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First Cup: Tuesday

6/15/2010
  • Dan Duggan of the Boston Herald: "In addition to regaining his offensive rhythm, Kevin Garnett once again is playing with unfiltered emotion. That bothered Pau Gasol, who after appearing to shed the soft label, regressed in the three games at the Garden. Though Gasol clearly was tentative in those games, Garnett didn’t attribute that to intimidation. 'I think both teams are playing very physical basketball,' Garnett said. 'I think the intimidation factor is not even a discussion or even an issue.' If Garnett’s trash talk hasn’t been a factor, his chatter on defense has made a difference. He played a series-high 36 minutes in the Celtics’ 92-86 Game 5 win Sunday, anchoring a defense that held the Lakers to 39.7 percent shooting. 'For the most part, I was talkative, I was loud,' Garnett said. 'Just got to carry that over and be all out. We’ve got four, five days left, so it’s all or nothing from this point on.' The Celtics repeatedly have pointed out that they’ve never lost a series with their core in tact. Garnett was sidelined last postseason when they were eliminated. Now, thanks to the rediscovery of his game, Garnett has the Celtics one win away from winning their second title since he arrived three years ago."

  • Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe: "The Celtics love the road. Then and now. The 2009-10 Green were rather ordinary at home (24-17), but compiled the second-best road record in the NBA (26-15, topped only by Dallas) during the regular season. In the playoffs, the Celtics are an impressive 6-4 away from home, including two wins in both Cleveland and Orlando. Beating the other guys in their own gym demoralizes the home team, which is exactly what the Celtics did at Staples Center in Game 2 of these Finals. Now the Celtics need one more road victory to win the franchise’s 18th championship. 'There’s nothing like winning a championship on the road,’' said Cedric Maxwell, MVP of the 1981 Finals. 'You get to shut up the home crowd and have your own little celebration. You get to party with your teammates and you have a great flight home. Then you get to celebrate all over again with your own fans.’ "

  • Gerry Callahan of the Boston Herald: "He’s either a better actor than Jack, or he’s walking away from the Celtics by the end of the week. Doc Rivers either has been putting us on for six years now, or he really is a devoted family man who can’t wait to take that two- or three-year break and be a part of his kids’ lives before it’s too late. My guess: He’s gone. Win or lose, when the NBA Finals end so is Doc Rivers’ terrific run as coach of the Celtics. Say goodbye to the good guy. Or better yet, if you are wearing a C’s road uniform tonight, win one for Rivers because you never may play for a better leader, a better communicator, a better example, a better coach."

  • Maria Cramer of The Boston Globe: "Boston police, mindful that over the last six years three people have died on the city’s streets while celebrating major sporting events, are preparing a massive show of force during tonight’s NBA Finals game between the Celtics and the Lakers. Boston police, mindful that over the last six years three people have died on the city’s streets while celebrating major sporting events, are preparing a massive show of force during tonight’s NBA Finals game between the Celtics and the Lakers. The game -- the sixth in a best-of-seven game series that Boston now leads 3-2 -- takes place in Los Angeles, but Boston police are taking no chances. They are ordering hundreds of officers -- from the city and surrounding communities -- to flood the streets around Fenway Park and the TD Garden, areas packed with sports bars that have in the past attracted large crowds during out-of-town championship games. 'We don’t anticipate any problems; we believe everybody will celebrate reasonably,’ Police Superintendent William Evans said in an interview. However, he said, 'We don’t want anyone hurt. We don’t want anyone’s property vandalized. So we’d rather be safe than sorry.’ "

  • Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News: "The Lakers' task is simple. It's not easy, of course, but it has been clarified thanks to their loss to the Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Sunday in Boston. They simply cannot lose tonight in Game 6 if they expect to win their second consecutive championship. The Lakers cannot be outscored, outrebounded or outhustled. And if they win tonight, they have to do it all over again Thursday in Game 7. 'I'm not very confident at all,' Kobe Bryant said Sunday. Then he laughed, indicating he was joking. 'We're down, 3-2,' he said in a far more serious tone moments later. 'Go home, win one game (and then) go into the next one. Simple as that.' Sure, it's simple but it's not exactly a plan without peril. The Celtics have proved to be a tough foe, a resilient and troublesome opponent that seemed to gain confidence with victories in Games 4 and 5. They found ways to exploit the Lakers' weaknesses, and when all else failed they outhustled the Lakers."

  • Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times: "Uh-oh. It's a Game 6 between the Lakers and Boston Celtics. Lakers fans hate to go there based on recent history, but it's hard to avoid, seeing as how the teams have basically reverted to two years ago, when the Celtics' physically charged 131-92 victory ended the NBA Finals and was either the best or worst game of 2008, depending on perspective. The Lakers returned home Monday afternoon, which might have been the best news for them on a designated travel day where no Lakers coaches or players spoke to the media. One live morsel could be found on the Twitter account of Lakers executive Jeanie Buss: 'Just picked Phil [Jackson] up at the airport. He is concerned but upbeat ...' It was a good summary of the words coming out of the locker room in the immediate aftermath of Game 5, where the Lakers were again outrebounded and again outscored in the paint in a 92-86 loss that put them down in the series, 3-2. If they can't fix those areas Tuesday in Game 6, Staples Center might be a silent venue Thursday night, though the Lakers were resolute."

  • Michael Wilbon of The Washington Post: "Anything with this much drama needs to be played out in Hollywood, so Lakers-Celtics resumes exactly where it ought to ... with greater Los Angeles freaking out, with Kobe Bryant saying his team's defense is so MIA it belongs "on a milk carton the last two games," with the Lakers' shot selection totally out-of-whack, with the Celtics defense laying the wood, with Coach Phil Jackson trying to motivate his Lakers by reminding them how many regular season leads the Celtics choked on, and perhaps most surprisingly with Coach Doc Rivers taking it to the Zen Master for the second straight time in the NBA Finals. The Boston Celtics aren't just up 3-2 , they're in control of the Finals, one victory away from a second championship in three years and one victory away from beating the Lakers to do it, which is pretty much how the Celtics built their history. Once again, the Celtics are pushing the Lakers around, laughing off the notions of old age and that Kobe Bryant can single-handedly beat them with prolific scoring outbursts."

  • Ian O'Connor of ESPNNewYork.com: "So here's Doc Rivers in Los Angeles for Game 6, a hell of a coach trying to lead the Boston Celtics to their second conquest of the Los Angeles Lakers in three years. In jacket and tie, Rivers is chasing the defining June moments that eluded him as an Atlanta Hawk and New York Knick wedged between Larry Bird's and Michael Jordan's primes. Up 3-2 on the other team's floor, he's chasing the title he couldn't help his Knicks win on Houston's homecourt in '94, when a 3-2 Finals lead ended up in a smoky heap, buried under an avalanche of missed John Starks 3-pointers. Would the Knicks have ended their championship drought with a healthy Rivers? 'Yes, we would have,' said Dave Checketts, a Rivers friend and the Knicks' president at the time. 'We just didn't have enough experience on the bench to beat Houston. I always thought if Doc had gotten healthy, he and Derek Harper would've been great together in the backcourt.' Knicks fans should know Rivers still thinks about those '94 Finals. A lot. He doesn't think about them the way most Americans do, as the sporting event crashed by O.J. Simpson and the white Bronco. Rivers thinks about them as a lost opportunity to be immortalized in a city he adores."

  • Howard Beck of The New York Times: "If they win the title, Doc Rivers will join K. C. Jones, Tommy Heinsohn, Bill Russell and the franchise patriarch, Red Auerbach, as Celtics coaches to win multiple titles. He would comfortably stand among the franchise’s greats. In modern terms, Rivers’s feat would be just as impressive. In the last 33 years, only six N.B.A. coaches have won multiple titles: Jones, Chuck Daly, Pat Riley, Rudy Tomjanovich, Gregg Popovich and Phil Jackson -- Rivers’s rival in this series. Rivers would be the first coach to beat Jackson twice in the finals, and the first to beat any Jackson-coached team after losing Game 1 of a series. Jackson is 47-0 after winning a series opener."

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "A pair of post-seasons in Rockets history have jumped into the middle of the Finals, or at least the Lakers hope they have. The last time a team returned home in the Finals down 3-2, the Rockets took the series with a pair of win at The Summit. Boston coach Doc Rivers watched as a Knicks reserve as John Starks went 2 of 18 in Game 7 and Hakeem Olajuwon and Vernon Maxwell closed out the city's first championship. The last time the Lakers faced an elimination game, they dominated the Rockets in the conference semifinals' Game 7 on the way to last season's championship. The Celtics will be much tougher to knock off than the '94 Celtics or the 2009 Rockets, but it has been known to happen. Oh, and Happy Anniversary. Fifteen years ago tonight the Rockets finished their sweep of the Magic for a second-consecutive title."

  • Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: "Ten years ago, the Indiana Pacers had a chance to become NBA champions. Always groomsmen but never the groom in their NBA history, the Pacers finally reached the Finals after beating their nemesis -- the New York Knicks -- in the Eastern Conference finals. 'It was magical,' Jalen Rose said last week. 'We went from losing to M.J. (Michael Jordan) and to the Knicks on L.J.'s (Larry Johnson's) controversial four-point play, to finally getting over the top and reaching the Finals.' The Pacers fell in six games. They won two of the three games at Conseco Fieldhouse but had no answer for Finals MVP Shaquille O'Neal, who averaged 38.0 points and 16.7 rebounds in the series. 'They were just the better team,' Rose said. 'Shaq basically played like Wilt Chamberlain against us. When he wasn't being an anchor down low, Kobe Bryant was being a closer.' The Pacers credited their rise to coach Larry Bird, who told them when he took the job in 1997 they had three years to reach the Finals. 'The only thing is, I don't think they realized they were good enough to get to the Finals,' Bird said last week, reflecting on the run. 'I knew it, but I don't think they did.' "

  • John Brennan of The Record: "Mikhail Prokhorov, the 45-year-old Russian billionaire whose acquisition of the Nets basketball team was completed last month, found the rims at the Prudential Center unforgiving during his first visit to the Newark site today. The 6-foot-7 Prokhorov needed nine tries to sink a 22-foot shot before dozens of media members and Nets officials, but that didn’t dissuade him from praising the new building as 'a great new home.' As Jeff Vanderbeek -- the owner of the Devils hockey team and co-tenant in the building -- and Newark Mayor Cory Booker conducted a 45-minute tour, Prokhorov seemed impressed by the variety of luxury suites, the quality of the LED lighting and the size of the building. Booker told Prokhorov that he is welcome to play in his city for the next two years -- the planned amount of time before the Nets move to a new Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn."