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Sunday , Mar , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Rambis and coaching staff convenient scapegoat for Wolves?

What were the odds of Kevin Love's double- double streak ending at 53 Sunday with a reeking, 100-77, thud -- six points, a dozen rebounds in 33 minutes -- against an escort service like the pedal-to-the-metal Warriors? Can Kurt Rambis and the Timberwolves' ball handling play-callers rationally explain how Love merely managed to get six shots -- making one and 4-of-6 free throws? you would presume Rambis possesses the presence of mind and the coaching aptitude to get Love a few more field goal attempts, if not a couple more baskets.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the debacle that is the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Instead of focusing on improving, instead of focusing on becoming more competitive, the Timberwolves are focusing on Kevin Love’s double-double streak.

With all respect, who cares?

Sure, Love’s double-double streak is nice. It gives the Timberwolves, who are the league’s version of Siberia, some much-needed publicity.

But good teams focus on the one stat that matters: winning. Individual honours are either irrelevant or taken through the context of team success.

For instance, take Ray Allen becoming the NBA’s all-time three-point king. The Boston Celtics celebrated this achievement; however, it didn’t take away from their desire to win the Eastern Conference and home-court advantage.

Love’s double-double record was all the Timberwolves had, which is a problem. They need to focus on righting the ship and changing the club’s culture of losing.

This doesn’t necessarily mean firing Kurt Rambis and his staff of assistant coaches, and hiring another cheap selection of bench bosses to plug-up the problem.

Of course, blaming Rambis seems like the plan. After another horrendous season, the Timberwolves are looking for a scapegoat. And Rambis is perfect.

So why not point the finger at the Lakers’ former utility man for ruining the club’s one positive and everything else?

It doesn’t matter that he has a mediocre roster. It doesn’t matter that he has mostly young, inexperienced players. It doesn’t matter that the front office has failed to sign Spanish golden boy Ricky Rubio. And it doesn’t matter that just two years ago, Rambis was the first choice of the same front office that has now turned on him.

All signs are pointing to Rambis taking the fall. This is a cover for management, who have clearly committed their share of flaws, errors, and blunders.

If the Timberwolves don’t make legitimate changes, the one thing they do have, budding superstar Love, will surely leave as a free agent.

--Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 
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Friday , Nov , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Paul Pierce mocks LeBron James

"It's been a pleasure to bring my talents to south beach now on to Memphis''.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Can you say rivalry?

The Boston Celtics do not like the Miami Heat. Not one bit.

The Celtics, who were a quarter away from winning the NBA Title, are miffed the Heat was picked to win the Eastern Conference, even though The Holy Trinity had yet to play a game together.

After manhandling the Heat for the second time in two weeks, Pierce, the Celtics’ closer and leading scorer, felt obligated to talk a little viral trash. His tweet is spoofing James’ (in)famous line during The Decision. 

Fair enough. Pierce has good reason to be confident.

Kevin Garnett has turned back the clock; Rajon Rondo is the NBA’s top all-around table-setter; Ray Allen’s stroke is still silky; the bench will be productive, especially when Kendrick Perkins and Delonte West get healthy.

Garnett and Rondo, in particular, should please Pierce and worry the Heat

The Big Ticket is one of many physical Boston posts who will give Miami’s smaller frontline trouble. Also, Rondo will have his way with the underwhelming Carlos Arroyo.

A rivalry is brewing between the Celtics and Heat. Right now, it’s one way, though.

--Oly Sandor.


Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
  

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Saturday , Oct , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rajon Rondo’s goal for 2011: prove he’s the NBA’s top PG

Rajon Rondo is eager to prove that he is the NBA's best point guard. “That I’m the best,’’ Rondo said. “Hands down. No speculation. ‘Oh, he may be top three, top five, top 10.’ No, I’m the best.’’

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Rajon Rondo is getting his ‘Gordon Gecko’ on.

The Boston Celtics point guard is wisely following the mantra of Oliver Stone’s fictional Wall Street character, greedily stating he wants to be the premier table-setter in the NBA.

Not top five. Not top three. But number one. Like Gecko preached: ‘Greed is good’.

Rondo must continue to emerge because the Celtics are his team. Ray Allen, at 36, is a spot up shooter; Kevin Garnett has health issues; Paul Pierce is on the downside of his storied run with the mighty green-and-white.

Raising an eighteenth banner and avenging last year’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals rests mostly with Rondo. After years as a supporting piece, he’s now the straw that stirs the drink, the lead dog on a veteran squad

So the Celtics will go only as far as the ‘greedy’ Rondo takes them in 2011.  

--Oly Sandor.


Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below. 

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Monday , Sep , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rondo left Team USA to ‘win another championship’

 "It was great to practice every day against the best young talent in the league, a veteran like Chauncey Billups and play for a Hall of Fame coach [Mike Krzyzewski]," Rondo said. "But some of these guys hadn't played since April. Lamar [Odom] and I had just got out of Game 7. And next season is right around the corner. I feel like I had to take advantage of the opportunity I have right now to win another championship. It's not often you get to play with four Hall of Famers. Another couple of years and I won't have that."

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s hard to criticize Rajon Rondo’s decision to step away from Team USA.

Rondo hadn’t recovered from the Boston Celtics’ crushing seven-game loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. He was drained and needed rest.

The emerging table-setter understands the championship window is closing on the green-and-white. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce – also known as The Big Three - are hitting the end of their careers.

Rondo knows he needs to be at full strength in 2011 and 2012 because opportunities to win championships are rare. Playing in the World Championship would be tiring.

Fortunately, Stars and Stripes had talented floor leaders in Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook. His departure wasn’t an issue and, in fact, eased the log-jam at point guard. 

Rondo’s choice may be a win-win for all involved.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Thursday , Sep , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Mutually Beneficial: Delonte West and Boston Celtics a match

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed free agent guard Delonte West. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

West, a 6’3” guard, has posted career averages of 10.0 points, 3.7 assists and has shot 37.3% from beyond the arc. Originally drafted by the Celtics with the 24th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, West posted a career-high 12.2 points during his last season with the Celtics in 2006-07.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: This is a fit for player and team.

Those that love Delonte West and the Boston Celtics must be doing cartwheels, summersaults, and back flips after learning these two reached agreement on a new contract.

The troubled guard started his career with the Celtics, so this is familiar territory. His coach is the personable and friendly Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers. Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins are old teammates. He’s lived in Boston before, which isn’t far from his home of Maryland.

So West knows the organization. And vice-versa.

Rivers and GM Danny Ainge will support West through his personal issues, and accept that the guard will miss the first ten games of the season due to an NBA imposed suspension for a firearms infraction last summer.

Also, the Celtics are a veteran-laden club with big personalities. There’s The Big Three: Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce. Rondo is now an elite point guard. Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal have presence. Of course, there’s Glen Davis and Nate Robinson, also known as Shrek and Donkey.

This boisterous group can shield him from the media and spotlight. West only has regain the form he showed with the Celtics before getting traded in a package to the Seattle Super Sonics for Ray Allen.

The combo guard will provide scoring, intensity, and toughness off the bench. All it cost Boston was the league minimum for a sixth year player and a little faith.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Thursday , Aug , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Boston Celtics considering Rudy Fernandez?

The Celtics have a roster spot open and are currently looking for a shooter, meaning Rudy Fernandez could be an option.

“We’re just continuing to explore available players and trade possibilities and see what sort of options are there,’’ said Danny Ainge. “There are some trade discussions that we’re having. I don’t know the likelihood of those happening, but we’ll continue to not rush into something unless it’s something that we’re really excited about.’’

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: In theory, it’s a yes. Rudy Fernandez’s energy, youth, and sharp-shooting would greatly benefit a veteran-laden Boston Celtics’ squad.  

In reality, it’s a no. Fernandez has whined, complained, and moaned about being a reserve for the Portland Trail Blazers. The Spaniard wants to start, or he'll break his NBA contract and return to Europe.

With Boston, he’d back-up sure-fire Hall of Famers in Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. And the Celtics’ old school, collectivist approach wouldn’t stand for Fernandez’s diva tendencies.

For instance, if the super-intense Kevin Garnett can literally turn Glen Davis into a Big Baby, think what he’d do to Rudy?

Credit Boston executive Danny Ainge for exploring all possibilities. Fernandez, however, isn’t the right fit.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.  

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Sunday , Aug , 22 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Eddie House on Miami: ‘This is going to be Boston on steroids’

"I compare it to the year I went to Boston when the Big 3 got together in 2007," House said. "But this is going to be even bigger. This is going to be Boston on steroids."

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HoopsVibe's Very QUick Call: Eddie House, sharpshooter for hire, is in a unique position.

Three years ago, around this time, House signed a one-year deal with the Boston Celtics. His role was simple: hit jump-shots and punish opposing defenses for double-teaming superstars Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce.

Of course, the charismatic journeyman also witnessed the hoopla surrounding the green-and-white’s Big Three. Expectations were high; night-in, night-out, opponents got up for the Celtics.

House is right: the Miami Heat will face even greater pressure in 2010-11 than the Celtics of 2007-08. After all, South Beach pulled off the all-time free agent coup, re-signing superstar Dwyane Wade, while adding Chris Bosh and LeBron James.

Wade and James are two of the NBA’s top four players. Bosh is a perennial All-Star and legit’ 20-10 guy down low.

However, it’s not what they did, but how they did it. Resentment lingers at Miami’s Three Kings for how they handled free agency, especially James for turning ‘The Decision’ into a spectacle.

Now the Heat is public enemy number one. They’re controversial rock stars. Their every move will be chronicled. And many are hoping they fail.

So House’s steroid analogy works. This year should be awfully interesting.  

--Oly Sandor.
 
Got a call on this? Get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Monday , Jul , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Report: Tony Allen leaving Boston Celtics for Memphis Grizzlies

According to multiple reports, guard Tony Allen will sign with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Memphis Commercial Appeal first reported the deal. Just days after rumors swirled that Allen would re-sign in Boston, Yahoo.com reported he will ink a three-year, $10 million guaranteed deal.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Keeping their nucleus has reportedly cost the Boston Celtics a key reserve.

While Tony Allen had his ups-and-downs, the wing found his niche as a lockdown defender during the 2010 playoffs. For instance, he used his athleticism and length to slow Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals.

His departure leaves the green-and-white without much depth behind Ray Allen and Paul Pierce at the shooting guard and small forward positions.

Meanwhile, Lionel Hollins and the Memphis Grizzlies will love having a scrappy, athletic defender off the bench. And Allen will serve as a nice back-up for both Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo.

-- Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Thursday , Jul , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Ray Allen re-signs with Boston Celtics for 2 years, $20 million

The Boston Celtics' new Big Three will stay together to try for a second NBA title. Ray Allen confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday night that he has agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract to return to Boston.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Big Three is back in business, and returning to the Boston Celtics to complete the mission of winning a second NBA Title.

Of course, the green-and-white surprised the basketball world by advancing to the NBA Finals, where they lost a heartbreaking game seven to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Today, Allen inked a very fair two year deal for $20 million. Paul Pierce just re-upped for four seasons. Doc Rivers delayed retiring to Orlando. Kevin Garnett is under contract until July, 2012.

With their veterans returning, expect the Celtics to add blending pieces this off-season and take another run at a championship next spring.

-- Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Friday , Jul , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Pierce reduces salary, so Celtics can sign Allen and Lee or Miller?

The Celtics have reached an agreement with captain Paul Pierce to keep him in Boston, according to sources. The new contract is said to be four years and $61M in length, with only three of the seasons fully guaranteed.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The Truth is back. And at a discounted price.

One day into free agency the Boston Celtics have announced they've agreed to terms on a new contract with franchise face Paul Pierce.

Pierce's salary will fall from $21 million to $15 million annually, giving the green-and-white the financial flexibility to re-sign Ray Allen and also add another valuable piece. 

For instance, reports indicate Boston is still talking to Allen, while simultaneously pursuing post David Lee or shooting guard Mike Miller.

In the short-term, Lee could replace the newly retired Rasheed Wallace as a reserve. In the long-term, he could, perhaps, take over for Kevin Garnett at the four-spot.

And Miller can play and guard multiple positions, and also stretch opposing defenses with his outside range.

If the Celtics can retain Allen and bring in other piece, they'll contend in 2011. And they'll have Pierce to thank for it.

-- O.Sandor.

Got thoughts? Get at us in the thoughts in the comment box! 

 

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Monday , Jun , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Mike Miller to replace Ray Allen in Boston?

The Celtics will be equipped on Thursday with their mid-level exception and all of the veteran minimum deals they can throw at people. Expect Mike Miller - the talented wing for the Washington Wizards who once played for Rivers - to be a target.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Could Mike Miller replace Ray Allen?

After years with Minnesota and Washington, Miller is desperate to join a contender like Boston. If healthy, the former Rookie of the Year will spread the floor with his shot, fit in on defense, and act like a professional.

In the words of Bob Barker, 'The Price is Right', too.

Miller, at best, will command mid-level exception money instead of the $10 million he earned last year.

Of course, re-signing Allen, also a free-agent, will be a priority for the Celtics. However, the green-and-white has concerns about offering a long-term deal because he turns 35 in July. Another team could a multi-year pact, though.

If Allen and Boston can't agree on term, Miller could start at shooting guard for the Eastern Conference champions.

Got thoughts?

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Friday , Jun , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Sweet Repeat: Bryant and Lakers win game seven and defend NBA Title

Beating Boston for the first time in a Game 7, the Lakers came up champions again after trailing in the last quarter of the last game of their season.

Kobe Bryant, the finals MVP, scored 23 points despite 6-of-24 shooting and the Lakers won their 16th NBA championship Thursday night, dramatically rallying to beat the  Boston Celtics 83-79 in Game 7 of the NBA finals.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call:  In game-seven of the NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers showed that defense wins championships.

After all, tonight’s game was supposed to be a dream match-up between the Celtics and Lakers, but – at least on the offensive end – it resembled a bit of nightmare.

Both teams couldn’t execute their offensive sets. Both teams couldn’t hit shots. So both teams dug-in, defended, and battled.

Take the victorious Lakers: Kobe Bryant, the Finals MVP, shot a horrendous 6-for-24 from the floor, but grabbed 15 huge rebounds; Pau Gasol pulled in 18 tough rebounds, which offset his missed chippies and free throws; and Ron Artest – who thanked his psychiatrist in a classic Ron-Ron post-game interview – hit clutch shots, however, his greatest contribution was battling Celtic superstar Paul Pierce.

As a group, the purple-and-gold overcame a 13-point second-half deficit and won their second consecutive championship by getting stops. For instance, they held the Celtics to just 79 points on 40% shooting from the floor.

Lamar Odom sparked the turnaround. The forward entered the game in the third quarter with the Lakers trailing 49-37 and looking desperate.

Odom used his considerable length and versatility to score, rebound, and most importantly, provide energy. And his contribution was far greater than his modest stat line of 7 points and 7 rebounds.   

Boston led for most of the game and looked capable of pulling off the upset to win their second championship in three years.

Their offense went cold for long stretches of the second half. For instance, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, the Celtics’ top scorers, were a combined 8-for-29 from the floor.

And the talented bench – which so often provided a lift when the starters struggled – had little impact. Of course, the reserves were short-handed with Rasheed Wallace replacing the injured Kendrick Perkins in the starting-five.

Tonight, Bryant’s Lakers defeated the Celtics for the first time in a game-seven duel, something greats like Jerry West and Magic Johnson failed to accomplish.

Winning back-to-back championships cements this team’s place in history. And their leader and best player, Bryant, keeps solidifying his standing as an all-time great.

And the Lakers, the NBA’s glamour team, achieved this feat with grimy, blue-collar defense.

Got thoughts on the Lakers winning game-seven and consecutive championships?

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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?  

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Wednesday , Jun , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Do-or-Die: Bryant and Lakers ‘man up’ to force game-seven against Celtics

Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol added 17 points and 13 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers emphatically extended the NBA finals to a decisive seventh game with a 89-67 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 on Tuesday night.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Two days ago, Kobe Bryant demanded his teammates 'man up and play'. Well, the Los Angeles Lakers - both individually and collectively - fulfilled his request on Tuesday evening.

The purple-and-gold dominated every aspect of game six, building an early lead through tough defense, infectious hustle, and inspired play. The Celtics never mounted a serious challenge and the Lakers cruised through the second half to an easy win.

The difference between games five and six was obvious: Bryant had help. Loads of it.

For instance, co-star Pau Gasol had a double-double, but - best of all - the Spaniard imposed his will down-low; Ron Artest hit shots; Lamar Odom stopped complaining about the flu and got active; and Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, and Sasha Vujacic provided energy off the bench.

Two specific plays stand out. First, Artest was so confident he over-dribbled and still sank an improbable fall-back shot. Second, Farmar out-hustled Celtic Rajon Rondo for a loose ball by sacrificing his body and diving on the floor.

Bryant aside, no Laker looked confident or sacrificed in game-five.

As a group, L.A. played superb defense. They challenged every shot. They provided helped. They got stops. They won the battle of the boards. And they held the Celtics to 67 points, the second lowest total in NBA Finals history.

Meanwhile, Boston resembled a team with a one game cushion. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo were outplayed by the Lakers' big guns. The bench - which had been so effective earlier in the series - looked awestruck.

Of course, Kendrick Perkins' injury didn't help. The rough and tumble post sprained his knee early in the first quarter and never returned. His status for game-seven is unknown.

With or without Perkins, the green-and-white must re-establish their presence in the paint and show greater urgency on Thursday.

In fact, the Celtics should consider Bryant's advice and 'man up'. Or the Lakers will win what has become a one game, do-or-die NBA Finals and will hoist the Larry O'Brien championship trophy.

Got thoughts on game six? And what's your prediction for Thursday's game-seven?             

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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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Sunday , Jun , 13 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Ray Allen to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami?

So why stop there?

The latest buzz has Ray Allen looking to bolt the Celtics when he becomes free on July 1 to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Ray-Ray in The MIA makes sense.

The 2010 playoff showed The Big Three is no more for the Boston Celtics. Instead of relying specifically on Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, the green-and-white is succeeding with a team-first approach.

Everyone has contributed. In fact, Allen, Garnett, and Pierce have - at one time or another - struggled during the club's second-season run.

Perhaps, Boston GM Danny Ainge lets his veteran sharpshooter leave via free agency and signs/trades for a younger two-guard. Remember, Ainge allegedly shopped Allen at the trade deadline, trying to swap his expiring contract for scorer Kevin Martin. 

Miami would be heaven for Allen. He'd get open looks galore with opposing defenses doubling Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh -if he signs with the Heat.  Wade, Bosh, and Allen would together vault Miami to the top of the Eastern Conference.

One thing is certain: The Big Three is on their last legs in Boston.   

Got thoughts on Ray Allen in Miami?

       

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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?   

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 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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