe. Too loosely, and Pierce hits a fairly open outside jumper. Kobe tries to respond by forcing in a defender’s face, but he misses.

Pierce brings the ball up again, guarded by Walton, and with a few seconds left fakes and leaves Walton in the dust, causing Luke to grab him. Celtics ball with 1.8 seconds. It gets inbounded to Leon Powe, who drives slowly as if there’s five seconds left. Quarter ends as he’s still making his move.

End of first quarter: Celtisc 24, Lakers 20.

Second Quarter

The Lakers are in a zone, still.

James Posey does a great job on Kobe, and despite about 28 fakes, Bryant can’t get free, and misses a tough, forced jumper.

Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis is in! He’s hungry. Or so I’d assume.

Sasha Vujacic, and his hair swaying in the wind for the ladies, swishes a jumper. But Eddie House responds with one of his own. Celtics up four.

Kobe, remembering he’s allowed to hit teammates with passes, fires to Odom as he cuts to the basket, drawing a foul.

At 9:57 a tech got called on Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who is absolutely furious because he wants to be reading InsideHoops.com right now and can’t, or so I’m making up.

Celtics role players are stepping up. First, James Posey intercepts a long pass. Then, Leon Powe hustles his way to a layup, putting the Celtics up 31-26 at 8:23.

Antoine Walker is in for the Celtics. No, just kidding, obviously. But wouldn’t it be fun if that were true?

Pierce at the line. He’s twisting his arm sideways slightly more than usual on some of his shots. A bit off-balance.

Pau Gasol glides in for a layup. He’s been grabbing rebounds (5) but otherwise has been quiet.

A Celtics miss, but Posey keeps it alive. And then finds himself open in the left corner for a three, which he swishes, putting Boston up 35-29 at 6:40. And next play, Eddie House hits a three from the exact same spot, resulting in a Lakers timeout.

They like the song ‘Crazy Train’ in this arena. It’s being played yet again.

The Celtics defense continues to deny almost everything the Lakers try. Halfway through the second quarter L.A. is still stuck at 29. Kobe has 13 of those points.

Posey on Kobe and once again Bryant gets contained. And the next play down Pierce finds an open Posey who swishes it from the left elbow, putting the Celtics up 43-29 at 5:20. Fans erupt in a ‘Beat L.A.’ chant. I have chills right now, being here for it.

Gasol, inside, guarded by Big Baby, spins and fakes about four times and puts in a short jump-hook, pulling the Lakers to within 10. But Garnett immediately answers with a deep baseline jumper.

Pierce is at the line. Fans chant “MVP!” at him.

Some Celtics over-passing results in a turnover. It was good teamwork, though. The passes all made sense. Just one too many.

Garnett, guarded by Gasol, shakes and bakes, and puts in a fadeaway in the paint, making it 51-35 Celtics.

Good Celtics passing results in an open Rondo who flips in a short wide open shot in the paint. Now 53-25 Celtics with a minute left in the half.

Huge play: Garnett sets a screen up top, cuts to the rim, catches a pass, hangs in the air, and puts in a tough layup plus the foul.

A play later, Pierce, double-teamed, finds Garnett on the opposite side, who fires it to Perkins down low, who fakes a few times and puts in a layup. Fans are going nuts.

End of second quarter: Celtics 58, Lakers 35.

Halftime

Some stats coming shortly. But first, I’m having some root beer and a Hershey’s chocolate bar. That’s right, I’m a health nut.

The big Celtics lead is very indicative of how well Boston is playing and how Los Angeles is being controlled.

In the first half, the Celtics shot 46.5%, while the Lakers hit an awful 8-of-27 for 29.6%. Also, while the Lakers took 27 shots, the Celtics, who hustled way harder, took 43. The Celtics hit 5-of-12 threes (Posey had 2), the Lakers 3-of-11 (Kobe had all 3). The Lakers hit 16-of-19 free throws, the Celtics 13-of-14. Boston totally controlled rebounds, winning that battle 26-14. And the Celtics had 17 assists (Pierce 9), the Lakers just 5 (Derek Fisher 3). The Lakers had 11 turnovers (Gasol 4), the Celtics just 3. The Celtics had 10 steals (Rondo 4, Posey 3), the Lakers just 3.

Yeah, so, it really is that bad for the Lakers so far.

For the Celtics: Garnett (8-of-12) has 17 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Paul Pierce (just 2-of-9, weird twist on his shot today) has 10 points, 3 rebounds and 9 assists. Ray Allen (2-of-3) has 8 points and 2 steals. Eddie House (2-of-3) has 7.

For the Lakers: Bryant (4-of-11) has 14 points, 3 turnovers, and little else. Gasol (2-of-5) has 6 points, 5 rebounds and 4 turnovers. Everyone else has 4 points or less. Odom is 0-of-4 with 7 rebounds. The Lakers all stink so far. But credit Boston for that.

Third Quarter

The guys who control which fans get shown on the big scoreboard screen above the court have a great sense of humor. During halftime they’re showing fans cheering, making sure to include hot chicks in Celtics jerseys, but twice now they’ve shown a row of three fans where an Asian gentleman in a suit has fallen asleep and the other two people look bored. They showed that guy twice. The third time, he started to wake up, causing fans to cheer. And now the fourth time he’s shown, the guy is fully awake and waves to the crowd.

The third quarter has started. And immediately, Rondo nails a deep open jumper from the side, making it 60-35.

Part of me wants to keep taking notes at the frantic pace I did in the first half, but the rest of me wants to just chill and wait and see if the Lakers make some sort of comeback.

Kobe misses again. And naturally the Celtics control the board. Quick Boston ball movement results in Ray Allen jacking a three as Kobe runs at him. Swish. Celtics up 27, at 10:32.

Finally, a Laker makes a play. Derek Fisher fakes, drives, gets to the rim, gets bumped by Kendrick Perkins, scores plus the foul. P.J. Brown enters for Perkins. Free throw good. Celtics up 24.

More nice Celtics teamwork. Rondo flips it to Garnett around the free throw line, who drives and tosses a short pass to P.J. Brown near the rim, who goes up and gets nailed. Both free throws good.

Odom, guarded by Garnett, fires a long alley-oop to a cutting Gasol, who dunks it. And a play later, Radmanovic swishes a three from the left corner. But Rondo pushes the ball, no one steps up to stop him, so he goes straight to the rim and scores plus the foul. The free throw puts Boston up 70-44.

Kobe is guarding Rondo, playing about 10 feet off of him, as usual. No one respects his outside or even mid-range shot.

The Celtics are simply the superior team tonight, in every way imaginable. Crisp ball movement and brilliant floor positioning results in Ray Allen being wide open for a three from the right corner, which he swishes.

Boston gets good looks maybe 5 plays out of 6. Los Angeles gets them around 1 play of 6.

Kobe has a defender in his face every time he shoots. But so do all the other Lakers. That’s kind of a big problem.

At 5:09, Gasol caught the ball right near the rim, yet KG contained him and forced a jump-ball. The Lakers won the tip and Radmanovic swished a wide open three. But the Celtics quickly answer, making it a 30-point game.

Finally, Bryant looks like a star on a move where he shook Pierce, got at the rim, drew help defenders but double-clutched and went to the other side of the rim for a sweet layup.

Garnett is guarding Odom, and playing so far off of him that when Lamar drives instead of shooting, KG can easily get proper position and force him to pass. A turnover is the result.

Even when the Celtics have to force a shot, they get a look about as decent as the average Lakers look, and Boston almost always gets a hand on the miss, even if they aren’t able to grab it.

Pierce is still off-balance. He fired an airball from the right corner. The Celtics are up 30, though, so it’s all good.

At 1:50 Garnett did something evil: He flopped, while guarding Kobe. The refs, fortunately, ignored it. That’s just wrong, KG. Don’t do that again. Of course, it’s possible he tripped and I just didn’t see it from the correct angle. But from this seat it was a ridiculous flop.

A Gasol jump-hook in the paint cuts it to 25 with around a minute left. Still, each Laker bucket seems lucky, almost. LIke it shouldn’t have really happened.

Everything is going right for Boston, still. Crisp ball movement results in an open mid-range shot for P.J. Brown.

Final shot of the third quarter was Kobe, guarded brilliantly by Posey, firing a desperate fadeaway from the side which wasn’t even close.

End of third quarter: Celtics 89, Lakers 60.

Fourth Quarter

Rondo, Ray Allen, Posey, Glen Davis and PJ Brown are in for Boston. Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom and Ronny Turiaf are in for Los Angeles.

Rondo glides in for a layup as if no one is even pretending to guard him. Magic Johnson must be rolling over in his grave.

Fans start chanting something that I think sounds like “Where is Ko-be?” but I’m not positive that’s what they were saying.

A Lakers turnover resulted in a long pass to Rondo who went up for what was possibly going to be a dunk, but Farmar fouled him, and it was called a flagrant. So Rondo got free throws, and the Celtics kept the ball.

At 10:44 fans start chanting “seventeen!” And then Brown comes out, receiving a standing ovation from the fans.

The Celtics bench is going just as hard as the starters. Glen Davis attacks the rim and gets nailed by Odom. He hits one of two, making it 95-65 Celtics.

Ray Allen curled around some picks, found himself wide open, and quickly launched a three as Vujacic tried to catch up with him. No, Sasha. Swish.

Fans start cheering “seventeen!” again.

Ray Allen keeps running around some picks and getting wide open. He hits again from outside: 101-70 Boston up at 9:07. Timeout Lakers. It’s too late, Phil. Put in Mike Smrek, David Rivers and Kurt Rambis.

During the timeout, they showed Danny Ainge on the big screen, causing fans to go absolutely bonkers, and causing me to get chills for the 9th or 10th time.

Ray Allen, yet again, gets open, not quite as open as before, and again nails a three, making it 104-70 Boston at 8:24.

KG inside. Puts it in. Who was guarding him? Doesn’t matter. It’s too easy.

With 6 minutes left in the game Boston leads 110-75.

And at 5:18, Ray Allen, for the 39th time tonight, finds himself open in the corner for a three, and nails it.

I’m heading downstairs, folks. To beat the crowds getting to where players will be interviewed in post-game conferences.

Congrats, in advance, to the 2007-08 NBA champion Boston Celtics!

Read InsideHoops.com every single day of the year. Coming soon, the NBA Draft, free agent negotiations, signings, trades, summer league coverage, Team USA coverage, and more, every day on your online home, Inside Hoops.

Congrats to Celtics fans and also it should be said that the Lakers have much to be proud of. Their future is bright.

But the Celtics own the league this year.

Game Recap: See a complete game recap, including every stat worth knowing.

Kendrick Perkins starting Game 6

The New Orleans Times-Picayune (John Reid) reports: Kendrick Perkins will start tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers after missing Sunday’s Game 5 with a strained left shoulder. Perkins participated in Tuesday morning’s shootaround and deemed himself ready. But Coach Doc Rivers did not make it official until about an hour before tip-off when he announced Perkins would start. Without Perkins in Game 5, the Rivers was forced to start backup Leon Powe. Powe played 4 1/2 minutes and did not score or grab a rebound before he was replaced by Slidell resident P.J. Brown, who played 24 minutes and scored four points and grabbed three rebounds.

The Memphis Grizzlies added Kevin O’Neill to the team’s assistant coaching ranks, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

A former University of Tennessee head coach, O’Neill brings 28 years of coaching experience to the club including a one-year stint as head coach of the Toronto Raptors in 2003-04 where he went 33-49 (.402).  He was the lead assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons from 2001-03 under 2001-02 NBA Coach of the Year and newly-named Dallas Mavericks Head Coach Rick Carlisle.

“The Grizzlies are excited about the opportunity to work with a defensive expert in Kevin O’Neill,” said Head Coach Marc Iavaroni.  “His experience and knowledge in college and the NBA will help our players and organization reach the highest levels we are striving for.”

A six-year veteran in the NBA coaching circles, O’Neill has seen time as an assistant with the New York Knicks (2000-01) under Jeff Van Gundy and the Indiana Pacers (2004-06) where he rejoined Carlisle.  Including his time at the helm in Toronto, no NBA team with O’Neill on the coaching staff has ever finished lower than sixth in the league in points allowed per game.

Most recently, O’Neill served as the interim head coach at the University of Arizona last season, where he guided the Wildcats to a 19-15 record (.559) and the school’s 24th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.  The Wildcats faced the then-No. 2 ranked Memphis Tigers on Dec. 29, 2007 at FedExForum. 

Forty-eight players who had declared as early entry candidates for the 2008 NBA Draft have withdrawn their names from the draft. There are 39 collegiate and five international prospects that remain early entry candidates.

Players wishing to renounce their remaining intercollegiate eligibility and enter the 2008 NBA Draft were required to submit a letter to the NBA to be received no later than Sunday, April 27. Players who have applied for early entry have the right to withdraw their names from consideration for the Draft by notifying the NBA of their decision in writing no later than 5 p.m. ET on Monday, June 16.

The full list of who stayed in and who pulled out is here.

Yao Ming not ready to play yet

The Houston Chronicle (Jonathan Feigen) reports: Rockets center Yao Ming moved a step closer to returning to the court with a good report from Monday’s checkup, but is a long way from being cleared to play, Yao’s agent John Huizinga said. Though there were reports out of China that Yao has been cleared and will play in the Stankovic Cup, Huizinga said that doctors have not cleared Yao for full practices and game action, and that it is premature to say whether he will play in that pre-Olympic event in Hangzhou, China, July 17-20.

Mavs try-out Mensah-Bonsu and Frahm

The Dallas Morning News (Eddie Sefko) reports: Fringe NBA players are on tour these days, making the rounds to see where they might have a shot at full-time employment next season. Most of the names are anonymous, but one that made a swing by American Airlines Center on Monday was of particular note: Pops Mensah-Bonsu… The Mavericks also brought in Richie Frahm, a respected shooter who has bounced around the league for several seasons and played 10 games for the Los Angeles Clippers last season.

Shawn Marion decision must come soon

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Ira Winderman) reports: The biggest decision for the Heat might be one that is due two days before it exercises the No. 2 pick in the June 26 NBA Draft. The opt-out window for forward Shawn Marion closes at 6 p.m. June 24. By then, he must decide whether to play out the final season on his contract, at $17.8 million for 2008-09, or become a free agent July 1. The timing is no coincidence. In extending Marion a six-year, $80 million contract in 2003, the Phoenix Suns wanted a definitive decision from the versatile forward in advance of the 2008 draft.

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