Celtics Just Can’t Finish, Lakers Are World Champs

In a microcosm of their season, the Celtics couldn’t hold on to a double-digit third quarter lead, and fell to the Los Angeles Lakers 83-79 in game seven of the NBA Finals.

The Celtics were in full control of this game, dominating the Lakers in every area except rebounds which was how the Lakers hung in throughout this one. Los Angeles controlled the boards, 53-40, including an incredible 23 boards on the offensive end.

The Celtics offense went completely stagnant during a late third quarter, early fourth quarter spurt which saw the Lakers erase the lead and take one of their own. The teams traded three pointers late, and the game wasn’t decided until Sasha Vujacic hit two free throws, which gave the Lakers a four point lead with 11 seconds to go.

Kobe Bryant, supposedly playing for his legacy, was terrible. He lead the Lakers with 23 points, but shot 6-24 in doing so. One media certainty going into tonight was that “there is no way that Kobe will allow the Lakers to lose game seven at home.” That was a joke. Even Michael Jordan’s son (it looks like it really was him.) was trashing Kobe on Twitter.

So this era is over for the Celtics. They’re going to look a lot different when training camp begins just under four months from now. Ray Allen and Doc Rivers are most likely gone. Paul Pierce could be gone. Tom Thibodeau is gone. The only players signed for next year are Garnett, Perkins, Rondo, Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis.  In the aftermath of tonight’s loss, Wallace is already talking retirement. What will Danny Ainge have planned for this summer?

It’s unfortunate that things ended this way, but they gave us a great run. Falling four points short in game seven of the NBA Finals is a whole lot further than anyone predicted they would go. But this was their last chance. I don’t see them coming back to the Finals for quite a while unless Ainge can quickly retool this club. Maybe getting this close convinces them to make one more run at it with this current group. ( I kind of hope not.) Maybe Ray Allen gets a three-year deal, to push his contract to a year beyond Garnett’s, maybe Pierce exercises his option and stays, and maybe Ainge picks up a steal in the draft next week or in free agency and Doc is talked into taking one last run at it. Rivers’ press conference tonight sure seemed like it was the end of the line for him.

I don’t see them trying to get the band back together for another run, but it’s a possibility. Overall, this was an equally infuriating and endearing team. One game they don’t show up at all, and the next game they’re playing with such heart and intensity that you are drawn right back in. The last two games of this series were a perfect example of that. They missed Perkins far more than I expected they would on the boards tonight, and just ran out of gas in the second half. The Lakers turned up their energy, and the Celtics couldn’t match it.

Historically, this is a devastating blow. Losing to the Lakers brings LA a step closer to Boston’s all time title number (though the titles won in Minneapolis shouldn’t count, in my opinion) and adds another title for Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant, boosting their stock even more among the all-time greats. This Celtics group is now just a one-title bunch, which I’ll certainly take, but seeing this run makes you wonder what they could’ve done with a healthy KG last season.

The summer will come quickly, with the draft next week, and free agency less than three weeks away. I’ll be watching what Danny Ainge does very closely.


Afternoon Of Game Seven

A few links and items to pass the time until the 9:00pm tipoff.

Bill Simmons will have another Cover It Live in-game chat tonight on ESPN.com, but it will start at 8:00pm tonight.

Game Preview: NBA Finals, Game 7 – Celtics at Lakers– Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com has the preview.

Pierce on brink of joining royalty – Chris Mannix has Paul Pierce embracing the moment and looking to add to his legacy.

Kobe’s legacy on the line in Game 7 – Mitch Lawrence says Kobe has the most to gain and lose tonight.

Why the Celtics will win Game 7 – Chris Forsberg tries to boost your confidence.

Why the Lakers will win Game 7 – Andy Kamenetzky does the opposite.

With legacies and a title on the line, these factors could decide Game 7 – Lee Jenkins tries to sort out what’s going to happen.

Lots of Legacies at Stake in Game 7 – Kevin Henkin looks at what’s at stake.

Perk or No Perk, the Celtics Got This – Jon Duke examines how the Celtics will fill in for Perkins.

Celtics, Lakers feel electricity of Game 7 – Marc J. Spears talks to those who have been there before.

Win or lose, Celtics will do it together – Mark Kriegal calls the Celtics chances of winning tonight “slim, at best.”

Desperate teams should make for epic Game 7 – Todd Behrendt says nothing about tonight is predictable.

Ray Allen talks a good game about not talking – Steve Buckley with an afternoon column on Ray Allen, perhaps playing his last game as a Celtic.

Globe Sports editor Joe Sullivan and Chad Finn preview tonight’s game:


Bob Ryan also weighs in.


Obseervations from Patriots mini-camp today – Ian R. Rapoport, Mike Reiss, Christopher Price, Andy Hart.

Bill O’Brien comes over to talk – Albert Breer with what the QB coach had to say today.

Basketball Armegeddon 2010. Tonight. 9:00PM. Be There.

So it all comes down to this. 8 preseason games, 82 regular season games, and 23 playoff games leave us with just tonight to determine the NBA champion. (I didn’t say “World” Champion because I don’t want Gregg Popovich coming after me.)

Do the Celtics have one more big game left in them? Or is the tank completely empty, especially with Kendrick Perkins out? Can overcome the crowd, the early energy of the Lakers, the relentlessness of Kobe?

It’s a tall order. But if this Celtics team has shown us anything, it’s that they are resilient, and can rise to the occasion when needed.

Dan Shaughnessy looks at what is the last chance for this Celtics core to do something special together. He notes:

The mind games have already begun. Folks at Staples Center departed from routine and left the Game 6 score on the big board over the court for yesterday’s practices. The chagrined Celtics were forced to work with “89-67’’ staring down at them from the rafters. Sounds like something Red Auerbach would have done in the old days.

I don’t know if that imtimidates the Celtics, or makes them angry. The Soxaholix has a take on Shaughnessy’s column this morning.

 Steve Buckley also has a look at the final curtain call for this group. Peter May says that this game will determine this unit’s place in franchise history.  Bill Reynolds says that game 7 at home is why the regular season matters, and he thinks it will be too great an advantage for the Celtics to overcome. Howard Bryant says that game 7 will be decided by Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce.

Mark Murphy has Kendrick Perkins crushed that he cannot play tonight, and depressed that this era seems to be coming to an end right before his eyes.  Julian Benbow has the Celtics making their last stand without Perkins. Kevin McNamara has more on Perkins being sidelined for Game 7 tonight. Bill Doyle says that this game will have everything…except Perkins. Scott Souza looks at the Celtics options with Perkins out. A. Sherrod Blakely says that Perkins will still be an integral part of this team tonight.

Bob Ryan says that this one will come down to big man play, and revisits the game 7’s that this unit has played together. Ron Borges has Rajon Rondo trying to view this as just another game. Kevin McNamara says that game 7 is where legends are made. Jimmy Toscano tells us what we’ll see in game 7. Flannery tells us What to watch for tonight. Kirk Minihane has 10 questions that will be answered tonight.

Gary Washburn says that the Celtics will need a legacy game from Rasheed Wallace tonight, who can justify his contract with one game. Steve Bulpett has the tag-team duo of Wallace and Glen Davis needing to step into the spotlight tonight. Paul Flannery looks at what the Celtics need from Wallace tonight. The Celtics recuited Wallace on the pitch of having a chance to win a title, and tonight comes that chance. Chris Forsberg has Wallace getting a chance to earn his keep. Rich Levine also looks at Wallace and Davis getting a chance to step in.

The Eagle-Tribune plays good cop, bad cop today, Michael Muldoon says that the Celtics don’t have a chance in H-E-double hockey sticks, while Bill Burt says that the Celtics are the better T-E-A-M and will win. Tim Weisberg says that it is going to take one last amazing effort from the Celtics.

Shira Springer looks at the approach Phil Jackson is taking to his first ever game 7 in the NBA Finals. Monique Walker adds that this is the first game 7 in the Finals for any of these Lakers. Dan Duggan has Kobe Bryant just ready to do his job.

Benbow’s notebook says that Rajon Rondo cannot disappear again if the Celtics have any hopes of winning. Doyle’s notebook says that 17 stitches in the chin from a Ron Artest elbow (no foul) aren’t going to slow down Rondo.

Walker’s Lakers notebook has Andrew Bynum ready to go for game 7. McNamara’s notebook has more on Bynum, plus Doc Rivers talking about stretching the minutes for his starters tonight.

More links coming under a separate post, which will be BELOW this one….

Sox Back Lester, Now Just Three Games Out of First

Jon Lester went seven innings last night, giving up just a pair of runs to pick up his eighth win of the season in the Red Sox 6-2win over the Arizona Diamondbacks last night at Fenway Park.

A reminder that tonight’s game has been moved to 6:00pm, to allow you to catch more of the Celtics/Lakers championship game.

I have to say that the Celtics extended run, and getting to game seven tonight has spared us a whole lot of sports radio soap operas about the Red Sox. If the Celtics weren’t playing this week, all we would’ve heard would be about Manny’s return to Boston this weekend. As it is, the Globe has a nearly 1500-word feature from Stan Grossfeld about whether Manny will be booed or not this weekend.

Resurgent Red Sox slice lead to 3 – Bill Ballou looks at last night’s win, and the Red Sox slow climb back into the AL East race.

Jon Lester’s changeup has become weapon – Mike Fine looks at Lester’s new, diverse offerings on the mound.

Lester won’t be left out of discussion of the best – Alex Speier says one of the four best lefties in MLB, along with CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee and Johan Santana.

Lefty Doubront ‘a fun kid to watch’ – Joe McDonald has a look at Friday’s starter for the Red Sox.

Pedroia rediscovering his stroke – Brian MacPherson has the former AL MVP getting back on track.

Doubront on fast track – Benjamin’s notebook has more on the rookie and other items.


Attitude adjustment – Albert Breer examines whether the Patriots are making progress on their shortcomings of last season.

Rookies looking to catch on – Mike Reiss looks at a pair of rookies who could contribute to the offense from day one.

Early coaching tendencies – Shalise Manza Young profiles new Patriots assistant Corwin Brown.

Hoyer having great minicamp with Patriots – Christopher Price is impressed with the second-year QB.

Eventful day for Pats’ Aaron Hernandez – Tom E Curran with a look at the fourth-round pick.

Taylor Price quick to catch on – Karen Guregian has the wide receiver prospect having to be a quick study.

Pats’ hopeful Farnham has a mentor in Marshfield’s Morey – Glen Farley’s notebook looks at the former Brown receiver getting some advice.


In Cam Neely, the Bruins have the right face for the franchise – Mick Colageo says that the Bruins the right move.

Boston Bruins make Cam Neely president – Mike Loftus says that while it’s not a big move, it’s not altogether ceremonial, either.

Neely administration greeted by fanfare – Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has more on Neely, and Peter Chiarelli saying that he’s going to hang on to the number two pick.

Lakers Trounce Celtics, Game Seven Tomorrow Night

The Celtics were never in this one last night, as the Lakers had more energy, more hustle, more everything, in an 89-67 rout of Boston in game six. The Lakers defense smothered the Celtics all night long, holding them to 33% shooting on the night, and they dominated the boards by a margin of 52-39.

To make matters worse, it sure appears that Kendrick Perkins will be out for game seven, as the Celtics center suffered a knee injury that forced him out of the game.

CelticsLinks.com – Get the entire picture from last night here.

It was a no-show job – Bob Ryan says that the ugly score fully represents the nature of this game.

Celtics left to put back the pieces for Game 7 – Paul Flannery has the Celtics in a familiar spot last night, and says that it will be up to Rajon Rondo to lead this team in game seven.

Tough road for Celtics – Steve Bulpett says that, as usual, the Celtics will need to do things the hard way.

Celtics’ troubles just multiplied – Peter May says that Lakers fans called it early last night when they chanted “Boston Sucks.”

What’s up for Game 7, Doc? – Gary Washburn wonders what adjustments Doc Rivers can make for Thursday night.

Can Celts draw inspiration from injury? – Chris Forsberg wonders if the Celtics can use Perkins’ absence as motivation tomorrow night.

As in Game Six, there will be no secrets in Game Seven – Rich Levine says that like last night, the Celtics know exactly what they need to do for game seven.

Perkins injures right knee; status unknown – The Globe notebook updates us on the condition of Perkins.

Draft sneaks up on distracted Rivers – Yeah, the draft is just a week away.

Expect a classic in Game 7 of Celtics-Lakers – Adrian Wojnarowski says tomorrow night’s game will turn this series into an epic.

Red Sox

Clay Buchholz picked up his ninth win to continue his strong season, as the Red Sox beat the Diamondbacks 6-3 at Fenway Park last night. Buchholz is quietly 9-4 with a 2.67 ERA on the season.

Buchholz, Sox good enough – Amalie Benjamin reports from a Celtics-influenced Fenway Park. To avoid a repeat, the Red Sox have changed the start time of Thursday’s game.

David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia start to roll – John Tomase has two key members of the Red Sox lineup coming alive.

Red Sox lineup continues to outpace expectations – Alex Speier looks at the surprising Red Sox offense.

Felix Doubront’s name comes up – Michael Silverman’s notebook has the 22-year-old lefty expected to take Daisuke Matsuzaka’s spot in the rotation for Friday.

The most interesting Red Sox draftee – DJ Bean is fascinated by fourth-round pick Garin Cecchini.


Patriots quietly moving on – Ian Rapoport has the Patriots lining up Nick Kaczur in Logan Mankins spot, and not making any comments on the guard’s comments.

Old college try by Warren – Shalise Manza Young has Ty Warren finishing up his degree this offseason.

Wilfork focuses on getting ready, not contracts – Mark Farinella has Vince Wilfork, new contract in hand, focused on preparation, not the contracts of his teammates.

Bill Belichick won’t ‘get into’ Logan Mankins issue – Rapoport’s notebook has the Patriots coach not commenting on Mankins.

Cam Neely moves in as Bruins prez – Stephen Harris looks at what this move means for Neely and the Bruins.

Afternoon One-liners

A hockey source just confirmed it: Cam Neely to be named President of the Boston Bruins tomorrow at TD Garden. More at CSNNE.com in a bitTue Jun 15 20:02:30 via UberTwitter

  • Glenn Ordway shared this pearl of wisdom with listeners today: It will be much harder for the Celtics to win tonight if they fall behind by 15 points early, than if they keep it close the whole game.
  • Bill Simmons will do another in-game chat on ESPN.com during tonight’s game.
  • As before, CSN’s Celtics Pregame Live will start at 7:30 tonight, and Post Game Line will be on immediately after the game.

Celtics Look To Close Things Out In LA

With a win either tonight (9:00PM ABC) or Thursday, the Celtics can clinch their 18th NBA Championship. It won’t be easy however, as they will need to win in Los Angeles against a determined Lakers squad to do it.

Gerry Callahan is convinced that Doc Rivers will leave the Celtics by the end of this week, and says we need to appreciate what he has done here.

Peter May looks at why the Celtics must end this series tonight. Steve Bulpett writing on his Delta airlines flight to LA, says that the Celtics are focused on getting the job done tonight in game six. Gary Washburn says that that Celtics need to take care of business tonight, and not let things get to a game 7. He’s a bit concerned that Paul Pierce said that the Celtics have two games to get one. Tim Weisberg has the Celtics looking to keep their emotions in control as they try to close things out.

Dan Duggan has Kevin Garnett finally able to match his swagger with his play. Bill Reynolds looks at how far the Celtics have come since February. Chris Forsberg looks at what to watch for tonight. Kirk Minihane looks at whose stock has risen and fallen during these NBA Finals.

Mark Murphy has the Celtics close to their goal, and ready to close out another favored opponent. A. Sherrod Blakely says that it is fitting that the Celtics need to close out on the road. Julian Benbow has the Celtics feeling up to the challenge of winning on the road. Jennifer Toland has the Celtics prepared for the most difficult game of their season, perhaps of their careers. Jim Fenton has the Celtics looks to continue their road success of this season. He also notes that the Celtics have used teamwork to get this far.

Dan Shaughnessy recalls the times that the Celtics have clinched titles on the road, including four times against the Lakers. Steve Buckley has the Celtics poised to be the seventh champion in an eight-year Boston run. (Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, guys.) Robert Lee has the Celtics on a mission to finish the job.

Fenton has Tony Gaffney enjoying his ride with the Celtics.

Monique Walker says that the defending champions are still very confident.

Benbow’s notebook has the Celtics hoping that the Big Three can all be on the same wavelength again. Murphy’s notebook has Rivers wanting his team to keep their composure. Fenton’s notebook has Rivers remembering the last team to lose a 3-2 series lead, the 1994 Knicks, of which Rivers was a member.


The Patriots start their mandatory mini-camp today, but Logan Mankins will not be there, and if he has his wish, he will only come to Foxborough as an opponent in the future. The restricted free agent guard hurled some verbals bombs at the Patriots yesterday and demanded a trade. Mike Reiss was the first with the story yesterday. Shalise Manza Young and Albert R. Breer in the Globe report that contrary to Mankins’ statements, the Patriots did make him a sizable offer that would make him among the highest paid at his position in the league, yet Mankins still insists that the team did not make him an offer, and instead did not keep their word and treated him poorly.

It’s hard to work up much furor over a guard, even one as talented and durable as Mankins, even more so when the facts don’t appear to be on his side. Karen Guregian nails it today, saying Mankins crossed the line and should’ve just kept his mouth shut.

Check out PatriotsLinks.com for all the stories on the Patriots today.

A few other links from this morning:

5 questions worth mulling… – Rich Garven has five questions heading into mini camp.

Manny and Papi: The myths and magic of a once dynamic duo – With Manny Ramirez coming back to town this weekend, Rob Bradford talks to David Ortiz about what their relationship was really like.

Is Clay Buchholz really an ace? – Nick Underhill examines whether the young pitcher is as good as his numbers.

Check RedSoxLinks.com for all the Sox coverage today.