It’s been almost a week since the Celtics eliminated the Orlando Magic to advance to the NBA Finals. Tonight, the series finally begins in Los Angeles as the Lakers host the Celtics in game one (ABC 9:00pm).

Bill Simmons has a finals preview and says that this series could be one for the ages.

John Powers takes a look back at the 1968-69 Celtics, and how this edition compares to that club. Howard Bryant says that the Boston/Los Angeles rivalry is the lifeblood of the NBA.  Jim Fenton says that the Celtics will be looking to add to their franchise tradition in this series.

Bob Ryan notes that the current Celtics are keenly aware of the fact that “real” Celtics have more than one ring. After Danny Ainge stood pat at the trading deadline, Tim Weisberg wonders now if the big three will make the most of their second chance together in the finals. Bill Reynolds says that the grit of the Celtics will overcome the glitz of the Lakers. (This article could’ve been written in 1984. Maybe it was, and the names were just changed.) Kirk Minihane examines whether this starting five is as good as their 1980’s counterparts.

Jackie MacMullan has a feature on Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau and why his dogged determination sets him apart and will likely earn him a head coaching job. Gary Washburn submits a look at head coach Doc Rivers, who has overcome experience coaching the Magic to evolve into one of the best coaches in the league. Bill Burt says that the Celtics should win this one for Doc, whom he feels is going to step down after this series, win or lose.

Steve Bulpett has Kendrick Perkins very aware of what is at stake for him and if he gets another technical foul. Ron Borges has Tony Allen set to chip in and do his part in trying to slow down Kobe.

Steve Buckley notes that Paul Pierce has learned from his 2008 Finals experience in L.A. and will not let the distractions of his hometown get in the way of his play. Robert Lee has Pierce talking about how a second championship would cement his place among the Celtics greats.

Mark Murphy has Rajon Rondo’s confidence at a self-admitted all-time high right now.  Julian Benbow looks at Rondo as a key to the series, and says that the young point guard is better equipped to handle the Lakers than he was two years ago. Dan Duggan has the Lakers looking at slowing down Rondo as the key to them beating the Celtics. A. Sherrod Blakely has Rondo at the controls as the Celtics seek their second title in three years. Liam Martin says that Rondo and Ron Artest are the X-Factors in this series.

The Globe Celtics notebook has a motivational ploy by Doc Rivers from the last time the team was in Los Angeles paying off. Murphy’s notebook has the Lakers insisting there is no rivalry with the Celtics. Lee’s Celtics Journal has Boston expecting a tougher Lakers squad than they saw in 2008. Blakely’s notebook says that the need a physical, yet composed Kendrick Perkins.

Shira Springer has a look at Lakers coach Phil Jackson, why he is the best of all time, and what the future holds for him. (For the record, I still say Red was the better coach – he didn’t just coach the team, he put them together, and did a million other things Jackson has never done or would do.)

Bill Doyle has Ron Artest ready to get physical with Paul Pierce. Blakely has Andrew Bynum still hurting.

Dan Shaughnessy says that this series is all about Kobe, and no one should forget that. Jerry Thornton says that Kobe is the ultimate villain for Celtics fans.

The Globe’s Lakers Notebook has Pau Gasol as the key to the series.  Duggan’s notebook has Andrew Bynum still dealing with swelling in his knee. Doyle’s notebook looks at a Celtics player who has a closet full of Lakers gear. (and it’s not Paul Pierce)

The Globe made their staff picks. Chris Gasper picks the Lakers, all others the Celtics. Murphy runs through the Celtics-Lakers matchups. Fenton takes a look back at the 2008 series, and also has his own matchups for the NBA Finals as well. Minihane also devoted a column to Breaking down the matchups, Chris Forsberg also takes it Position by position. Michael Hurley cranks out 10 reasons why this could be the best NBA Finals ever.

For the rest of today’s links we’ll go “Top Links” style…

The Red Sox took their second straight from the Oakland A’s, this time by the score of 6-4. Daisuke Matsuzaka had a rough first inning, but settled down, and picked up his fourth win of the season. David Ortiz hit his 12th home run of the season in the win. Get the full links from this one at RedSoxLinks.com.

Papi’s Big once again – John Tomase says that David Ortiz not only is a force again, he’s an event unto himself.

Daisuke Matsuzaka provides another thrill ride for Red Sox – Mike Fine has Terry Francona saying that Dice-K almost threw too many strikes last night.

Bard has become bullpen’s dominant force – Maureen Mullen has Daniel Bard again slamming the door on an opponent.

Beckett’s return at least a month away – Peter Abraham delivers the latest bad news on Josh Beckett.

Carroll in good place – Albert Breer puts in a huge feature on former Patriots coach Pete Carroll, and his return to the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks.

Wes Welker being Wes Welker – Karen Guregian has the Patriots receiver again defying the odds by taking the field for OTA workouts yesterday.

Department of defense readies for battles – Ian Rapoport looks at the many upcoming battles for roster spots on the defensive side of the ball.

A strange day, indeed, at Patriots’ OTA – Glen Farley goes over the events of yesterday.

Brady quiet on contract – Shalise Manza Young’s notebook looks at the report of a “disconnect” between the Patriots and their QB over a new contract, which brings us to:

Sportswriters and Finance: Worst Parlay Ever. – Michael Gee tells us why sportswriters need to avoid the financial end of the business.

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14 thoughts on “Celtics, Lakers Finally Set To Tip Off NBA Finals (Full Links)

  1. as far as Brady's contract and the "disconnect"……forgive me if I don't get all wound up about it……The Boston sports media has given us these 2 recent gems……"ORTIZ ALL DONE AND MIGHT EVEN GET RELEASED!!!"…….."THERE IS NO WAY WES WELKER WILL PLAY UNTIL WEEK 7… IF HE PLAYS AT ALL THIS YEAR!!!!"……….just another example of the Boston sports media trying to drum up some controversy where there is none………and by the way, listening to the mediots try to backtrack on their earlier Ortiz opinions is making me physically ill

    1. P.S: ….yes, I know the original story didn't come from the Boston Sports media (Yahoo sports) but the local hacks are going to run with it. You can bet the house on that. (Felger already is)

      1. Felger was in rare form last night.

        "Foxboro is the only place in the NFL where you hear terms like the 30% rule being thrown out there regarding contract negotiatons!!!!!!"

        Does he know this? Is he still intimately involved with covering the NFL, like he used to be before he became a unbiquitous media talking head? Does he know for a fact that the Patriots are the ONLY team that worry about stuff like that?

        1. Over the weekend we happened to turn on the tv and watched Felger's show on NESN. What amazing insight did Felger give? Rondo's hip injury was faked. Big Baby? Wasn't hurt at all – he was acting!

          Even when he's trying to stir the pot he's amazingly stupid. Last time I ever watch that drivel.

          1. I know that Felger has decided to make his living by being the outspoken contrarian, but there have to be some situations where "being contrarian for the sake of it" doesn't apply, right?

            I believe he was only being half-serious when he implied that Big Baby, in particular, was faking it after getting clocked by Howard's elbow, but in light of the scary video of Baby stumbling around the court aimlessly (which temporarily brought back memories of Hank Gathers and Reggie Lewis for me), Felger should have put the contrarian snark away when discussing that situation. He sounded completely foolish.

          2. Ummm…his show is on CSN so that would be really stupid if he went on a competing network. Felger is making a valid point in that you dont see this in the NFL where a superstar QB get even this close to free agency while in their prime and he was using the Mike Silver column as his basis for his argument and Silver has had good insight into Brady's situations in the past. Again, I think its another case where if this was Sanchez or Manning and all other facts were the same, we wouldnt be calling it drivel or stupid – we'd be calling it news.

          3. Ummm…Manning IS in the same situation. Exactly the same. The owner announced earlier in the year they’d be signing him, just as Bob Kraft did, and to this point, nothing has happened. Both can be unrestricted free agents after next season.

            Where’s all the speculation and “news” on Manning? Nowhere, because everyone just assumes it will get done, which was the same situation here, until Silver’s column yesterday, which still reads far more as speculation than fact, and even Silver says it will get done.

            Felger has been beating this “Brady could be gone” drum for months, by the way. The Silver column was just another excuse to talk about it again.

          4. Looks like you beat me to it Bruce.

            Manning is in the EXACT same situation, and national media outlets have cited the Colts' "concerns" about the CBA/labor situation, etc., as reasons why it's not done yet.

            Nothing but speculation, and only in this market would this be considered "news".

          5. His point would be valid were it not for the fact that Manning is also entering the final year of his deal and the Colts haven't moved on that situation yet, either. National media outlets have cited similar concerns about the new CBA, etc., that Indy management has and have also reported that those concerns could be a possible hinderance to getting a new deal with Manning done right away.

            So in other words, Foxboro is not the only place in the NFL where the "rules" about player salaries are a concern, even when they involve the re-signing of the team's franchise QB. Apparently, Felger didn't seem to think that the fact that Manning's new deal isn't done yet, either, was newsworthy. Oh, that's right, mentioning that would have made his argument that "Foxboro is the only place where this stuff happens" sound foolish.

            In the end, both Manning and Brady will end up right back in the same place, with the Colts and Patriots.

    2. I find it interesting that one of the stories I read this morning about Brady's contract implies that the Patriots "would like him to spend more time in Foxboro during the offseason."

      Now, is this a FACT? Did this come from a member of the Patriots' organization? I don't believe a source is cited for it–not even an "unidentified source within the organization."

      It sounds to me a lot like the writer has been reading a lot of the inane fanboy posts on message boards about how "Brady should be here working out with his teammates!!" and how "He doesn't care about football enough anymore to be here for the workouts!!!"—and then tailoring the story to fit the narrative of the "Brady has gone Hollywood" fanboys out there, just so the article will wind up being posted to a message board and mulled over for days.

      As for the contract itself: not worried. The Patriots aren't stupid. This guy is still one of the top QBs in football and he's got a good 3 to 4 years of high-quality play left. They're not letting him go anywhere.

  2. I read the Michael Silver piece on Yahoo about the lack of negotiations with Tom Brady. Silver looks at the potential armageddon that could prevent Brady from signing. It is a pretty good piece that even Silver believes is unlikely to happen. Michael Gee in his article "Sportswriters and Finance: Worst Parlay Ever." shows why it makes complete sense for Brady not to sign or even negotiate with the Patriots. The reason is Jimmy Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts who has already stated he will resign Peyton Manning sometime this summer to the biggest contract in history. If you are Tom Brady and his agents wouldn't you wait until the Manning deal is finished before you state your demands? Brady is not a fool and seems to be a great poker player. Irsay has already given Brady a good idea as to what Manning will receive. It is just a matter of time as to when the deal is complete. Credit also goes to Dale and Holley who also mentioned this around a month or so ago. This, of course, shows why people like Michael Felger have no credibility at all. Felger as was stated by coworker Andy Gresh is persona non grata at Foxborough. Brady does not talk to him anymore. The Kraft's are little more cold with Jonathan Kraft occasionally appearing. He knows why Brady has not signed but he is making it personal with the Patriots because his access has been cut.

    Speaking of Felger and Maz, they with the great Bob Neumeier were talking about the Jim Joyce, Armando Galarraga situation, by the way both guys have handled the situation with tremendous class. Felger and especially Maz were up in arms as to why the media is patting Joyce on the back because he did what he should do and admit his mistake. Neumeier had to explain to them that umpires and others in the spotlight more often than not will deny everything. Also, you can tell that this is something that is eating Joyce alive. This is a mistake he is going to his grave with. I can't imagine that feeling of guilt. As far as Felger and Maz I would like to know when was last time they admitted to a mistake. I believe the next time they admit to a screw-up will be the first time.

  3. Jerry Thornton's article on Kobe Bryant is simply all kinds of awesome. There is no need to break it down. It's just great.

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