Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here…
highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as
satisfying as a good morning dump.
On his way into the losing locker room, the most angry man in the Garden
was heard to bellow a spontaneous stream of curses into the ears of his Los Angeles Lakers. As the door slammed behind them, a witness heard Kobe Bryant
screaming that he needed some-bleeping-one to make a stand with him.
A little more than an hour after the 92-86 loss, the surliness was
gone, replaced with pursed lips and a glare gone to Game 6 now. Bryant
wore unlaced high-tops for an ankle that had been hurt again as he
walked to a waiting bus on the loading dock.
I don't know how many times it's been said… but it was proven again last night: Kobe can drop 40 points on you and you can still win if you hold the rest of his team to 40. Last night he dropped 38 and the Lakers scored 86… so it was closed.
Not only that, Kobe took 27 shots, the rest of the starters took 36.
So the plan was to defend Kobe straight up with out trapping. Control the rest of the team and withstand the storm when he goes off. I said it before the series started:
Control the front
line. The Lakers are awesome when Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are doing
their thing. They’re damn near unbeatable when those guys are playing
well. But the Lakers are VERY pedestrian when those guys are invisible.
Keep those guys in check, and it won’t matter if Kobe goes for 40.
The more Kobe shoots,
the better it is for the C’s. The rest of that team sulks when he
doesn’t share. If Kobe really is pissed about losing in 2008, maybe
he’ll try to do too much and, in turn, alienate his team. And if you can
clog the lane and prevent him from getting to the rim for much of the
game, he’ll resort to jump shots… and that will give the C’s a major
Add to that the extra emotion of this series and you get the benefit of Kobe popping off and screaming at his fragile teammates when they're pushed to the brink.
So even though the Lakers came out strong and took game 1… and even though it looked like these guys were a tougher, improved Lakers team… it's starting to look like we're right back to where we thought we'd be: Kobe jacking up shots, the rest of the team going into a shell, and the mentally tougher team taking advantage.
On Page 2: How a tough team responds to adversity
"Oh, it was nothing," Pierce said. "I told Rajon at halftime, I had a
couple buckets going and I wanted the ball, and he wanted to do
something different, and I was a little upset at that. Hey, he's our
point guard, and I trust him. He's made so many great plays for us
throughout the year and throughout the playoffs. It wasn't nothing. I
went and told him at halftime that it was nothing.
"We've got spats with our team all the time. We always have spats.
But the good thing about it, we always clean it right up. I was a little
mad, but I went in the locker room and told him don't sweat it, we're
in this to get a win. It isn't about who gets the last shot."
"I knew Paul had it going, and Luke
Walton was really hard trying to deny him the ball, and I tried to
look him off knowing that I was going to Paul," Rondo said. "But it was
just communication, and I just wanted to make a play."
Added coach Doc Rivers: "Well, [Pierce] thought he was getting the
ball, didn't get it, so he was walking away. Then Rondo was going to
give him the ball and held it, so it was just a miscommunication. We
want the ball in Paul's hands at the end of the quarters, if we can do
it, because we haven't been very good ending quarters as of late. We
wanted a pick-and-roll with Paul and a big, and it just never happened."
This is how a team keeps it together.
I was pissed… PISSED… at Paul Pierce for turning and walking off during a play. That was a complete bullshit move.
But then the C's got it together at halftime, and came out and played together (said in the Doc Rivers timeout voice).
So one team faces adversity and some internal problems and withers… another faces adversity and some internal problems and comes out on a tear and extends a lead to an insurmountable level.
The rest of the links:
Herald: Celtics one win away from 18th banner | Truly a big Celtics victory | Truth can win it in LA | As game progresses, so does Rondo | Son shines for Ray Allen | Lakers hope home serves them better | Rivers rises above Jackson's jabs | John Havlicek's with this team | Blame it all on Odom | Scammed teacher gets revenge on scalper | Celtics fans knew win was in the air | Globe: Group effort | Pierce fought with fire and desire | In the drivers seat | More proof the C's are no pushovers | Artest off his game | Celtics love Rondo's rise | Coming up short | Garnett knuckles down at crunch time | Bryant defensive after starring role | Baby moving forward | Allen makes right moves | ESPN Boston: Allen's son OK after scare | First impressions | WEEI: The Captain comes through | Why Game 6 is still just another game | Artest on Rondo push: "did what he had to do" | Celtics video: inside the locker room | Allen fights through difficult time | 5 reasons C's won game 5 | Celtics reclaim the paint and the series | The Celtics had to win… and they did… somehow | CSNNE: Green house effect: C's win game 5 | Pierce cuts into Lakers defense with ease | MWDN: C's don't fear the road