HENRY ABBOTT: TrueHoop's Henry Abbott will be blogging here live from the NBA Finals tonight, with insight from Dr. Jack Ramsay, David Thorpe, and Mike Moreau. Game 1 of the NBA Finals begins at 9pm ET on ABC.
DAVID THORPE: Looking forward to a great game! I'll be back at 9pm.
MIKE MOREAU: Can't wait for tip off!
HENRY ABBOTT: There's still quite a bit of time until tip-off, but I can tell you that it's already hard to hear yourself think in here. Lots and lots of people wearing lots and lots of green. And the house music is up LOUD. The BEAT LA chants have already made their first appearance. If the Celtics can get an early lead, this place is going to go insane.
HENRY ABBOTT: I can't imagine how amped up you must be right now if you were playing in this game. Kevin Garnett was asked about the emotional energy yesterday. I loved his answer. I've learned since then not to fight it, to just sort of let it ooze its way out and play. I don't anticipate fighting anything tomorrow night. I'm just going to let it flow, try to center myself as best I can, but at the same time, let the adrenaline, let it run and try not to get too tired too soon.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: I'd expect a very uneven start to this game. Everyone is too amped up. All you can do is play it out.
HENRY ABBOTT: Hoping to fill you in on some of the celebrities here, but I'm miserable at celebrity spotting. I can tell you this: John Kerry is courtside, although an usher just asked him to show his ticket to make sure he really belonged there. He does stand out -- he's looking very sedate compared to a lot of the Boston crazies.
DAVID: Don't let anyone tell you that 2nd round picks and late firsts don't matter.
DAVID: Boston needs to slow down a bit.
DAVID THORPE: But LA wants them to keep pushing and taking quick shots.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Gasol defending Garnett -- that's not a matchup I expected. I thought Gasol would guard Perkins. But as long as KG stays out on the perimeter, it doesn't hurt the Lakers at all.
DAVID THORPE: Not sure Boston is smart to switch that guard-to-wing ballscreen.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Very important, for the Celtics, for Rondo to make that shot. Brings the D out.
DAVID THORPE: Vlad needs to get behind the line on that.
MIKE MOREAU: Celts have to adjust to the quicker pace defensively - can't settle in and then find their man.
DAVID THORPE: Gasol is so crafty. Lulled Perk to sleep.
HENRY ABBOTT: Loud. Very loud after the KG dunk. Dr. Jack nods, and says that got the crowd into it.Also, worth noting that just like the regular season, Ray Allen is pretty much the guy to guard Kobe Bryant. So far Kobe hasn't really killed him. Plenty of game left, though.
DAVID THORPE: LA will make Rondo hit a bunch of shots before they adjust, I think.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Gasol is a tough matchup for Garnett. Most teams encourage Gasol to take the jump shot, but KG is playing him body to body. Not sure why they're doing that. Might be KG just getting so pumped up. Be interesting to see if they stay with that approach.
MIKE MOREAU: Boston will have to adjust to Lakers bigs rolling more to basket - played against almost straight pick and pop against Pistons and Cavs.
DAVID THORPE: Right. Pau was a better shooter when he first came to the NBA.
HENRY ABBOTT: It is loud in here. Strangest thing ever. They just showed a baseball fight, from this evening, on the basketball big screen. Dr. Jack points out that now Perkins has switched on to Gasol.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Kobe switches to play Paul Pierce, who got double teamed, and he got them scrambling, which led to that last Boston bucket.
MIKE MOREAU: Check out that score - has an Eastern Conference feel to it!
DAVID THORPE: Red Sox vs. Rays fight today.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Kobe's trying to do too much, and not Ray Allen hits a big three. He's a streaky shooter, but he got one over Vujacic, who's a good defender.
MIKE MOREAU: Let's not forget Allen was playing against two awfully good defensive teams while fighting through his slump.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Kobe should take it to the rim. Ray Allen is playing him well. Kendrick Perkins is waiting there, but that won't stop Kobe. He hasn't gone to the rim yet.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Ray Allen has created three plays since Vujacic has been guarding him.
MIKE MOREAU: Who patrols the paint and protects the basket for LA?
DAVID THORPE: Farmar has recovered well from a horrible Utah series.
DAVID THORPE: Lakers bench can be a real killer.
DAVID THORPE: Who wins the final minute of quarters is often a tip to who will win the game.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Kobe Bryant should go right to the basket with James Posey on him. He has a real advantage there.
MIKE MOREAU: Who or what is keeping the Celtics from attacking the rim on every possession?
DAVID THORPE: Boston freaked up on that last possession. Nice. LA wasn't sure how to attack it.
HENRY ABBOTT: OK, someone is going to have to explain a little more about freaking up. Isn't that a dance move?
MIKE MOREAU: While everyone else in the Laker huddle is listening to Phil, Kobe is formulating his plan.
DAVID THORPE: Good job by Boston keeping LA off the offensive glass.
DAVID THORPE: Good job by Boston keeping LA off the offensive glass.
MIKE MOREAU: Powe is instant energy and activity on the glass.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Two possessions, and Leon Powe has gotten offensive rebounds on both. Significant, also, that Sam Cassell is playing instead of Eddie House.
DAVID THORPE: Odom needs to do some work right now.
HENRY ABBOTT: Kobe Bryant in the first quarter: 2-8. Much like how he shot against Boston in the regular season.
MIKE MOREAU: D Fish can't defend Cassell better than that - fought him for the middle and forced a tough shot.
DAVID THORPE: Boston is building a strong wall around the paint on most possessions.
HENRY ABBOTT: TrueHoop reader J chimes in: After one quarter, if I was a C's fan I'd be a little worried. The Lakers' offense has been pretty disjointed so far and Kobe a non-factor, meanwhile KG and Ray Allen seem to be clicking on all cylinders ... and yet the score is 23-21. If it's a close ga
me into halftime, it'll be murder for the C's when Kobe does his second-half push.
MIKE MOREAU: Cassell got a reprieve from Doc against Detroit - earned back his minutes. He was brought to Boston for this series.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Sam Cassell has two field goals. This is a matchup the Lakers thought Fisher could handle, because Cassell doesn't have much speed. But he's scoring. And I'm surprised that Phil Jackson took Farmar out so quickly, because I thought Farmar was good.
DAVID THORPE: I have 2 beautiful, just turned 7 year old twins,fast asleep on my couch. I'm watching a Lakers-Celtics Finals. Life is good.
MIKE MOREAU: Spacing is terrific on Boston's offensive end. Saw lots of big bodies clogging the lane on their way to the Finals.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Kobe defended Sam Cassell that time, to take away his post up. Cassell tried to do it again, but Kobe blocked the shot.
MIKE MOREAU: Doc has to know when to reign in Cassell - like leaving a pitcher in one too many batters.
DAVID THORPE: Mamba is lurking.
DAVID THORPE: Celts picking on Fish.
HENRY ABBOTT: TrueHoop reader Trieu with a counterpoint to J: The Celtics defense had something to do with the Lakers' disjointed offense. And the C's aren't likely to turn the ball over five times per quarter (which would be 20 for the game).
MIKE MOREAU: Nobody is getting hit hard at the basket.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Fisher is back on Cassell, now that Ray Allen is in the game. And that was a good block by Turiaf. That was not a foul.
DAVID THORPE: This is the KG Boston needs to win this series.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: The pace of the game has picked up since the first quarter. I think that favors the Lakers overall, they like that. But they haven't really gotten into the open court.
MIKE MOREAU: KG's jumper was on fire vs. Detroit. Gasol is of no concern to him.
HENRY ABBOTT: David if this is tied with a few seconds left, do you wake the kids up to watch?
MIKE MOREAU: Straight switch onto Kobe - Mamba got in a hurry.
DAVID THORPE: Great timing needed on that pick and roll by LA.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Derek Fisher one of the best in the league at getting position in the paint to draw the charge on another player's man. Then Gasol punishes Perkins for overplaying on the high side.
DAVID THORPE: And a great slip By Pau-as Perk was peeking early to slow Kobe.
MIKE MOREAU: Celtics falling into the speed trap.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: That's a great play by Radmanovic. That's a four-point play. And he didn't go for the player with the ball. He went for the pass.
MIKE MOREAU: Lakers waiting to double when KG starts his move. Great passer - trap at your peril.
DAVID THORPE: Boston is fine-as long as they start hitting some 3's.
DAVID THORPE: No Henry-I'm taping the game for Max.
MIKE MOREAU: Lakers getting into a rhythm. Boston needs to get to the line and slow things down. If they don't get the offensive board - Lakers off and running.
HENRY ABBOTT: Doesn't mean much, but interesting that at this moment the player on the floor with the best +/- is Radmanovic, at +6. Posey is the worst at -5. This will likely all be very different in a few minutes.
DAVID THORPE: Breaking news-Hillary and Obama meeting. Maybe they'll pick the new Bulls coach.
HENRY ABBOTT: In that last timeout, no Celtic drank more Gatorade than Scot Pollard, who is not on the active roster.
MIKE MOREAU: Rondo is perfecting the runner - learning how deep he can go.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Kobe Bryant can freeze the defense. And Gasol moves well without the ball. Gets right to the basket after a nice pass.
MIKE MOREAU: Don't pick the ball up on the baseline, Coach Thorpe!
DAVID THORPE: Boston zoned up again on the last possession. And LA showed how precise their passing can be in the last 2 minutes.
MIKE MOREAU: Home crowd nervous?
MIKE MOREAU: Look for Celtics to go chest up cutter on pinch post. Also, force ballhandler to turn down ballscreen to take slip / roll away from screener.
MIKE MOREAU: Boston can't just keep reacting to all of the Laker options. They must dictate by deciding which options they want to defend. Hard fouls should be part of the equation.
MIKE MOREAU: Dr. Jack - what was most effective at stifling your Blazer offense when you guys had it rolling?
HENRY ABBOTT: At halftime, the Lakers not named Kobe Bryant are playing very well. Kobe Bryant has two of L.A.'s four turnovers. He is shooting 30 percent while the rest of the Lakers are shooting 57 percent. Fisher leads all Lakers with 13 points, while Gasol as 12. The Celtics, on the other hand, are one of nine from three-point land. Ray Allen is one of four, Pierce, Rondo, Posey, and Cassell have all missed. Kevin Garnett has a great stat line -- six of nine from the floor, and four of four at the line. Six rebounds, no turnovers, just one foul. Rondo is four of seven with three assists (two turnovers) with ten points. Celtics, as a team have a 1:1 assist to turnover ratio. Eight of each. That's not good. Lakers have 14 assists and four turnovers.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: 45 seconds into the half and a tie game.
MIKE MOREAU: KG has to keep going inside - not just shoot jumpers.
HENRY ABBOTT: Early in this second half, for various reasons, Phil Jackson, Kendrick Perkins, and some drunk guy 50 feet to my right all really want to give the referees a piece of their mind.
MIKE MOREAU: 2 dribble middle - shoulder fake and fade. Text book.
DAVID THORPE: KG the primary helper on Kobe drives. Leaves his guy open.
MIKE MOREAU: Kobe will not be denied the middle off the ballscreen.
DAVID THORPE: KG wants to take his driving shot before he crosses the midline. Too tough an angle after that.
DAVID THORPE: Moreau and I teach our players every day to keep driving after using a ballscreen. And we use Kobe most often as the example.
HENRY ABBOTT: Tell you what, Mike, the home crowd is sure nervous now that Paul Pierce is doubled over in pain. They chanted Let's Go Paul and I'm almost sure they thought he'd get up. But then he was carried to the locker room, and everyone seems a little unsure. Dow
n four. People are standing, but not voracious. The Beat LA chant has a hollow ring to it, at this stage. Posey is in for Pierce, and KG is going to have to be a real alpha dog.
DAVID THORPE: Celts must survive these next 5 minutes.
MIKE MOREAU: This is where the league's best defense must be just that!
MIKE MOREAU: How do you let Ray Allen fade to the corner for the stand still three? Read that scouting report!
HENRY ABBOTT: I doubt Doc Rivers ever expected to be playing Garnett, Posey, Brown, Rondo, and Allen a few minutes into the second half. Who do you bring in when these guys get tired? And how long does Paul Pierce have to be in the locker room before Scalabrine can suit up?
DAVID THORPE: Willis Reed!!
MIKE MOREAU: Can't get tired in the Finals
HENRY ABBOTT: The return of Paul Pierce. Everyone is up as they show him returning from the locker room. Posey sits. Stadium loudest it has been in a while.
MIKE MOREAU: The Ghost of Hank Finkel has entered the building!
DAVID THORPE: LA needs to get back to the triangle.
HENRY ABBOTT: Coming back from a few minutes in the locker room. It's not something people will remember next year. But they just showed it a second time on the big screen, and people are eating it up.
MIKE MOREAU: KG had Vujacic matched up with him. Can't pass that up.
DAVID THORPE: Odom has been bad. Soft.
HENRY ABBOTT: Watch Derek Fisher in the lane when the ball goes up. He's often all over the Boston big men. That's one feisty dude.
MIKE MOREAU: Celtics really work hard to contest shots - you can live with that foul every now and then.
HENRY ABBOTT: Good point about Odom. I was thinking that this series would be a real chance for him to kind of put a different stamp on his career. He should attend te Derek Fisher school of grit.
MIKE MOREAU: My son called that pass from halfcourt!
DAVID THORPE: Kobe plays so hard.
DAVID THORPE: Fisher is everywhere.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Good defense by Ray Allen, and only Kobe can make that shot.
DAVID THORPE: KG should just dhoot that jumper instead of the floater.
MIKE MOREAU: That was a tired miss from KG
DAVID THORPE: Odom loses 4 points a game because he has no right hand.
MIKE MOREAU: Rotation got there on the slip that time - defense leads to offense.
DAVID THORPE: Close of quarters!
HENRY ABBOTT: Pierce hits two threes and the place goes nuts. I asked Dr. Jack if he would call a timeout here, and he pointed at the clock, then with 50 seconds and counting down to end the quarter, and said no.
MIKE MOREAU: Rondo goes from 2nd gear to 4th gear as well as any guard in the league.
HENRY ABBOTT: Let's take stock here for a second. This is Lakers vs. Celtics. NBA Finals. Heading into the final quarter. Four-point game. Not bad.
MIKE MOREAU: Coaches - how long does Pierce sit?
DAVID THORPE: Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. Trouble for Thorpedo!
DAVID THORPE: Until LA takes the lead-but one possession prior.
MIKE MOREAU: Celtic defense swarming now!
DAVID THORPE: Boston doing work in the paint.
HENRY ABBOTT: After that last offensive rebound by Powe, I think an increased percentage of future Boston-area babies will be named Leon.
DAVID THORPE: LA trying to make plays while driving baseline. Not smart.
MIKE MOREAU: Posey missed the same shots in the first half - best pct three point shooter for Boston in the playoffs.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Boston moved the ball well to get to Posey. Good patience by Ray Allen to take advantage of the double.
MIKE MOREAU: Team defense has a cumulative effect - like body punches.
HENRY ABBOTT: That last timeout was overloaded with distractions. Celebrity cams showing celebrities we have already seen. I think this crowd would be louder left to their own devices.
MIKE MOREAU: There's the forced turndown of the screen - takes away screener options and makes ballhandler make a play. Great rotation.
DAVID THORPE: How about Phil resting Kobe down 8 in the 4th?!!
MIKE MOREAU: Can't go under screen on D Fish - scouting report!
HENRY ABBOTT: James Posey collapsed in the lane, and was just sure a foul would be called. As soon as he realized it would not be called, he wisely scrambled to get out of there before a three-second call.
MIKE MOREAU: Garnett very short on last two shots - fatigue?
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Halfway through the fourth quarter of a close game, and the Lakers are playing four reserves and Pau Gasol.
DAVID THORPE: Great d by Boston, but LA has to pull the trigger. Walton is playing poorly. Tentatively.
MIKE MOREAU: Look for some flex screen action for Pierce when he comes back. Allows him to catch in the midpost - use his size, get to the line.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Same group after the timeout, but with Kobe and Fisher. He's the only coach I know what would play these bench guys this much. He has nine rings.
MIKE MOREAU: There you go.
DAVID THORPE: LA has had a number of in and outs.
MIKE MOREAU: Garnett's legs are gone. More Pierce in the mid post for Boston.
DAVID THORPE: Very poor offensive execution by LA.
HENRY ABBOTT: Kevin Garnett finds himself on little Derek Fisher, and he does not cower. He's into it, not conceding anything. Boston ends up getting the stop. Too many bigs play matador in that setting.
MIKE MOREAU: Kobe post up time?
HENRY ABBOTT: THAT was a big stop. Credit to Paul Pierce for not biting on Kobe's fake.
MIKE MOREAU: Pierce same play in the first half was called a charge.
MIKE MOREAU: With isos coming offensively - tip ins and offensive rebounds are to be had.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Sasha Vujacic should have just stood there. Ray Allen didn't have a good look.
MIKE MOREAU: Team Defense -
HENRY ABBOTT: This is good for the NBA. Close finish like this. And Boston, the slight underdogs, holding the lead.
MIKE MOREAU: Celtics had trouble with Pistons halfcourt trap. Dribbled against the sidelines and got in trouble.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Radmanovic was very effective in the first half. Now he's back.
DAVID THORPE: Vlad asleep.
DAVID THORPE: I mean sasha.
MIKE MOREAU: KG got his legs back...
DR. JACK RAMSAY: Posey was right not to shoot the three. With this score, they want to use clock.
MIKE MOREAU: hard to calm yourself down to hit these with the intensity at both ends.
MIKE MOREAU: Best closer in the game vs. best defense. Here it comes.
DR. JACK RAMSAY: The Celtics deserve to win this game. They have played very good defense, have kept Kobe under reasonable control, and nobody had a big game for the Lakers. Pierce scored eight straight at one point. That was key.
MIKE MOREAU: Poor execution at both ends by the Lakers.
DAVID THORPE: Boston made so many big plays and shots. They are capable of duplicating this 3 more times.
MIKE MOREAU: Team defense has a cumulative effect...
DAVID THORPE: See everyone on Sunday.
MIKE MOREAU: Back on the court in the morning - pros getting better in the summer!
HENRY ABBOTT: Thanks very much everybody. See you for Game 2.