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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!)

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Monday , May , 31 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Why we love a Celtics-Lakers Final: Magic Johnson’s Skyhook on Kevin McHale

HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Why do we love having the Lakers and Celtics in the NBA Finals?

Well, these two arch rivals have produced many epic moments. For instance, take game 4 of the 1987 NBA Finals. The great Magic Johnson won the match for the purple-and-gold with a last skyhook over Kevin McHale. 

In the post game press conference, Hall of Famer Larry Bird conceded 'Magic was the greatest player he'd ever seen'.

Watch Magic's skyhook and let us know your favourite moment between the Lakers and Celtics? 

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Sunday , May , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe and Lakers oust Suns, face Celtics in NBA Finals

Get ready, Boston, for a rematch with Kobe Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant wrapped up a magnificent series with 37 points, Ron Artest added 25 and the Lakers held off the Phoenix Suns 111-103 on Saturday night to win the Western Conference finals.

The Lakers and Celtics, the NBA's premier teams for much of the league's history, will meet in the finals for the 12th time with Game 1 Thursday night in Los Angeles.

"We'll see how much we matured," Bryant said. "They challenged us extremely well in the finals a couple years ago. Now is a chance to see how much we've grown."

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: The Phoenix Suns' zone, fast tempo, and affinity for the three-point shot wasn't enough because the Los Angeles Lakers were simply better and deserved to advance to the NBA Finals.

For instance, the Suns' fourth quarter charge was put out by Kobe Bryant, who nailed two clutch jumpers, even though Grant Hill was playing air tight defense. After sinking the second jumper, Bryant even gave Suns coach Alvin Gentry a friendly tap and stretched his arms in celebration.   

The Lakers will now face the Boston Celtics in a classic finals match-up.

These two teams met in the 2008 NBA Finals, with the Celtics prevailing in six games because of their superior toughness down-low.

The 2010 championship will also be decided in the paint. Expect Boston to try and impose their will with bigs like Glen Davis, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, and Rasheed Wallace, while L.A. will be anxious to show they can mix it up in the middle.

Got thoughts on a Boston-Los Angeles NBA Finals? Come back to HoopsVibe for more Finals coverage.   

The Boston Celtics are still the Beast of the East. Vol. Laker Nation
Saturday , May , 29 , 2010 J.N.

The Boston Celtics are still the Beast of the East. Vol. Laker Nation

The Orlando Magic has been eliminated at the hands of the Big Green Monster, The Boston Celtics. The one thing that is shown during this series is Superman is really Clark Kent. The Green Machine is definitely his Kryptonite. Many experts didn’t count out the Celtics against the Heat in the first round, but the majority counted them out against LeBron and The Cavs. I did not. I was in the minority. They trashed Cleveland and gave some false hope for Orlando before eviscerating them. Give them their due; there is room for old middle aged men.      

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Saturday , May , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Defense, Defense, Defense: Why Boston Celtics won the east

The NBA's most-decorated team avoided the biggest playoff collapse in league history and earned a chance to hang an unprecedented 18th championship banner from the rafters.

Paul Pierce had 31 points and 13 rebounds, and little-used backup Nate Robinson gave the Celtics a boost with 13 second-quarter points as Boston beat the Orlando Magic 96-84 on Friday night, earning a chance to play for a second NBA title in three years.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Defense wins championships. Or in the case of the Boston Celtics, defense wins the Eastern Conference crown.

Flashback to mid season and the green-and-white were presumed dead. The Big Three was deemed too old and critics thought Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins weren't capable of filling the void.

Well, they proved us wrong. All of us.

The Celtics defied the odds because they get stops, even on the road, which gives them a chance in every game and series. Offensively, they spread the wealth with many different players capable of carrying the load or providing a spark.

For instance, in the second quarter of tonight's contest, tiny Nate Robinson chipped in with 13 points to give Boston a commanding lead, despite barely seeing the court in the playoffs.

And if the Celtics continue defending they could well win their eighteenth championship.

Has Boston surprised you? Why? Why not? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.      

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Friday , May , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is game six do-or-die for Boston Celtics?

Now the Celtics. They led, 3-0. They let it get away, losing Game 4 in overtime. In Game 5 Wednesday in Orlando, they were spanked. When the game was finished, they had two guys with concussions, one who was ejected, and a few others hurting.

We wonder if this might be the sports god taking revenge for what the Red Sox did to the Yankees in 2004 — the 3-0 comeback to end all 3-0 comebacks. Is this Garden gag of 2010 some kind of macabre payback for the Biblical revival of the Idiotic gang, who shucked 86 years of hard-luck hardball?

Don’t go to that dark place, people. Not yet. The Celtics are going to win tonight. They have a healthy Big Three. They have Rajon Rondo ready to answer Jameer Nelson. They have Kendrick Perkins, granted a stay by the NBA’s behavior police.

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HoopsVibe's Call: There's no reason to panic, but there's cause for concern in Boston.

After all, the Bruins, the city's beloved NHL team, held a 3-0 lead over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Bruins are now golfing, while the Flyers advanced to the Stanley Cups Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Of course, the Celtics were up 3-0 and seemed on cruise control to the NBA Finals. Then the Magic appeared, winning the last two games.

Tonight, however, is do-or-die for Boston. Winning a game-seven clincher in Orlando, after dropping a 3-0 lead, might be too much, even for a veteran Celtic squad that plays air-tight defense.

Is game six a must-win for Boston? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts. 

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Thursday , May , 27 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Worst ejection of all time: Rush on Perkins or Crawford on Duncan?

The NBA on Thursday rescinded one of the two technical fouls assessed to Celtics center Kendrick Perkins in Boston's loss to Orlando in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night, meaning Perkins will be available to play in Friday's Game 6.

The NBA took back the second of the two technicals, which occurred with 36.1 seconds remaining in the first half and resulted in Perkins' automatic ejection. Referee Eddie F. Rush tagged Perkins with the technical for arguing a foul call.

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HoopsVibe's Call:  Eddie F. Rush was too quick to slap Perkins with both technicals, even though the Boston Celtics' post is notorious for protesting calls.

Both of Perkins' technicals were overblown, and all three refs needed to show a little more patience, especially since game five of the Eastern Conference Finals is bound to be emotional. 

Coincidentally, Rush was working the game with fellow ref Joe Crawford, who also hit Rajon Rondo with a somewhat questionable technical.

Crawford, like Rush, has an itchy trigger finger on the technicals. A few years back, he slapped superstar Tim Duncan with two technicals over what was believed to be a personal conflict.

So, worst ejection of all time: Rush on Perkins or Crawford on Duncan? Watch both video clips and get at us in the comment box below with your call? 

(Rush ejecting Perkins.) 

(Crawford tossing Duncan.)      

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Tuesday , May , 25 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Orlando needs Matt Barnes … and now

Magic forward Matt Barnes is upset over his reduced minutes in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics.

However, Barnes still wants to remain with the team.

He can opt out of the two-year contract he signed last summer, but said Monday night: "I want to come back."

Barnes played just 16 minutes in Game 3 on Friday night, but tallied 30 in Monday night's overtime win in Game 4.

"I want to be out there to help my team. The money thing is whatever," he said. "More than anything, I just hate to watch from the bench, especially when we're not playing hard and that's what I bring to the court. "I've just been cheering. I hate it, hate it. It's tough to watch."

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And if the Orlando Magic, down 3-1 to the Boston Celtics, wants to make a series of the Eastern Conference Finals, they need to continue playing Matt Barnes.
 
After all, the energetic swing can defend, rebound, and nail three-pointers. Barnes had a workmanlike 10 points and 7 rebounds in game four.
 
Most importantly, when playing well, he gets under the skin of opponents. For instance, Barnes didn't back away from a confrontation with ultra intense Celtics post Kevin Garnett. And during the regular season he declared viral jihad via twitter against the Los Angeles Lakers' Lamar Odom.
 
Bottom line: Barnes' edge is good for the Orlando Magic, a team of mostly nice guys. Instead of worrying about next year's contract, they need him now.
 
How important is Barnes to the Magic's success? Get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.  
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Monday , May , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Should the NBA protect Vince Carter and players’ families?

SG Vince Carter said he was prepared to go into the stands to protect his mother Michelle when it looked as if fans were becoming rude and unruly. "I was ready to go. I don't tolerate that," he said.

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HoopsVibe's Call: Apparently, Vince Carter told a reporter he'd go into the stands to protect his mother from the Boston Celtics' 'passionate' fans.

Fair enough. Most of us would do the same.

Frankly, the suits at league head office must be embarrassed by Carter's comments. After all, players' family members often take heat from fans, especially if they're related to the road team.

Remember, perennial good guy Antonio Davis once leapt into the stands to protect his wife. A few years back, D.J. Mbenga, while with the Dallas Mavericks, went into the lower bowl to protect coach Avery Johnson's wife, who was being heckled by opposing fans.

With this in mind, it's easy to understand Carter's comments.

Good organizations anticipate potential problems and take pre-emptive action, so the NBA, at a minimum, should provide the road team's family with a safe, secure place to take in the game.

Continuing to ignore this problem will eventually lead to the worst case scenario: another ugly, 'Malice N' Tha Palace' type confrontation between players and fans.

Is it the NBA's responsibility to provide a safe place for family members to sit during games? Why? Why not?

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Monday , May , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Cleveland Cavaliers had tuned Mike Brown out

Mike Brown won everything in five years coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers. Everything, that is, except an NBA title.

Brown, the most successful coach in franchise history, was fired after failing to win a championship with superstar -- and soon-to-be free agent -- LeBron James.

The Cavaliers had a midnight deadline Sunday night to fire the head coach or pay him his full $4.5 million salary for next season.

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HoopsVibe's Call: Believe it or not, this wasn't about LeBron James' pending free agency.

The Cleveland Cavaliers - whether James re-signs or heads elsewhere this summer - had tuned Brown out. 

For consecutive seasons, the team fell short of expectations in the playoffs. Two years ago, against Orlando, their offensive sets were too basic; they also lacked the personnel to stop the Magic's stretch four-man Rashard Lewis.

This year they had supposedly made adjustments, but still folded against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.  

Perhaps, Brown ran too loose a ship, allowing the sideline to resemble something of a dance show during games. Perhaps, Brown delegated too much to James. Perhaps, Brown had too many weapons at his disposal. And perhaps, the end of season gossip, whether true or not, took its toll.

One thing, however, was clear: the players needed a new, different voice. So Brown had to go. And this had nothing to do with James' uncertain status.

Had the Cavaliers tuned Brown out? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.  

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Sunday , May , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Best alley-oop: Tony Allen’s get on up or Grant Hill’s buckle up?

HoopsVibe's Call: Rajon Rondo's emergence aside, it's been the most exciting part of the Eastern Conference Finals: Tony Allen's get-on-up alley-oop.

While this is the best toss-and-grab of the post-season, a player, Grant Hill, in the Western Conference Finals has a few alley-oops under his belt worth noting.

Once upon a time, Hill, a veteran swing with the Phoenix Suns, was a high-flying All-Star. Several ankle surgeries robbed this triple-double machine of his peak years with the Orlano Magic.

So HoopsVibe News thought we'd put the new against the old and ask you who has the best alley-oop Tony Allen's 'get on up' or Grant Hill's infamous 'buckle up'? Watch both clips and get at with your comments on the best alley-oop in the comment box below. 

(Tony Allen getting on up like James Brown against the Orlando Magic.) 

(Grant Hill, as a member of the Detroit Pistons, forcing fans to 'buckle up'.)

 Remember: tell us if Allen or Hill had the best alley-oop in the comment box. 

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Sunday , May , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Magic Johnson: Rajon Rondo is NBA’s best all-around PG

"Rajon Rondo is the best all around point guard in the NBA. Deron Williams is the best point guard, but Rondo is the best all around." 

(Magic Johnson, ESPN Halftime show, May 22nd, 2010)

HoopsVibe's Call: Forget point guards. Rondo has been the best player in the playoffs.

When looking at their total body of work, HoopsVibe News isn't quite ready to put him above Chris Paul, Deron Williams, or even Steve Nash. After all, Rondo, who's style resembles Jason Kidd when with the New Jersey Nets, has just started playing like an elite table-setter this playoffs.

Here's the real question: if you were starting a team, who would you want Rondo, Paul, Williams, or Nash?

Nash would get excluded because of age, wear-and-tear, and defensive shortcomings. Even with his fine playoff, most would still take Williams or Paul over Rondo.

However, that could change - and soon - if Rondo leads the Boston Celtics to an NBA Title and wins Most Valuable Player for the playoffs.

Who would you rather have Rondo, Paul, Williams, or Nash?   

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Thursday , May , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Hey Joe DeRosa: nice chest pass!

"NBA referee Joe DeRosa has been suspended without pay for one game for throwing a ball to a fan at halftime of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 18. The suspension was announced today by Ron Johnson, NBA Senior Vice President, Referee Operations.

DeRosa will miss the next game he would have been scheduled to work. The fan was not ejected from the arena as was reported previously."

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HoopsVibe's Call: His form on the two-handed chest pass was excellent. However, the optics of ref Joe DeRosa dropping a 'dime'/tossing the rock at a fan were far from excellent.

Referees, especially during game two of the Eastern Conference Finals, can't lose their cool with players, coaches, and, of course, fans. But an official suspension?

Wouldn't it have been far more prudent for Commissioner David Stern and whatever lackey is currently in charge of the zebras at league head office to replace DeRosa for the rest of the playoffs?

After all, the playoffs are also crunch time for refs. And the best refs supposedly get handpicked for the Conference Finals and Finals.

Removing DeRosa from the playoffs for poor judgement would've been a symbolic and effective punishment. A one game suspension can be appealed by the referees' union and has media publications, like us, focusing on this sort of tomfoolery and not basketball.

Watch the clip below and tell us if DeRosa's two-handed chest pass warranted an actual suspension? 

 

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Thursday , May , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dwight Howard’s foul on Paul Pierce: flagrant or suspension?

"The NBA will not suspend Orlando's Dwight Howard for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Magic and Boston Celtics for his flagrant foul in Game 2.

In the second quarter of Game 2, the All-Star center was called for a Flagrant 1 foul after swinging his arm so that his elbow swept through the head of the Celtics' Paul Pierce, who tumbled to the floor clutching his head in pain. Both players remained in the game."

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HoopsVibe's Call: Just a flagrant foul or a flagrant foul worthy of a one game suspension, especially after the suits at league head office hit Kevin Garnett with a forced vacation for his elbow to the dome of 'Q' Richardson?

Well, the NBA believes Dwight Howard shouldn't be suspended for introducing Paul Pierce's face to his forearm.

As usual, HoopsVibe News wants to know if Stern and his posse of executives made the right call. Watch the clip and get at us with your opinion: just a flagrant or a flagrant that warrants Howard missing game three in Boston?

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Wednesday , May , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Boston Celtics, because of defense, could win 18th NBA Title

Paul Pierce scored 28 points, Rajon Rondo had 25 and the Boston Celtics again avoided a late collapse to take a commanding lead in the Eastern Conference finals with a 95-92 victory over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night.

Boston bullied and bruised its way to a 2-0 series lead on the road against a Magic team that had won 14 straight until this series. The Celtics held the Magic to 39 percent shooting.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: The Boston Celtics - the team most 'experts' pronounced dead at mid season - are two wins from advancing to the NBA Finals because of defense.

The green-and-white's ability to get-stops at home and, most importantly, on the road gives them a chance in every game. And great teams, world champions, have to be able to grind out wins in the other team's barn.

The Celtics, with a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals, have done exactly that against the Magic. And there's no reason they couldn't do the same against either the Los Angeles Lakers or Phoenix Suns.

Boston, with a still relevant Big Three and rapidly developing Rajon Rondo, could very well raise their eighteenth championship banner this June. Not bad for a supposedly dead team.

Could the Boston Celtics really win it all this year? Get at HoopsVibe News with thoughts in Comment box below.