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Thursday , Jun , 17 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Game-Seven Prediction: Lakers 95, Celtics 88.

The Lakers have the best player, but Boston's depth of big-time playmakers will prevail in a game like this. I count eight Celtics -- the four current or former All-Stars in their starting lineup, plus Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson’s and little-used Michael Finley, a three-point shooter with the potential to become this game's Steve Kerr -- who have it in them to make the big shot. The absence of Kendrick Perkins may create more offense for the Celtics, and they'll make up for his rebounding with a team effort led by Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. Anticipate nothing less than a tightly wound classic played to a tempo that suits Boston.

Click here for Ian Thomsen's official game seven prediction and more analysis from the CNNSI crew.

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call:
The Boston Celtics are deserving of respect.

Consider their road to the NBA Finals. First, they took out Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat -despite some questionable tactics from Kevin Garnett. They made the Cleveland Cavaliers – the NBA’s best team in the regular season – implode, which, unfortunately, gave us an extra month of The LeBron Watch. They then coolly took out the Orlando Magic, the reigning Eastern Conference champions, in six games.

This was a most improbable run for a club that was supposedly dead, gone, and over at mid-season. Clearly, they saved their best for last, though.

The green-and-white have now pushed the defending champion and heavily favoured Lakers to the limit. The secret to Boston’s success: inspired team play on the defensive end.

Look at the NBA Finals: they’ve mostly contained Ron Artest and Lamar Odom; they’ve battled superstar Pau Gasol; and they’ve made the immortal Kobe Bryant look surprisingly mortal.

Doc Rivers’ crew is an all-time great defensive team. They can hang with any of Phil Jackson’s Chicago teams that had notable defenders like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Horace Grant/Dennis Rodman. And they hold their own against Detroit’s Bad Boys and any of Pat Riley’s squads in Los Angeles or New York.

Offensively, somebody different carries the load each night. For instance, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo have all had moments.

Of course, reserves Glen Davis and Nate Robinson – also known as Shrek and Donkey - won game four of the NBA Finals. And the defending Sprite Slam Dunk Champion went off in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals, too.

That said, the Lakers have the edge in the decisive game-seven. Here’s why:

1) Home-court matters: The purple-and-gold is a different team at home. They’re confident. They’re nasty. And they’re arrogant.     

2) No Perk’: The Celtics will miss Kendrick Perkins. They lack the size to win the paint, and contain Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

3) Kobe Bryant: He’s the best player on either team. He’s the best player in the NBA. And he understands tonight is a legacy game.

Bryant – if he wants to be considered an all-time great – can’t afford a loss. After all, five championships are far better than four. And two losses to the arch rival Celtics in the NBA Finals would be devastating.

Expect Bryant to drop a Jordan-like effort. And HoopsVibe News expects the Lakers to win.

Prediction for game-seven of the 2010 NBA Finals: Lakers 95, Boston 88.

Got thoughts? What is your prediction for game-seven of the NBA Finals?  

Kobe’s Lakers won the title. It’s over. Vol. 2010 NBA Finals game 6
Thursday , Jun , 17 , 2010 J.N.

Kobe’s Lakers won the title. It’s over. Vol. 2010 NBA Finals game 6

What happened? The game was over when Kendrick Perkins got injured. The Lakers took their hearts. After Kobe questioned his teammates’ hearts, they proved that they had more than enough for game 6 in Los Angeles. Pau Gasol finished with a near triple double: 17 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 blocks. Derek Fisher didn’t need to do much. Kendrick Perkins is done. Rajon Rondo took a vicious elbow from Ron Artest that required stitches. The Lakers got this and Kobe got his 5th ring.

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Wednesday , Jun , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shannon Brown ‘Getting On Up’ in Game-SIx of the NBA Finals

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Lamar Odom is grabbing rebounds and bouncing a little when dribbling up-court. Ron Artest doesn't resemble a lost tourist in the triangle. Pau Gasol asserts his will in the paint. Instead of pacing the sideline and dropping quotes about collecting oneself, Phil Jackson is laying back in his throne -also known as The Ergonomically Correct Chair. Kobe Braynt is 'facilitating' rather than scoring. Sasha Vujacic, the self proclaimed machine, is knocking down three-pointers, alienating opponents, and styling his straight-outta-Slovenia do. And those celebs' rocking courtside seats at Staples Center are flashing their Hollywood smiles for ABC.

If you haven't guessed it, these are signs the Los Angeles Lakers are winning. However, there is a notable omission: Shannon Brown's highlight reel jams.

The purple-and-gold always seems to win when the 2010 Sprite Slam Dunk Gets On Up like Jodeci and rocks the rim for two points.

(Yes, HoopsVibe News is referencing the classically cheesy R&B group from the 1990s. And sadly, HoopsVibe News is old enough to legitimately do so.) 

Consider game-six of the NBA Finals. First Brown rammed home a one-handed breakaway jam and then he rubbed his man off an Odom back-pick, grabbed an alley-oop toss and converted an amazing jam.

Both dunks inspired teammates and fans. Not surprisingly, the Lakers won game-six of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.

And they're hoping -at least in California - that Brown repeats his aerial antics in game-seven, even if it's got that Jodeci thing going on.   

Got thoughts? Did Brown Get On Up like Jodeci.

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Wednesday , Jun , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Kendrick Perkins the difference between Boston Winning and Losing NBA Title?

"The Boston Celtics might go to Game 7 without center Kendrick Perkins.

He landed awkwardly trying to haul in an offensive rebound midway through the first quarter of Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night and suffered a right knee sprain.

Perkins was hopeful, saying: "I'm going to try to give it a go [on Thursday]." But a team source told ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan: "He's done."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Don't let his modest numbers deceive you. Kendrick Perkins could be the difference between the Boston Celtics winning and losing the championship.

The NBA Finals will be decided in the paint; the team that dominates down-low will host a victory celebration, while the team that gets dominated will spend their life wondering what could've been.

Perkins - despite his limited offensive skill and affinity for arguing fouls - is a throwback. He bangs. He competes. And he intimidates.

For instance, Perkins shut Pau Gasol down in game-five, which, not coincidentally, the Celtics won. In fact, Boston's five-man was so effective experts were again calling the Spaniard soft.

Gasol, however, was far more confident when Perkins left game-six with an injury. He ate the smaller Glen Davis up. Veterans Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace weren't much better, either.

And the Los Angeles Lakers, as a team, successfully attacked the basket, in large part, because Perkins wasn't there to deter them. Guards Kobe Bryant, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown were able to get to the hoop whenever they liked.

Right now, Perkins' status is unknown for game-seven. What isn't unknown is how important he is to Boston.      

Got thoughts on this?   

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Wednesday , Jun , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Izzo staying at MSU, Cleveland interested in Scott and Woodson?

Tom Izzo is staying at Michigan State, turning down a chance to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers and and perhaps LeBron James.

"I'm pleased to say I am here for life at Michigan State," Izzo said in a statement released by the school on Tuesday night.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Tom Izzo made the right decision -not just for himself, but also for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The NBA is an adjustment. The game is different; the players are millionaire businessmen not teenagers. And many great college coaches have failed in the pros: John Calipari, Mike Montgomery, Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian.

Then there was the tiny issue of LeBron James' pending free agency. Izzo would be in quite the quagmire if he accepted the Cavaliers job and James signed elsewhere. 

In the end, the risk was too great. So Izzo decided to stay with Michigan State and become an all-time great in the college ranks.

Meanwhile, Cleveland will continue searching for a sideline boss. Byron Scott is the frontrunner; however, the former Hornets coach wants to replace Phil Jackson in LA -if the Zen-Master leaves.

Mike Woodson, who was recently fired by the Atlanta Hawks, is also under consideration. And this is where the musical chairs could occur. Suppose Cleveland hires Woodson and James leaves. The Cavaliers could replace James with Joe Johnson, another superstar free agent who Woodson coached in Atlanta.

The next few months will be interesting in Ohio and throughout the NBA.

Got thoughts on this?

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Tuesday , Jun , 15 , 2010 Andrew Flint

Lakers need Lamar Odom to ‘man up’

"I haven't been sick all season … now I'm sick in the Finals," said Odom after the Lakers' 92-86 loss to the Celtics here in Game 5. "Had to put my hard hat on just to get out of bed. It was tough. "We get to go home and I'll be in my own bed in my own house," he said. "And get to see my wife." Link HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Perhaps, Lamar Odom missed the press conference where Kobe Bryant told his Laker teammates to 'man up and play'. Complaining about the flu, wanting your own bed, and needing to see your wife doesn't exactly qualify as manning up. In fact, it's copping out. This, however, is typical Odom. At his best, he's a wonderful talent, capable of playing all five positions and stuffing every category in the box sheet. At his worst, he's a passenger, disappearing in the clutch and sometimes for entire games. So Odom is a enigma, which is unfortunate for the Lakers because he's their barometer. When he plays well, they rarely lose. When he struggles, they become vulnerable. And what Odom shows for game-six and seven will determine if the Lakers can come back against the Celtics. Got thoughts on this? 
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Tuesday , Jun , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Hornets trading Collison to the Pacers for Jones, Rush, and/or Hansbrough?

"Speaking of Collison, the Pacers have reached out to New Orleans about the former UCLA point guard."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Indiana and New Orleans are two of the NBA’s smallest markets. Both have limited budgets. Yet, both are desperate to upgrade their roster.

And this is Corporal/Commissioner David Stern’s post recession problem: his league has become increasingly fractured and polarized into have and have-not franchises.

The have franchises – think Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and New York – will spend their summer trying to land big-ticket free agents.

No expense will be spared. Mayors, politicians, celebrities, rap icons and even a president have tried wooing the game’s elite player to their club of choice 

The have-not franchises – think Indiana, Minnesota, New Orleans, Milwaukee, and Memphis – will spend their summer scheming up creative and cost-effective ways to compete.

With this in mind, a Darren Collison deal would make some sense for the Pacers and Hornets.

Larry Bird’s club has to get better at point guard. TJ Ford – and his $8 million dollar salary – isn’t the answer. And Jamaal Tinsley’s $5 million pact is still on the books, even though he was released years ago.

Collison, a lightning quick table-setter, filled in admirably for injured superstar Chris Paul. Best of all, the UCLA alum has three years remaining on his rookie pact.

Meanwhile, reports that the Hornets and Paul were considering parting ways are false. Team and player are apparently committed to each other and sticking together.

However, New Orleans was always a poorer NBA market. Then Hurricane Katrina hit. Then The Great Recession came. And now there’s the Gulf Coast oil spill.

All contributed to the city’s struggling economy, which means there’s less disposable income for citizens to spend on disposable goods –like NBA tickets and luxury boxes.            
 
So the Hornets can't generate the revenue to sign high or even medium priced free agents. Their best and only option this summer is trading the young and inexpensive Collison for other young, and inexpensive players.

Enter Indiana.

They've got lockdown defender Dahntay Jones, athletic swing Brandon Rush, and blue-collar bruiser Tyler Hansbrough.

All are young. All are cheap. And all could play a role in The Bayou. Perhaps, Bird, Indiana's head suit, lets New Orleans pick two of these three players.

That said, nothing is imminent between the Pacers and Hornets. Expect them to keep talking. As mentioned, in today’s NBA, their options are limited.      
           
Get at us with thoughts on this deal?

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Tuesday , Jun , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant to the Lakers: ‘man up and play’

We’ve regressed since Game 1,” Bryant confessed to Yahoo! Sports. “Our defense belongs on milk cartons in the last two games.”

“Just man up and play,” Bryant sniffed. “What’s the big deal? If I have to say something to them, then we don’t deserve to be champions.”

“Listen, if you told me at the beginning of the year that we’ve got two games at home to win a championship, yeah, I’ll take that [bleep].”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Kobe Bryant’s outburst a ploy to motivate teammates or is he legitimately feeling the pressure of the NBA Finals?

On the one hand, Bryant is the game’s greatest competitor. Losing isn’t acceptable. And he’s never had issue challenging his fellow Los Angeles Lakers.

On the other hand, the superstar knows the stakes are high. If his heavily favoured Lakers lose the NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics, his standing as an all-time great player and with the purple-and-gold will forever be altered.

Whatever his motivation, whatever his reason, Bryant is clearly desperate. He needs someone, anyone to step up in game-six and seven.

Got thoughts on Kobe Bean’s comments?

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Monday , Jun , 14 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

The Big Four Deliver: Allen, Garnett, Pierce, and Rondo lead Boston to game-five win

It's looking a lot like 2008 again, with Paul Pierce carrying the Boston Celtics to victory in the NBA finals and leading them to the brink of yet another title.

Pierce scored 27 points -- his best performance of this year's finals -- and the Celtics withstood 38 points from Kobe Bryant to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 92-86 on Sunday night and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: On Friday, Kobe Bryant told reporters he was miserable because of his poor play. Tonight, he'll be miserable for a different reason.

The Los Angeles Lakers' superstar raised his play, even scoring an astounding 19 points in the third quarter; however, his co-stars all had poor nights, which was the reason for the game-five loss.

For instance, Ron Artest struggled on both ends of the floor; Pau Gasol's 12 points and 12 rebounds won't cut it in the NBA Finals; Andrew Bynum - wonky knee or not - should've been better than 6 points and 1 rebound; and Lamar Odom was a non-factor.

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics won with balance. The Big Four delivered: Paul Pierce found his touch and had a team-high 27 points; Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo combined for 36 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists; and Ray Allen had an efficient 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting.

While the bench didn't repeat their game four heroics, they still contributed. Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, and Rasheed Wallace hit some shots, played tough defense, and, best of all, brought energy.

And this was the difference in game five. As a group, the Celtics seemed determined. Other than Bryant, the Lakers seemed flustered.

In the second half, Tony Allen gave the Celtics a surge with his tremendous weak side block on Pau Gasol. Then, in the closing moments, the 6-3 Rondo leaped the 6-10 Odom for an improbable tip-in basket to seal the win.

With the exception of Bryant, no Laker had a momentum changing moment or timely play. The purple-and-gold had too many passengers on this night.

Despite trailing in the series, the Lakers still have home-court advantage with game-six and seven at Staples Center.

The Lakers must improve, though. Or the Celtics will win the NBA championship and Bryant will be more than miserable.

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

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Saturday , Jun , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Good, Not Great: Kobe Bryant’s play in the NBA Finals

Bryant has averaged 28.3 points on 40.9 percent shooting in the four games. His points haven’t come easily, and in Thursday’s Game 4 loss he also committed seven turnovers, matching his most of the postseason. "That's just me playing like crap," Bryant said. 

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Good, but not great.

This is the best way to describe Kobe Bryant's play in the NBA Finals. He turned in solid performances through the first three games; however, he struggled down the stretch in Thursday's game four loss.

Bryant - who is his own harshest critic - will be the first to admit that good doesn't cut it in June.

To be fair, the Boston Celtics are an excellent defensive club. As a group, they're all about getting stops. And Tony Allen is making his bones as a lockdown defender in the NBA Finals against Bryant, successfully forcing the future Hall of Famer left and making him work especially hard for each and every point.

With the NBA Finals now a best-of-three affair, Bryant will step up. He understands his legacy at stake. Two losses in the NBA Finals to the Celtics would impact his standing both as an all-time great Laker and player.

Expect Bryant to be great, not good, for game 5, 6, and, if necessary, 7.

Got thought on Kobe's play so far?   

 

   

2010 NBA Finals Game 4 – Pierce punches ref’s face and Big Baby is good.
Saturday , Jun , 12 , 2010 J.N.

2010 NBA Finals Game 4 – Pierce punches ref’s face and Big Baby is good.

Come on Los Angeles. You’re better than this. Shout outs to Shrek and Donkey AKA Big Baby Glen Davis and Nate Robinson.  They stepped up when it mattered. Davis added 18 points and Nasty Nate provided 12 points. Lamar Odom disappeared as usual with 10 points in nearly 40 minutes of game time. Andrew Bynum could not get his game going, which resulted in Phil Jackson yanking him out early. The nagging injury is really affecting him.

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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

Is Doc Rivers right? Is Derek Fisher a flopper?

Count Celtics coach Doc Rivers as one person who won't be marching in the Derek Fisher appreciation parade that commenced Tuesday after the 14-year veteran scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Lakers to a 91-84 Game 3 victory in the Finals.

When asked how Fisher was able to be so successful drawing fouls while being screened, Rivers replied: "What? Besides flopping? 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 and he finally showed that last one."
 
 
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Doc Rivers is right.
 
Derek Fisher - while not an all-time great flopper like, say, Manu Ginobili or Vlade Divac - is known to embellish. However, Rivers doesn't care that Fisher could serve as an honorary member of the Italian national soccer; deep down, he respects the veteran combo guard.
 
The Celtics sideline boss is using the media to lobby the refs for calls in game four. It's the game within the game. Every coach does it.
 
And Fisher's fine play in game three and reputation for embellishing contact caught Rivers' eye. Nothing more.

Is Rivers right? Is D-Fish is a flopper? 
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.