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Defense Is The Key For C's

BOSTON - You never want to place too much stock into the first game of the playoff series, or waste your time trying to caught up in momentum or emotion, because it can all change the next game.

So, the riveting theatre provided by Paul Pierce's dramatic exit (which included being carried off by teammates and rolled to the locker room in a wheelchair) and even more dramatic return (which included a Willis Reed-like walk through the tunnel), is really good for one, truly entertaining night.


Y'all thought I was done, huh? C'mon. I'm from L.A. I got a little Hollywood in me. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

But if the Celtics want to win this series, they will need Pierce to play, but they will also have to defend like they did in the second half on Thursday night.

I rounded up a really interesting statistic while covering the Lakers' series against the San Antonio Spurs. After the Spurs won their only game, defeating the Lakers 103-84, I found out that since Kobe Bryant joined the team in 1996, the Lakers are 9-21 in the postseason when they fail to score 90 points. Now it's 9-22.

It will be hard to keep the Lakers and their extra efficient offense down every night, but the Celtics turned a five-point halftime deficit into a 10-point because they held the Lakers to just 37 points on 13 of 39 shooting (33.3 percent) in the second half.

"In the second half, we did our jobs," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said. "We got back on defense for the most part, we contested shots. I mean, that's how we have to play."

Garnett was asked if his team felt insulted by pundits who thought that the Celtics, who experienced problems against Atlanta, Cleveland and Detroit, would have to make significant adjustments to slow down the Lakers' offensive machine.

"Insulted, no, not at all," Garnett said. "I think people look at some of the games when didn't play well, just as examples, as facts that, 'Hey, this is what you do on this team,' not really understanding that teams do get in a rhythm and in the playoffs, they get paid, also. We are a good team. You can't get caught up in that, have the team do what you've been doing all year."


You see my upper lip? I'm not happy right now. (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant wasn't going to give the Celtics defense much credit, although Ray Allen, James Posey and Pierce provided a mix of speed and physical play to make the night difficult for him. Bryant needed 26 shots to get 24 points and he shot 34.6 percent. Boston limited Bryant to just 32.6 percent in two regular season meetings.

The Celtics had similar success against LeBron James, holding him to just 35.5 percent in the second round. Of course, Bryant is a much, much better perimeter shooter than James. He missed several mid-range jumpers - which to Bryant, I guess, are "bunnies," since he said afterward that he missed "some bunnies." Most of us consider layups, "bunnies."

"I missed some really, really good looks. I'll thinking about those a little bit tonight," Bryant said, fuming.


Box out!(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said the thought the difference in the game was the Celtics 46-33 edge in rebounds. The Celtics also had 10 offensive rebounds, including Garnett's incredible, emphatic rebound dunk that gave his team a 94-86 lead with 92 seconds left.

Pau Gasol didn't even attempt to jump. He looked to be in awe while Garnett leaped over him. Gasol had a great line after the game, "Well, it's something that we're going to try to avoid in the future."

No kidding.

Side note: As far as covering the first NBA Finals game in Boston in 21 years, it really was something special. How special you ask? You will not believe what the pre-game meal was - lobster and prime rib. They fed about 500 people and handed out individual lobsters to everyone who wanted one. I kid you not.

I wasn't planning on eating dinner, but how can you turn down a whole lobster? For free! I had never cracked a lobster shell before, but I worked it out okay.

As for the game, I was expecting a little more noise from the fans at the outset, but they surely got lively as the game progressed. I don't think I'll ever forget the crowd response when Pierce came back in the third quarter.

But if Pierce's strained meniscus in his right knee forces him to miss significant time, best believe Bryant is going in to destory the Celtics, rip out their hearts and hold them in his hands until they stop beating. All with a nice smile. The Celtics will have a few days to get Pierce ready, which is good for them.

By Michael Lee  |  June 6, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
 
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Next: Workouts continue

Comments

Its going to be tough for the Lakers. Kobe's mates are going to have to step up very quickly to make sure they dont lose any of their home games...and then probably try to steal game 7. I think that will their best shot.

Posted by: oddjob | June 6, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Paul Pierce was actin like he got cut with my colon shank!

Posted by: Prison Balls | June 6, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

You guys are the wizards beat reporters. How about you do your job and write about the workouts yesterday. did you even attend?

If i wanted analysis of the game yesterday i could have gone to espn...

Posted by: What are Ivan and michael doing? | June 6, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Uhhhh yeah, I check washingtonpost wizards insiders for news on the WIZARDS. The draft and all the work outs that surround it are very important to the future of our franchise. Why don't you both stop thinking that we care about your analysis of the finals and do the job thats both asked and desired of you.

Posted by: PilbertArenas | June 6, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Pilbert. If you want to post about the finals, do it in another section, similar to what the Post does with the NFL and Redskins. Most of the players being worked out are not known players to the average fan so maybe give some background on some or all of them instead of blogging about the Lakers and Celts- if i wanted to read that I'd read the LA and Boston Newspapers.

Posted by: Kate The VIking | June 6, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Writing about the NBA is Michael Lee's job. Obviously you haven't been reading this blog long enough to know that.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Of course it's his job, moron, but this is the "wizards insider" section. I have been reading his post for as long as you have, so get off your high horse. Seeing as the Wizards are conducting work outs for their draft, one would logically assume that the Wizards beat writers would be covering that. Let's remember, this is not 'Nam, there are rules.

Posted by: PilbertArenas | June 6, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards are allowing Media reporters to view the last few minutes of a full 2-3 hour workout and I think conduct a few standing interviews. Obviously we don't expect a deep analysis out of that. Even the Wizards blog has little to say about each individual player, and the front office and coaching staff are not talking. There are three videos of the first day workouts, which without comment mean nothing.

Other teams like the Jazz have a more extensive coverage of their workouts than the Wizards do. They have shown some video interviews, and are pretty impressed with Roy Hibbert and will probably take him if he falls to their pick.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I'm so glad michael gave all that information since he was in boston and all...

Posted by: What are Ivan and michael doing? | June 6, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Ivan Carter is the Wizards beat reporter moron! Both of them "own" this blog, unless you're the managing editor of online WaPo moron!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Well I see both there smiling, handsome faces next to "Wizards Insider" so I'm going to say that both are Wizards "beat writers" even if the title may only fall on Ivan. And easy with the abbreviations just type out the entire word; we're adults, we can read.

Posted by: PilbertArenas | June 6, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Michael, keep up the updates.
We basketball fans love them.

Posted by: Crabhands | June 6, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

If Ernie is looking for a driver for Blatche in this year's draft, he can scratch one name off his list:

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson was charged with driving while impaired after a traffic stop in downtown Chapel Hill.

According to Chapel Hill Police Capt. Jackie Carden, Lawson was stopped early Friday morning because of the loud music coming from the car. The car smelled of alcohol and a field sobriety test led the officer to file charges.

Lawson also was charged with violating the city's noise ordinance and driving with a suspended or revoked license, police said. He was taken into custody and later released. Lawson is scheduled to appear in court July 8.

He was one of three North Carolina players who declared for the 2008 NBA draft. Lawson has not hired an agent, meaning he could return to school for his junior season.

Lawson attended the NBA predraft workouts last week in Florida with teammates Wayne Ellington and Danny Green. On Wednesday, he worked out for the Indiana Pacers.

Lawson helped the Tar Heels reach the Final Four, where they lost to eventual national champion Kansas in the semifinals.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

this isnt related to the finals, but anyone think Joe Alexander has a chance to drop to the wizards pick?

Posted by: wvufan | June 6, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

PilbertArenas, maybe you shouldn't be making so many assumptions... just read and enjoy the free information.

It is Friday, relax

Posted by: Crabhands | June 6, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Add Lawson to the list of Mensa candidates from the college ranks. Who screws up during the pre draft period especially when you're a bubble player? HE'S the real moron.

Posted by: mark | June 6, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I haven't had much lobster either, but I will definitely take it if it is free!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

PilbertArenas, maybe you shouldn't be making so many assumptions... just read and enjoy the free information.

It is Friday, relax

Posted by: Crabhands | June 6, 2008 11:58 AM

Communist...

It's not free, they kill my email box with ads. No one has to work today cause it's friday.

Expecting someone to do their job is a safe assumption.

Posted by: What are Ivan and michael doing? | June 6, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Who isn't doing their job around here?
Besides you that is. I mean, posting here while at work... tisk tisk.

Posted by: Crabhands | June 6, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

dead on, but i'm not a journalist who writes about games he's not at...

Posted by: What are Ivan and michael doing? | June 6, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Paul Pierce went 6-6 from the field and 3-3 from three point land in the second half...oh yeah and some guys did some stuff for the wizards... can I be a wizards beat reporter now too...

Posted by: I live in D-Sean Stevensons Beard | June 6, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

If you are looking for information about who the Wizards might draft, this blog traditionally has not been the place. You are better off going to draftexpress.com, places like that.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm better off if these jokers did their job

Posted by: I live in D-Sean Stevensons Beard | June 6, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Keep up the great work Mike & Ivan, many people such as myself read your blogs, but never post. Apparently, the idiots are lose on your blog today.

Posted by: Fan | June 6, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

this from the guy who can't spell loose?

Posted by: What are Ivan and michael doing? | June 6, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Did I misclick,I wanted the Wizards insider. Wizard news please!!!!

Posted by: kts38 | June 6, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The WashingtonWizardsblog page has some videos of the workout yesterday if you're interested.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Real pro basketball fans and understand the mission and purpose of this particular site which is to deliver opinion and perspective about both the Wizards AND THE LEAGUE from the people paid to cover the sport. Once the Wizards have stopped playing, there only so much information out there for Ivan to report and as a fan of the NBA, I and I'm sure most people who read this site, appreciate Michael Lee's reports and look forward to them. Michael, don't worry about the luddites who think this site should only recite the height and weight and wingspan of every kid brought in for pre-draft workout. You're reaching the real fans.

Posted by: arnie | June 6, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Ignorami abound!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

you're missing the point, there is stuff to cover, i.e. who the wizards are working out where they're from how they look, which pertains to the Wizard's blog on the Wizard's insider section which get this, is where you're reading...

Posted by: Ernie Grunfeld's mustache | June 6, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Ivan indicated that he would attend yesterday's workouts and report how they went. Still waiting for that. Maybe he posted that report at "NBA Insider."

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

you're missing the point, there is stuff to cover, i.e. who the wizards are working out where they're from how they look, which pertains to the Wizard's blog on the Wizard's insider section which get this, is where you're reading...

Posted by: Ernie Grunfeld's mustache | June 6, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

The schedule of who's working out is published by the Wizards, if you don't see it here, it's on their website although could be late like this morning's full workout list was published this afternoon on the Wizards draft central page.

Draftexpress, hoopshype, nbadraft.net, etc. all make their business around databases and writeups of players, who they are, where they're from, their measurements (released by NBA after the pre-draft camp), their agents, etc and do a pretty job. The measurements show that every single player has overstated their height by one to three inches. A very few like the Lopez bros. actually measure out to within a quarter of an inch of their college listed height which is usually "with shoes". Draftexpress has gathered for comparative purposes the measurements of past drafts. I think of the Wiz only Andray's and Deshawn's measurements aren't on there. They write their subjective opinions about those who took part in the pre-draft camp. Check those websites out, and take their opinions for what they are.

Posted by: rgz | June 6, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

this from the guy who can't spell loose?

Posted by: What are Ivan and michael doing? | June 6, 2008 1:07 PM

The first letter in a sentence is capitalized as is the first letter in a persons name. Any idiot can try to be a spelling Nazis.

Let me help out a little-bit. This blog is titled.

Wizards Insider
The Latest NBA News From Ivan Carter and Michael Lee

There is something called the NBA Finals that is taking place right now, and Michael Lee is covering it.

Posted by: Fan | June 6, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we should draft Ty Lawson so he and Andray can split driving time on the team bus...

Gee, Utah seems impressed with Hibbert and might be happy to take him at 22. He would be a nice one-two at the 5 with Okur... I have not changed my mind about Hibbert at the 18 slot... let Jerry Sloan deal with a project (never!)

Posted by: khrabb | June 6, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Yeah you drunks you're missing the point. I enjoy Michael and Ivan's work as well, you don't need to be so slerpy. The fact of the matter is readers read the blog for wizards inside information, not because they have strange affinities for two grown men. Keep doing what you're doing, but let's get the Wizards info cause baseball is boring me to death!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: PilbertArenas | June 6, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

this isnt related to the finals, but anyone think Joe Alexander has a chance to drop to the wizards pick?


Posted by: wvufan | June 6, 2008 11:58 AM

No way he falls to #18...


let Jerry Sloan deal with a project (never!) Posted by: khrabb | June 6, 2008 3:26 PM

khrabb - Hibbert is probably the most NBA ready Center in the draft right now. He played a full 4-years at a major University, in a Major conference, against quality competition. He's worked hard, and improved each year. He has polished back-to-the-basket post moves. He is a good Post defender. A decent shooter. A good free throw shooter for a Center. A great passer from both the Low and High Post. And he's familiar with the Princeton Offense.

The only real knocks against Hibbert are that at 7'2" he's not very "athletic" and he's not a tremendous rebounder... (gee, sounds like Haywood, Ilgauskas, and about 7 or 8 other starting Centers currently in the NBA !! )

One other negative thing I've seen written is that he didn't completely DOMINATE his senior year.

There's plenty of Centers with "tremendous upsides".... or "run like a deer" and "jump outta the gym" athleticism... But you won't find a Center in the Draft that's more NBA ready, RIGHT NOW, than Hibbert.


Posted by: Rook | June 6, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Hibbert makes Haywood look like Dominique Wilkins.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Proposed trade:

First, let me give proper credit, I saw this listed on another blog (truthaboutit on Bulletsforever dot com)

How would you feel about the Wizards trading #18 & #47 to Seattle for #24 and #32?

I personally like the idea, because the Wizards could still potentially pick Hibbert or Robin Lopez at #24.... and perhaps get Mario Chalmers at #32.

Chalmers is a very good defensive PG... just what the Wizards need.

Comments?

Posted by: Rook | June 6, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

do we really need more developmental big men?

Posted by: Ernie Grunfeld's mustache | June 6, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

do we really need more developmental big men?

Posted by: Ernie Grunfeld's mustache | June 6, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Hibbert makes Haywood look like Dominique Wilkins.

Posted by: | June 6, 2008 4:29 PM

what? Shorter?
I think I'd agree with that statement...!

Listen anon, you want athleticism in your Center? - then the Wizards would have to tank a season and HOPE that a physical freak like Dwight Howard was available.

Take a look at the "athletic" Centers in this draft and tell me any one of them that doesn't have BUST written all over them.

You want to talk about Projects? Here's just a couple of examples:

DeAndre Jordan - 7-ft Center. Is leaving after one (1) year of Collge at Texas A&M. Incredible physical specimen. Freakish athlete. BUT
• Not productive
• Poor fundamentals
• Extremely limited w/back to the basket
• Lacks strength to hold spot on block
• Mediocre footwork
• Struggles finishing through contact
• Poor passer/Black hole?
• Atrocious free throw shooter
• Not incredibly active
• Poor Defensive awareness
• Gets Pushed around in post
• Not a shot-blocker
• A long ways away from contributing
• High bust potential

JaVale McGee - 7-ft Center. Leaving Nevada after two (2) years. Incredible physical specimen. Terrific athlete. BUT
• Extremely weak physically
• Struggles holding spot on the block
• Inability to finish through contact
• Poor fundamentals
• Poor Footwork/Post-moves
• NO Left hand
• Extremely poor Shot-selection
• BAD Free throw shooter
• Poor Decision making
• Low Basketball IQ
• Lacks experience
• Atrocious defender

Roy Hibbert, on the other hand, has tremendous size and strength. Excellent hands. He plays hard. Efficient on the Offensive end. Excellent passer. Good Mid-range jumper. Excellent Back to the basket scoring. Soft touch around basket. Good Basketball IQ. Great Work Ethic. Experienced. Good Overall defensive ability.

Compare Hibbert's negatives with the other guys above:
• Lacks Athleticism
• Has a Mechanical post-game
• Lacks Quickness in paint
• Poor Lateral quickness
• Question about Conditioning
• NBA teams preferring to play small-ball
• Lack of improvement from junior to senior year

It almost looks like they're hard pressed to find anything bad to say...

Hibbert is certainly NOT a project - and in my opinion is the most NBA ready Center in this year's draft.

He may not have a "tremendous upside" - and he may not be a "physical freak" or an "incredible physical specimen" - He may not be a "tremendous athlete" - but give me players with good fundamentals, and a great work ethic any day ...

Posted by: Rook | June 6, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

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