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Friday , Jun , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Andrew Bynum the difference between L.A. Lakers winning and losing NBA Title?

Andrew Bynum said the swelling in right knee is the most it has been since he initially tore the cartilage April 30, but he is confident he will be back in action Sunday night for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. “It’s a little bit frustrating, but I’m going to play on Sunday, play hard on Sunday,” Bynum said after he played just 1:50 of the second half in the Lakers’ Game 4 loss to Boston.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: I see the difference. You see the difference. The world sees the difference.

The Los Angeles Lakers are a different team with Andrew Bynum playing -even if he's nowhere near full health. The young seven-footer anchors the middle with his length and size, which allows Pau Gasol to play the four-spot, his natural position, and embarrass opponents with his creative post moves and wonderful skill-set.

Consider Bynum's impact in the NBA Finals. With Bynum, the Lakers physically dominate the Celtics. Without him, the opposite occurs -the Celtics assert their will on the Lakers, especially in the all-important paint.

For instance, Boston's Glen Davis, at 6-8, probably doesn't dominate game four if Bynum, at 7-1, is playing because he'd have challenged and contested every 'Big Baby' shot and putback.

For the Lakers, it's a positive that Bynum will try to play in game five. Like it or not, he's the difference in this championship series.  

Got thoughts on Andrew Bynum?

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Friday , Jun , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Nate Robinson to Glen Davis: ‘We Like Shrek and Donkey’

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: They're getting the last laugh.

Right or wrong, fair or not, Glen Davis and Nate Robinson have taken their lumps. Just this year, Davis got heat for breaking his hand in a training camp fight with a college friend, while Robinson's animated antics wore thin in New York.

There was good reason for the criticism: 'Big Baby' and 'Kryptonite' had talent and, at their core, seemed like good people. Both had the potential to be impact players -exactly like they did to seal the win in game four of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

And both, while immature, love basketball. After all, these two described their game four play as being 'like Shrek and Donkey.'

Now is their moment to shine. Davis and Robinson are taking full advantage and - as the clip below demonstrates - getting the last laugh.

Watch the youtube video and get us with thoughts on this dynamic duos' post-game stand-up act and play in game four.

 

       

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Friday , Jun , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Praise the bench: Glen Davis and Nate Robinson lead Celtics to game four win over Lakers

Backup Glen "Big Baby" Davis scored half of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Celtics bench as it pulled away from the Los Angeles Lakers to win 96-89 on Thursday night and even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

Game 5 is Sunday night in Boston. The Celtics' win guaranteed them a trip back to Los Angeles and averted a 3-1 deficit that has never been overcome in NBA history.

Kobe Bryant scored 33 points and Pau Gasol had 21 for the Lakers.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Down the stretch, the Boston Celtics needed a spark. And their bench answered the call, winning game four for the green-and-white.

With starters Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo struggling, coach Doc Rivers went with four reserves and first-stringer Ray Allen for most of the fourth quarter.

And this makeshift unit responded in the final frame: Glen Davis tallied 9 of his 18 points; Nate Robinson scored and set up others; Tony Allen forced Kobe Bryant left and made the game's best player work for every point; and Rasheed Wallace's length and physicality eventually wore on Pau Gasol.

Best of all, Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Davis, Robinson, and Wallace brought an energy that Boston was missing for most of the game.

The news gets worse for the Los Angeles Lakers: Andrew Bynum sat out the entire second half and only played 12 minutes because of his injured knee.

Bynum's numbers have been mediocre due to his poor health; however, his height and length has given the Celtics problems. Also, with Bynum on-court, Gasol can shift to the four-spot, his natural position.

However, give the Celtics credit. They capitalized on Bynum's absence. And their bench came through in the clutch.

Got thoughts on game four?   

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Thursday , Jun , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Tom Izzo scare LeBron James from Cleveland?

Tom Izzo is apparently closer to saying yes to the Cleveland Cavaliers than previously thought, a source told ESPN.com's Andy Katz on Thursday.

That source discussed Izzo's future with a close confidant of Izzo, who is coaching in the NBA. The source told Katz that Izzo, who talked to his team earlier this week about his interest in the Cavaliers, is leaning toward taking the job if it is offered.

"Three weeks ago that wasn't the case, but it has changed,'' said the source.

Izzo is meeting with Cleveland to discuss the team's coaching vacancy on Thursday.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Right now, Tom Izzo is wrong for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Izzo is a great college coach. In time, he may defy the NCAA-to-pro curse and develop into a great NBA coach. With LeBron James' pending free agency, now isn't appropriate for the Cavaliers to gamble on a sideline boss who has never coached an NBA game.

Imagine James' position on July 1st when he hits free agency. Think of his choices on the bench: the New York Knicks have former Coach of the Year and Team USA assistant Mike D'Antoni; the New Jersey Nets just landed former Coach of the Year Avery Johnson; the Miami Heat - if need be - will bring Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley out of the executive suite; the Chicago Bulls recently hired defensive guru Tom Thibodeau; and the L.A. Clippers will even let James pick his coach and GM.

With these options available, why would James re-sign with Cleveland and a green Izzo? These two aren't buddies like James and University of Kentucky coach John Calipari. And Izzo, while talented, isn't Duke's Mike Krzyzkewski.

King James wants to win now. A rookie NBA coach, even one with Izzo's resume at Michigan State, may be just enough for him to leave the Cavaliers and sign elsewhere.

Will Izzo scare away LeBron? 

2010 NBA Finals Game 3 – Paul Pierce is going back to Los Angeles.
Thursday , Jun , 10 , 2010 J.N.

2010 NBA Finals Game 3 – Paul Pierce is going back to Los Angeles.

Paul Pierce should have never opened his mouth towards the end of game 2. The Celtics have to pull an LL Cool J by headin’ back to Cali stylin’ and profilin.’ The game was embarrassing for P-Squared. He was to be out done by Ray Allen. He was scorching hot in game 2. He played like a bumbling idiot in game 3. Ray Ray couldn’t hit any type of shot out there. 0-13? That’s bloody awful especially in the NBA Finals at home. I thought he was entering John Starks’ level. I was wrong. He went beyond that.  

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Wednesday , Jun , 09 , 2010 Andrew Flint

Boston fans call Lamar Odom’s wife Khloe Kardashian the ‘Ugly Sister’

"Maybe the best chant ever heard at a sporting event, to Lamar Odom at FT line: "UG-LY SIS-Ter"!. Clap-clap, clap-clap-clap." Ken Berger, CBS Sports, via Twitter, HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call:  Nothing is off limits in the NBA Finals, especially between the Celtics and Lakers. But the Boston faithful's insults had no impact on Lamar Odom's play, even if they went after his wife, Khloe, whose sister is socialite Kim Kardashian. Odom went 5-for-5 from the floor for 12 points to go with 5 rebounds. Best of all, he was active. He attacked the basket, avoided foul trouble, got into the open court, and played multiple positions. In fact, this was the versatile forward's best game of the NBA Finals. Perhaps, the "UG-LY SIS-Ter" chant served as motivation. Got thoughts on Boston calling Khloe Kardashian ugly? Get at us in the comment box below.  
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Wednesday , Jun , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Height and heart: how L.A. beat Boston in game three

Kobe Bryant scored 29 points and Derek Fisher added 16 to lead Los Angeles to a 91-84 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night and give the Lakers a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

Bryant had 25 points after three but did not score for the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter. That's when Fisher took over, adding four key baskets after Boston winnowed a 17-point first-half lead to one point.

The Lakers regained home-court advantage they had lost when Boston took Game 2 in Los Angeles. Game 4 is Thursday night in Boston.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: In basketball, there’s a saying that ‘you can’t teach the height’. In game three of the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics couldn’t beat the Los Angeles Lakers’ height.

It didn’t matter that Kevin Garnett turned back the clock with an inspired performance. It didn’t matter that Rajon Rondo was brilliant. It didn’t matter that the green-and-white’s bench had a big second half.

It also didn’t matter that Kobe Bryant had an off shooting night or that Ron Artest struggled with foul trouble.

On Tuesday evening, the Lakers were bigger and stronger and ultimately better. For instance, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom were especially effective in the middle, disrupting passing lanes and contesting shots with their length.

Size was one factor. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce’s poor play was another.

Allen, who hit an NBA Finals record 8-three pointers in game two, missed every shot he took in game three, while Pierce wasn’t much better, going 5-for 12 from the floor, and ending with a disappointing 15 points.

This was Pierce’s second consecutive sub par performance and it came on the heels of his claim the Celtics ‘ain’t going back to LA!’

Of course, one of the Lakers’ smallest players, Derek Fisher, played like a giant. The veteran went 6-for-12 with 16 points, which included a courageous 5-for-7 shooting display in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory.

Yes, height was the difference in game three. So was the size of Fisher’s heart.

Got thoughts on game four? Get at us in the comment box below.

2010 NBA Finals Game 2 – Jesus Shuttlesworth sets a new record.
Tuesday , Jun , 08 , 2010 J.N.

2010 NBA Finals Game 2 – Jesus Shuttlesworth sets a new record.

Black Jesus was en fuego. How did the Lakers’ defense let this man get hot like that? After game 1, you had to know that the Boston Celtics were not going to play like that again. Ray Allen lit up the NBA world with eight three pointers – NBA Finals record. The certified top 4 point guard in the league, Rajon Rondo, posted up a triple double: 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce played like trash, but the Celtics escaped LA with a win.

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Monday , Jun , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Paul Pierce: “We ain’t coming back to LA!”

Striking a similar tone as he did in Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals, Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce directed a bold prediction at Lakers fans in the final minutes of his team's victory in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night in Los Angeles.

After Pau Gasol committed a hard foul on Kendrick Perkins with 1:12 remaining in Game 2 and the Celtics leading, 97-90, Pierce, as he helped his teammate off the floor along the baseline near the hoop was heard on video replays yelling, "We ain't coming back to LA!"

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Paul Pierce has reason to be confident.

Yes, his Boston Celtics looked solid in taking game two of the NBA Finals. And yes, the heavily favoured Los Angeles Lakers' struggled on Sunday evening.

Pierce's outburst was, in part, due to the championship series switching to a 2-3-2 game format, meaning the lower seeded team - the Celtics in this case - have the next three matches in Boston. 

The league uses a 2-2-1-1-1 game format for the first three rounds of the playoffs and critics believe the 2-3-2 format of the NBA Finals gives the lower seed an unfair advantage.

Years back, the suits at league head office thought the 2-3-2 format was appropriate for the NBA finals because it reduced travel. Today, every team has their own luxurious, five-star plane, so travel isn't as great an issue. 

With the next three games in Boston, the 2-3-2 format is an issue for the Lakers. And this has Pierce confident he "ain't coming back to LA!"

Will the Celtics finish the series at home? Is the 2-3-2 format fair? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Monday , Jun , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Mini-movie of game 2 between Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers

HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: The only thing better than an original is a sequel. Not in all cases, but wasn`t game 2 of the NBA Finals far more competitive and entertaining than game one?

The good folks at NBA.com agree. They`ve made another mini-movie of game two highlights, so click the video below and relive this barn-burner between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. 

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Monday , Jun , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rondo and Ray-Ray knock-out Lakers, Celtics win game two

Ray Allen scored 27 of his 32 points in the first half with a record-setting 3-point shooting display, Rajon Rondo completed a triple-double down the stretch and the Boston Celtics evened the NBA finals with a 103-94 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 Sunday night.

Allen hit a finals-record eight 3-pointers in a dazzling effort for the Celtics. Rondo then took charge after Allen cooled down, racking up 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in his fifth playoff triple-double to hand Los Angeles its first home loss of the postseason.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: They came. They saw. And they got their all important split on the road.

After winning one-of-two games in Staples Center, the Boston Celtics have momentum against the defending champion and heavily favoured Los Angeles Lakers.

There were three reasons Boston turned the table against L.A., and took game two:

1) Obviously, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen had terrific games. Rondo dropped a Jason Kidd like, triple-double, while Allen stretched the defense with an NBA Finals record eight-3 pointers.

2) Rondo, Allen, and the Celtics got points in transition. For instance, the Celtics ran quick pick-and-rolls and pushed the ball, which surprised the Lakers' defense.

3) Boston got back to blue-collar basketball. They ran down loose balls. They set the tempo. And they out-hustled LA. This intensity and effort, led by reserve Glen Davis, was a major reason Kobe Bryant was in foul trouble most of the night.

The next three games of the NBA Finals are in Boston. If the Celtics can keep momentum and hold at home, they may just secure their eighteenth championship banner.   

Got thoughts on game two? Get at us in the comment box.

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Sunday , Jun , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Pau Gasol right? Has Kevin Garnett lost a step?

Lakers big man Pau Gasol said Celtics forward Kevin Garnett is not the player he used to be, but Boston coach Doc Rivers stressed on Friday that there is nothing physically wrong with KG.

The Lakers held Garnett to 16 points and only four rebounds in a 102-89 win in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

"On Kevin's part, he's also lost some explosiveness," said Gasol, who had 23 points and 14 rebounds. "He's more of a jump shooter now you could say, comes off the lane. Before he had a really, really quick first step and was getting to the lane and he was more aggressive then. Time passes and we all suffer it one way or another, but he's still a terrific player, a terrific competitor, and he's going to bring everything he's got. You can count on that."
 
 
HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Pau Gasol may be absolutely right, but he should not have gone there.
 
By politely calling out Kevin Garnett in the post game press conference, Gasol has provided The Big Ticket with extra motivation.
 
To be fair, Garnett is a shade of his former self. Wear and tear and injuries have taken their toll; however, the legendary post can still raise his play in a short series, especially if he feels slighted.
 
For instance, the Cleveland Cavaliers had their hands full with Garnett in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
 
So Gasol should just stay quiet and play -even if he is right.

Is Gasol right? Has Garnett lost a step?
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Saturday , Jun , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Movie Video: Game One NBA Finals Highlights Between Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers

Did you miss game one of the NBA Finals? Or did you catch the opening tilt between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, but wanted a refresher before Sunday's game two?

Well, the good folks at NBA.com have a movie style video of the game one highlights for your viewing pleasure. So enjoy!

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Saturday , Jun , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

‘Keeping It Real': Nate Robinson wants to stay with Boston Celtics

Robinson, who will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his five-year career, said he definitely has interest in re-signing with the Celtics if they want him back.

"Of course,'' Robinson said in an interview Friday with FanHouse, a day after Boston fell 102-89 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals
against the Lakers.

Even though the 5-foot-9 Robinson's playing time has been erratic, he said he likes the way the Celtics have treated him since he was acquired Feb. 19 from New York.

"I feel wanted here,'' said Robinson, who averaged 6.5 points in 14.7 minutes in 26 Boston regular-season games, but has seen his numbers drop in the postseason to 3.4 points in 6.4 minutes in the 11 games he has played.

"This group of guys, this team, this organization is good for me. They're high class, man. They keep it 100 percent (real) with you. Doc (Rivers, the coach) keeps it 100 percent. He tells you straight forward what he wants. I like that.''

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Can you feel the love?

Nate Robinson is apparently cool with the Boston Celtics because they've 'kept it 100 percent' real with him.

Okay, HoopsVibe News has no idea what this means, except it's good. For several reasons, club and player are a fit and should continue their mutually beneficial partnership with an extension this summer. Here's why:

1) Boston's Hall of Fame veterans have the credibility to keep Robinson on track. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce can play bad cop and, if necessary, get in the tiny combo guard's face, allowing Coach Doc Rivers and GM Danny Ainge to play the good cop and encourage him.

2) Of course, Robinson, when focused, provides energy, life, and athleticism. This is always useful, especially when coming off the bench for a veteran laden club. For instance, the former Slam Dunk champion had an amazing game six performance, which helped Boston seal the Eastern Conference championship.

3) The Celtics are a defensive terror. That's their identity. Together, Robinson and Rajon Rondo would be the quickest starter-back-up point guard tandem in the NBA. And they'd harass opposing table-setters with their intense on-the-ball pressure.

4) How out of control can you look with Rasheed Wallace as a teammate?

Is Robinson and the Celtics and a match? Let us know in the comment box below.

 

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Saturday , Jun , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Coaching Carousel: Monty Williams to New Orleans; Tom Thibodeau to Chicago or New Jersey

The New Orleans Hornet quickly reached an agreement Friday night with Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach Monty Williams to be their next head coach after Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau withdrew from consideration earlier in the day, according to sources close to the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com that Williams' deal will be made official no later than Saturday after Thibodeau, who was offered New Orleans' job last week, informed the Hornets that he plans to pursue opportunities with the Chicago Bulls and New Jersey Nets.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: New Orleans got their man off the NBA coaching carousel. Well, sort of.

Once it became clear Boston Celtics defensive guru Tom Thibodeau had little interest in the Hornets gig, the club went all out for Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach Monty Williams.

Williams is a fine choice. He's young, personable, hardworking and smart.

This, however, may not be enough to resurrect a Hornets squad that fell behind in the competitive Western Conference last year and lacks the financial resources to catch up through upgrading their talent.

Meanwhile, Thibodeau is a lock for a head coaching gig, either with the Chicago Bulls or New Jersey Nets. Of course, he'd also get serious consideration with Boston -if Doc Rivers retires at season's end. 

Got thoughts on the coaching carousel?

Phil Jackson never loses after winning game one. Vol. 47-0
Friday , Jun , 04 , 2010 J.N.

Phil Jackson never loses after winning game one. Vol. 47-0

The Los Angeles Lakers crushed the Boston Celtics in the first game of the NBA Finals, 102-89. Kobe Bryant cleaned up with 30 points on 10-22 shooting (1-2 from three, 9-10 from the line) to go with 7 boards, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, and 4 turnovers. Pau Gasol produced 23 points on 8-14 shooting (7-10 from the line) to go with 14 boards (8 offensive), 3 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, and 3 turnovers. At one point, the Lakers were up by 20. The most alarming stat is Phil Jackson’s 47-0 perfect record when he leads his team to a game one victory. Wow.

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Friday , Jun , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers bang, bully, and beat up Celtics, win game one

So the Celtics want to play rough again? Kobe Bryant and the Lakers look ready this time around, and they barged into an early lead in the NBA finals.

Bryant scored 30 points, Pau Gasol had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and defending champion Los Angeles got tough in a 102-89 victory over Boston in the NBA finals opener Thursday night.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: After getting banged, bullied, and beaten in the 2008 championship series, the Los Angeles Lakers turned the tables on the Boston Celtics in game one of the 2010 NBA Finals.

The Lakers went inside early and often, using the size of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol to grab a half-time lead. Then Kobe Bryant took over with a strong third and fourth quarter to seal an easy win.

However, this game was decided in the middle. The Lakers' bigs showed up. Other than Glen Davis, the Celtics' bigs did not.

For instance, on one sequence in the final frame, Kevin Garnett missed two point blank attempts. The purple-and-gold corralled the rebound, found Gasol on the elbow, who then threw a bullet pass to the lanky Lamar Odom for an easy hoop. 

Boston better get physical on Sunday or they'll head home down 0-2. 

Get at us in the comment box with thoughts on game one of the NBA Finals.     

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Thursday , Jun , 03 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rivalry Renewed: Boston Celtics Vs. Los Angeles Lakers

HoopsVibe's Quick Call: It's here.

After a multiple day wait, game one of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers is finally here. To celebrate HoopsVibe News has a video preview to get you hyped (originally found on dimemag.com). Watch the clip and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.

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Wednesday , Jun , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

New Orleans or Boston? The Tom Thibodeau coaching saga

The New Orleans Hornets, who offered their vacant coaching job to Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau last week, might hire someone else if Thibodeau has not accepted the job before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, according to sources close to the situation.

The Hornets don't want to let their coaching search drag beyond this week and plan to offer the job instead to Portland Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams if Thibodeau, Boston's defensive specialist, doesn't accept by Thursday, according to sources.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: It all depends on why Thibodeau is making them wait. 

It's fair if the defensive guru has held off making a decision because he doesn't want distractions while the Boston Celtics are in the NBA Finals. However, it's unfair if the veteran assistant is keeping the New Orleans Hornets waiting in hopes of landing a better offer from another franchise -or perhaps even the Celtics.

Remember, head coach Doc Rivers could call it quits at season's end, so Thibodeau might prefer sliding down Boston's bench instead of relocating to New Orleans.

Got thoughts on the Hornets' coaching situation? Get at us in the comment box below.   

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Tuesday , Jun , 01 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Why we love a Celtics-Lakers Final: was Paul Pierce faking or hurt in the game one of 2008 Finals?

HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Like you, HoopsVibe News loves having the Celtics and Lakers in the NBA Finals because of the controversy. 

For instance, in 2008, you'll remember these two met, clashed, and fought for championship glory. The mighty green-and-white of Boston prevailed, in part, because of Paul Pierce's heroics in game one.

The All-Star injured his knee, but - in a moment that reminded many of Willis Reed emerging from the Madison Square Garden tunnel to lead the New York Knicks to victory on a sprained ankle - returned to lead the Celtics' comeback.

Was it really heroic?

Of course, there were doubters, especially amongst Laker-nation. They felt Pierce exaggerated the injury. They felt he wanted to set the stage for his dramatic return.

Perhaps.

Others, however, believed Pierce displayed tenacity and guts by playing through the pain. And Boston fans see it as the defining moment of his proud career.

The Truth, pun intended, may be somewhere in the middle.

Was Pierce's return in 2008 acting or heroics? Was he faking or hurt? Watch the clips below and get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.  

(The case for Pierce faking!) 

(The case for Pierce having a legit injury!)