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.

Patriots

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.

Mike Barnicle Says…

Celtics fans are pathetic for shouting ‘Kobe …..” on national TV and then complaining about Tom Brady shaking hands with Kobe.Sat Jun 12 18:48:41 via mobile web

The pathetic ones are the ones throwing objects at Kobe Bryant at the free throw line.

Celtics Survive Kobe Explosion, Lead Series 3-2 (Full Links)

Kobe Bryant scored 38 points, making a number of ridiculous shots along the way, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a balanced team effort from the Celtics, who beat the Lakers 92-86 in game five of the NBA Finals, to take a three games to two lead in the series.

Last night’s game was the best of the series in terms of entertainment, refereeing and even announcing, though all three of ABC’s trio had their “please shut up” moments last night.

I know we watched him up close in 2008, but I don’t remember the supposedly all-time classy Derek Fisher being  the flopper, instigator and all-around irritant that he has been in this series. Media people may fawn over how he conducts himself off the court, but I don’t know how they can laud his play on the court.

The Celtics now have two chances to clinch a title, but both will be out on the road in Los Angeles. Game six will be on Tuesday night, and if needed, game seven will be on Thursday night.

Mark Murphy has the Celtics pulling out a win that Doc Rivers foresaw (and Phil Jackson apparently couldn’t). Julian Benbow says that the Celtics needed a group effort to overcome Kobe’s fireworks. Kevin McNamara has the Celtics surviving a barrage of Bryant’s best shots and ready to move on to LA and play for a title. Bill Doyle says that with the series assured of a Hollywood ending, the Celtics are in position to capture the most unlikely championship in club history. Scott Souza has the Pierce of 2008 showing up and leading the way for the Celtics. Jim Fenton has just one win now separating the Celtics from a title. Chris Forsberg has the Celtics able to absorb Kobe’s best shot. A. Sherrod Blakely has the Celtics thinking just one more game. Jeff Howe has the Celtics seizing momentum in the series. Peter F. Stringer has the Celtics looking for just one more.

Steve Bulpett has Doc Rivers rising above the continued jabs that Phil Jackson takes at the Celtics coach and team. Bob Ryan says that the Celtics will take Kobe scoring 38 of his team’s 86 points, because it means the Lakers offense is not running as it should be. Paul Flannery looks at the latest installment of an increasingly incomprehensible NBA finals.  Ron Borges has the Celtics Big Three finally all contributing in the same game, and getting a big win as a result. Tim Weisberg notes that if this was indeed the Garden farewell to the Big Three, it will be remembered fondly.

Gary Washburn has Paul Pierce nearly matching Kobe with his own big night (27 points) and getting closer to adding to his legacy in Boston. Bill Burt has Pierce stepping into his familiar role as the Celtics MVP.  Jim Fenton says that Pierce couldn’t win the title on his home floor this year, but he has the opportunity to win it in his hometown after last night’s performance. Peter May says that Pierce’s impact last night was felt well beyond his 27 points. Evans Clinchy has Pierce coming up big when his team needed him the most. Kirk Minihane cranks out 10 thoughts from game five. Rich Levine has the team triumphing over the individual.

Dan Shaughnessy has the Globe’s front page story on the game, with the Celtics now one win away from a title. Steve Buckley has the series going where everyone knew that it would – back to LA. Jessica Camerato has Boston reclaiming the paint…and the series with their play. John Hollinger has more on the Pierce/Bryant duel. Henry Abbott says that the Celtics bench needs to sit their butts down and not be so…amped. Former Celtics skeptic Tom E. Curran is a new believer in this team.

Bob Hohler looks at the continued growth of Rajon Rondo, with a couple moments last night showing he still has room to mature. Dan Duggan has Rondo progressing last night even as the game went along. Robert Lee examines Rondo’s transformation from weak link to superstar. Robert Mays has Ray Allen, despite poor shooting, still contributing to the team, even with a sleepless night caused by his son’s diabetes. Michael Muldoon has the “old” Keven Garnett showing up at just the right time.  Frank Dell’Apa has Garnett with his best game of the series, despite a few self-described “knucklehead plays” late in the game.

Duggan has John Havlicek still feeling like a member of the Celtics, and noting the line of descent from Bob Cousy to Paul Pierce.

Ryan has an extended look at the place of Kobe Bryant in history, and says that if he doesn’t win a ring this time, it’s not his fault. Jennifer Toland has Kobe Bryant’s big night not enough for the Lakers. Monique Walker has the Lakers defense coming up short in the wake of Bryant’s huge night. Dan Ventura has the Lakers looking forward to winning the next two at home. Ventura also has Lamar Odom again struggling against the Celtics.

Benbow’s notebook has things getting testy again between the two teams, with Rondo shoving Ron Artest after a hard foul on Garnett. Murphy’s notebook has Ray Allen’s son OK after another diabetes scare. The ProJo Celtics Journal has Andrew Bynun determined to play no matter how bad his knee is. Doyle’s notebook has Glen Davis and Nate Robinson still enjoying their time in the spotlight. As the Celtics prepare to head out on the road, Souza’s notebook points out that this team hasn’t minded playing away from home this season. Fenton’s notebook has more on Allen having to take care of his family. Forsberg’s notebook has Pierce and Rondo clearing the air after a first half episode. Blakely’s notebook has Pierce cutting into the Lakers defense with ease. Walker’s Lakers notebook has Ron Artest still off his game.

Washburn’s courtside chatter has Charles Barkley hoping to be an NBA GM.

For the LA view of things, check out the Los Angeles Times and ESPN Los Angeles.

The Red Sox couldn’t finish off a sweep of the Phillies, falling 5-3. Get all the coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

Red Sox Pound Moyer, Phillies – Saturday Quick Links

Jamie Moyer had the worst start of his 24-year Major League career last night, giving up nine hits and nine runs while recording just three outs in the Red Sox 12-2win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Fenway Park.

Get the complete links over at RedSoxLinks.com.

Red Sox 12, Phillies 2: Early show at Fenway - Eric Avidon wonders if social services should be called for what the Red Sox did to the 47-year-old Moyer.

Upon further review, the Red Sox offense has been just fine - Ron Chimelis notes that for all the talk prior to the season about the Red Sox offense being the weak link, it actually has been a strength.

Last hurrah for Lowell as a Red Sox? - Alex Speier wonders if last night’s home run was the last highlight we’ll see from Mike Lowell as a member of the Red Sox.

Humbling time for Moyer, Nelson - Joe McDonald notes that last night for humbling for two pitchers, each for different reasons.

Now Hermida forced on DL - Amalie Benjamin’s notebook has Adrian Beltre sending another Red Sox outfielder to the disabled list.

Celtics

Putting Finals pieces together - Dan Shaughnessy with a number of items and thoughts on the finals. Not bad, though I did shudder that he somehow managed to work a “Spygate” reference in there.

Game 5 could be Allen’s last in Boston - Chris Forsberg looks at what could be the end of the line for Ray Allen in Boston.

Brought to its knee by injury - Steve Bulpett says that without Andrew Bynum, it looked a lot like 2008 out on the court. The Lakers ARE a different team without him.

I’m not sure why though, the Lakers rely so much on Bynum. His talent is undeniable, but he just can’t stay on the court. He’s played in 82 games in a season just once, and the most other than that was 65 this year. In his five seasons in the NBA, he’s played in 46,82, 35,50 and 65 games. That fact that he’s hurt now shouldn’t be a surprise.

Game 5 offshoot four-gone conclusion - Gary Washburn says that tomorrow night has to be the Celtics night if they have any hopes of a title.

Celtics full of fight - Dan Duggan says that it is the resiliency of this Celtics team that really stands out.

Misc

Patriots do the OLB shuffle - Mike Reiss doesn’t think the Patriots have done enough at outside linebacker. He also thinks they’re making a mistake in playing hardball with Logan Mankins.

Hey offense, it’s time to diversify - From yesterday, Karen Guregian looks at some changes that could be coming to the Patriots offense.

USA vs. England preview - John Shimer on WEEI.com offers up a preview of today’s World Cup match.

Celtics Take Game Four Sparked By Davis, Robinson (Full Links)

For most of the first three quarters last night, game four of the NBA Finals looked like the first three games – ugly and painful to watch. There were more head-scratching calls, but by the end of the game, the officials weren’t the story of this one, either to the relief or chagrin of David Stern and the rest of the NBA higher-ups.

The story turned out to be the play of the Celtics bench in the fourth quarter – Glen Davis, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Rasheed Wallace, along with starter Ray Allen played much of the period, against the Lakers starters, and put this one away. Davis (18 pts) was a bowling ball under the boards, Robinson (12 pts) made some big shots, Tony Allen played the best defense on Kobe Bryant of anyone in this series, and Wallace played tough on Gasol. The result was a 96-89 Celtics win to even the series at 2-2.

If anyone had any remaining doubts that Mike Breen is an unabashed Kobe lover and Celtics hater, they should’ve been put to rest last night. Just search Twitter for the hashtag #breenloveskobe .

Julian Benbow has Doc Rivers needing to look the other way on his usual rule against fourth quarter technical fouls because of the emotion and energy the bench was playing with. Mark Murphy has the reserves taking this one from the Lakers. Lisa Dillman and John Cherwa have the Celtics making this series a best of three. Kevin McNamara has the Celtics getting a badly needed fourth quarter offensive punch from an unlikely source. Bill Doyle has an odd lineup evening up the NBA Finals for the Celtics. A. Sherrod Blakely has the Celtics showing their bench strength.

Dan Shaughnessy has the bench leading the way in his Globe front page story. Ron Borges has the Celtics reserves making “clear that this series is going to be decided by will and perspiration more than skill and inspiration.” Jim Fenton has the bench going above and beyond their assignment. John Hollinger says that the Celtics went ugly for this one. Peter F. Stringer notes that without whistles at every turn, the Celtics were able to outmuscle the Lakers.

Jessica Camerato has the bench turning around the game, and perhaps the series and season for Boston. Bob Hohler has the bench seizing the moment together as a group, despite the prevailing opinion that the Celtics needed the big three to all step up in this one. Michael Muldoon has the Flotsam Four getting the win for the Celtics. Scott Souza has the bench pulling out this must-win for the Celtics. Rich Levine has the wild card paying off for Boston.

Bob Ryan has a look at the entire package that is Glen Davis, calling him the “XXXXX-factor” of this series. Steve Buckley has more on the man-child that is Davis. Tim Weisberg has Davis knocking back prevailing opinion with his performance. Jeff Jacobs says that Davis wanted this one even more than Kobe. Chris Forsberg has Davis’ energy charging up the entire team, and building. Marc D’Amico has more on the dynamic duo of Davis and Robinson.

Steve Bulpett notes that the only thing pretty about this one was the final score. Paul Flannery says that this one might’ve been Doc Rivers’ gutsiest coaching job.  Bill Reynolds insists that this series is still going to come down to The Big Three. Paul Jarvey says that once again, this game came down to rebounding. Kirk Minihane offers up ten thoughts from this one.

Peter May has Paul Pierce coming through as a starter and closer for the Celtics last night.  Nate Taylor also has Pierce getting things going early and late for the Celtics. Dan Duggan looks at the Celtics stars coming in to finish off what the bench started in the fourth. Shaughnessy has a look at the iron routine that Ray Allen goes through in order to keep his shooting sharp. Frank Dell’Apa has Allen contributing despite another poor shooting night. (4-11) Taylor has Nate Robinson finally getting a chance to shine.

Buckley explores the origins and deeper meanings of the ‘Beat LA’ chant. No, really. And did you know that the Beat LA towels handed out at the Garden were made in CA by a company owned by a Laker fan. Also, Bulpett has TD Garden PA man Eddie Palladino battling badly swollen vocal cords.

Jessica Heslam has Glenn Ordway endorsing Kevin McHale as the next Celtics coach should Doc Rivers step down.

Gary Washburn says that the Celtics had a good handle on Kobe Bryant last night, despite the 33 points the Lakers star put up. Dave McMenamin anoints Tony Allen as a Kobe-stopper.

Dan Ventura says that the Lakers just didn’t have enough off the bench or the boards last night. Arash Markazi has the Lakers letting a golden opportunity slip away.

Monique Walker has Andrew Bynum unable to contribute for the Lakers last night because of his knee injury. Robert Mays has Pau Gasol becoming the Lakers sole factor in the paint with Bynum hurting. J.A. Adande has Bynum’s injury really hurting the Lakers.  Mays also has a look at the relationship between Kobe and Derek Fisher. McNamara has former Rhode Island star Lamar Odom enjoying his time in LA.

Washburn’s Courtside chatter looks at the dubious selections to officiate last night’s game, and a couple other items.

Benbow’s notebook has Rasheed Wallace joining Kendrick Perkins in the “One T away” club. Murphy’s notebook has more on Wallace’s situation and his back. McNamara’s notebook has Bynum’s knee flaring up again on him. Walker’s Lakers notebook has late turnovers doing in the Lakers again. Bill Doyle’s notebook has LA radio personality Vic Jacobs adding a dimension of LA weird to the series. Fenton’s notebook has Pierce getting his offensive game going a bit last night. Souza’s notebook has both teams battling through fatigue and injuries. Blakely’s notebook has more on Pierce’s game last night.

Week Log: Firing On One Cylinder

Welcome to Thursday, and the question everyone wants answered tonight: how many starters will show up against the Lakers in a must-win Game 4 at TD Garden? Be it bad shooting, good Lakers defense, or ridiculously zealous zebras, the C’s are getting big-time play from only one of the Big Three each game, so let’s jump right in and get bloggers’ takes here first.

Celtics

Celtics Green has the constancy of the Big Three running aground against the reef of time. Howard Bryant has KG returning from non-factor status for Game 3 on a night when Ray Allen suffered miserably. Celtics Life can’t remember a bigger drop-off in the history of sports than Allen’s from Sunday to Tuesday. Red’s Army says Ray won’t be this cold again, but wishes everyone could get going at the same time. CelticsBlog is looking for the perfect storm in which the starters are firing on all cylinders and Rajon Rondo is moving the ball.

Banner 18? said the C’s needed more shots to fall on Tuesday night. Without Allen’s oh-fer and the officials’ dominance, Jade McCarthy questions where the Lakers would be right now. Touching All The Bases calls it a frustrating game, as the C’s cut a 17-point deficit to one but couldn’t get over the hump. Courtside View laments that if the C’s could have taken advantage of even one of numerous blown opportunities, the Lakers may have cracked like they did in 2008. Mass Hysteria wishes the C’s had treated the Lakers the way they would have treated any robber breaking into their house. Masshole Sports wants to know why Derek Fisher was crying like a baby in his post-game interview.

Gino’s Jungle dismisses the Lakers’ beef over horrible officiating in Game 2, which they blame for their only loss, while Green Street has Doc Rivers not wanting to hear it either. Jerry Thornton says middle-aged fat guys wearing grey T-shirts are dominating this series with their blatant disregard for the game as it’s meant to be played. North Station Sports brings us ex-ref Tim Donaghy’s catalog of blown calls . . . just from Game 3. Bingo Bar Blog is upset that the officiating is taking away from what should have been a classic series. Evans Clinchy has Rivers frustrated that the refs took Paul Pierce out of Tuesday night’s game.

Boston Blood Sox is miffed at Pierce’s arrogance and thinks he better pray this series does get back to LA.

Red Sox

Stretches like this 14-gamer against bad ball clubs that concludes against the Indians tonight seem to decide the A.L. East every year. While the Yankees dial up sweeps against the dregs of baseball like it was room service, the Sox are continually unable to close the deal. It happened against the A’s last Wednesday, and in Baltimore on Sunday, then again last night in Cleveland.

Full Count says the biggest thing that went wrong for the Sox last night was Justin Masterson on the mound for the Indians, as he turned in the best start of his career. And to think Surviving Grady didn’t see a reversal of Masterson’s cruel fate changing any time soon. If this triggers success for the remainder of his season, Toeing The Rubber may eventually be pleased for Justin, but not right now. Tony Lee has Masterson turning the table on former mound mate Clay Buchholz by out-dueling him last night.

Things were going well enough in Cleveland before Wednesday. Fenway West would settle for Daisuke Matsuzaka pitching half as good as he did Monday night if he could do that in every start for the rest of the season. SoxSpace News says that, after this one, Victor Martinez has put to rest any further discussion of Jason Varitek as Dice-K’s personal catcher. Bosox Injection has Tim Wakefield reaching an innings pitched milestone in Tuesday’s win over the Indians. Fire Brand Of The American League says Wake’s record is testament to his loyalty, selflessness, and love of the game. Better Red Than Dead takes a long look back at all the backstops who have caught Wakefield over 16 seasons.

Joe Haggerty has more rest in Jacoby Ellsbury’s future. Fenway Pastoral has Greater Boston swept away by the Marco Scutaro phenomenon. Boston Dirt Dogs berates the Nation for our lack of a grassroots effort to get more Sox in this year’s All-Star Game.

Odds & Sods
. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world

Wes Welker is in Foxborough participating in OTAs this week and Boston Sports Then And Now is not shocked by his determination and pure will to compete. Mike Reiss considers whether Bill Parcells or Bill Belichick is the greater coach.

Six States, One Blog admits midfielder Steve Ralston is old, but it’s better for everyone now that the Revs have re-signed him. Boston Sports Blog helps us through the World Cup by analogizing each country to an American team we’ll know a whole lot better.

And finally, College Sports Blog has three BC Eagles taken in Tuesday’s first ten rounds of the MLB Draft.

May your weekend be filled with Green success, and we’ll see you back here next Thursday.

Celtics Look To Even Things Up, Sox Fall To Masterson

The Celtics look to even things up in the best-of-seven NBA finals tonight in game four at the TD Garden.

Here are the top stories in the Boston-area outlets this morning.

What to watch for in Thursday’s Game 4 - Paul Flannery has a few things to keep on eye on tonight.

Celtics comeback begins with Game Four - A. Sherrod Blakely says that the Celtics have been in this position before.

Kevin Garnett, missing in action? Nope - In what seems to be a rebuttal to his nemesis Gerry Callahan, Howard Bryant has KG answering his critics on Tuesday night.

Celtics stuck in traffic again - Steve Bulpett points out that the Celtics need to go inside to KG more to allow better spacing for their outside players.

Pierce can’t cash in, won’t credit Artest - Julian Benbow has Paul Pierce and Ron Artest in a subtle battle of words over Pierce’s lack of scoring in this series.

Allen tries to put nightmare behind him - Michael Muldoon has Ray Allen looking to bounce back tonight, and touches on a number of other items as well.

His faith isn’t shot - Bob Ryan has more on Allen trying to get himself straight for game four.

 Perkins’ offense lost in shuffle - Peter May looks at the regression of Kendrick Perkins.

Clifford Ray’s Future Job Interviews and Other Random Celtics Observations - Kevin Henkin weighs in on Perkins and a few other items.

Glen Davis’ play explains everything - Mark Murphy has the Celtics forward perhaps finally discovering himself.

Back still ails Wallace - Bill Doyle’s notebook reports that Rasheed Wallace has been unable to practice because of his bad back.

Get all the rest of the Celtics coverage over at CelticsLinks.com.

Red Sox

Old friend Justin Masterson dominated the Red Sox, pitching a complete-game two hit shutout against his former club, as the Cleveland Indians stomped the Red Sox 11-0last night. An eight-run bottom of the eighth off Boof Bonser and Joe Nelson put this one away for Cleveland.

Masterson shows his worth vs. Red Sox - Gordon Edes has Masterson finally getting a chance to show the Indians his full potential.

Hall hitting the ball, playing all over the place - Peter Abraham has Bill Hall doing what the Red Sox hoped he would do when they signed him.

Contract makes sure Beckett can focus on healing - Rob Bradford says that the contract extension signed by Josh Beckett means that the righty can focus on getting 100% healthy this season.

Lowell a real nowhere man - Amalie Benjamin has Mike Lowell not seeing the field at all these days, but remaining professional.

Get all the rest of the Red Sox coverage from RedSoxLinks.com.

Misc

NBA woos a world audience - Jenn Abelson in the Globe has a look at how the NBA is getting the finals out to China, India, Mexico and parts of Africa.

Teammates reunite outside Fenway - Eamon Convey in the Herald looks at the unveiling of the statue of Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, Dominic DiMaggio and Bobby Doerr outside of Fenway Park.

Deal protects Patriots - Albert Breer looks at the complicated contract signed by fourth-round pick Aaron Hernandez.

Roster Watch – Sam Aiken - Is Sam Aiken a lock to make the Patriots roster this season?

Chicago captures the Cup - Fluto Shinzawa has the Chicago Blackhawks capturing their first Stanley Cup since 1961.

Cup finals proved Bruins’ collapse wasn’t destiny - DJ Bean says that the “fate” card can’t be played anymore.

Fisher Kills Celtics In Clutch

Jackie MacMullan and Bob Ryan are nodding happily this morning, after Derek Fisher was the cold assassin last night, hitting huge shots in the fourth quarter to hold off the Celtics, and boost the Lakers to a 91-84 game three victory at the Garden last night.

I had heard both MacMullan and Ryan last week touting the numerous virtues of the veteran Lakers point guard, almost to an extreme. Their faith in him was rewarded with the Lakers win last night.

After his record setting performance in game two, it was bizarro Ray Allen on display last night as the Celtics guard went 0-13 from the field, including 0-8 from three point land.

Get the full links from this one over at CelticsLinks.com.

The officials were once again a main topic of discussion, and while they are not to blame for the end results of any of these games, they have made all three games horrible to watch. Any non-basketball fans who happen to tune into these games come away with a WWE-like impression.  

What makes things worse, is the NBA’s practice of releasing the names of  the officials assigned to the game on the day of the game. Why not announce them all before the series starts? To do it this way just makes it look like they assign specific officials to specific games based on what they think needs to be done, the environment in which the game is being played, or to “make up” for the previous game.

The NBA continues to keep their head in the sand on this topic, allowing the referees to be the show, rather than the players and the game. There’s no way Kobe Bryant should’ve had five fouls in game two, and there’s no way Paul Pierce should’ve have had five fouls last night. It’s actually so predictable so as to be laughable.  

There has been no flow to these games, no way to enjoy the immense talent and skills on both teams, simply because the officials have not allowed it. They’ve inserted themselves into the games, they’ve made themselves the focus, and for the NBA to stand by and let this happen to the two marquee franchise of the league is inexcusable.

 Believe it or not, the officials working these games are considered the league’s best.

Check out Jessica Heslam’s MediaBiz Blog where she has several media interviews from the game last night, including Charles Barkley, John Havlicek, Cedric Maxwell and Steve Burton.

No more predictions, Paul Pierce must rebound - Steve Bulpett says that unless the Captain can get himself going, his prediction of not going back to LA can still come true.

So Far, It’s Hit Or Miss - Jeff Jacobs says that it is silly to make any sort of prediction about this series.

Slip, sliding away - Paul Flannery notes that the series will come down to rebounding.

Rivers officially miffed at refs - Peter May has the Celtics coach airing some grievances following last night’s loss.

Imagine if the refs weren’t ruining the NBA finals - Jerry Thornton tries to imagine a world in which the refs didn’t try to make themselves the show.

Rollercoaster ride continues for Allen, Garnett - Michael Muldoon touches on a number of points from last night.

Pierce predicts team will bounce back - Frank Dell’Apa has Paul Pierce still confident in his team.

Celtics give away big chance in Game 3 - Tim Weisberg notes that what hurts the most about this one is not the loss, but the fact that this game, depsite not getting all of their weapons firing at the same time, was so winnable.

After disaster, there is a Ray of hope - Gary Washburn has Ray Allen at least glad to get another chance tomorrow night.

Perkins on the bench the entire fourth quarter - Julian Benbow’s notebook looks at why Kendrick Perkins was benched in the fourth quarter.

Red Sox

The Red Sox won their second straight in Cleveland, taking out the Indians 3-2 behind Tim Wakefield, who passed Roger Clemens on the all-time innings list in Red Sox history. Get all the links over at RedSoxLinks.com.

Wakefield honored to pass Clemens - Gordon Edes has the knuckleballer honored and humbled at being in the same company as Clemens.

The night Wakefield found his way … and his smile - Rob Bradford has Wakefield finally following his own reminders.

The joys of father-son - Michael Silverman with a nice look at Terry Francona getting a visit from his Dad Tito on Monday.

Family reunion for Martinez in Cleveland - Edes with a piece yesterday afternoon on the Red Sox catcher being reunited with the family that took him in when he first came to the United States.

A striking change in Buchholz - Amalie Benjamin’s notebook has maturity resulting in fewer strikeouts for Clay Buchholz.

Breen, Van Gundy and Jackson – What Do You Think?

We’re in our second playoff series of being subjected to the ESPN/ABC top NBA broadcast team of Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson.

You’ve seen my thoughts on them here and there – I usually like Van Gundy, don’t like Breen, and Jackson isn’t really a factor to me - but what do you think of them?

The following poll judges them as a group, if you wish to give a specific comment on the performance of Van Gundy as opposed to Breen, or Jackson, then please do in the comment section below.

What Do You Think Of The ABC/ESPN NBA Team?
View Results

 
I’d also like to welcome and thank the latest BSMW sponsor, Greater Boston Tickets. They offer tickets to the best events in the New England area, including the pro sports teams, concerts, theater, and also Vegas and Broadway shows.

Sox Get Win In Cleveland, Celtics, Lakers Ready For Game 3

The Celtics and Lakers are in Boston for tonight’s game three (ABC, 9:00pm, CSN Pregame 7:30pm)  of the NBA Finals with the series tied at a game apiece.

With most of the media traveling East yesterday from Los Angeles, there actually isn’t a ton of articles this morning on the series. Here are the better ones:

Rondo, Allen create matchup chaos - Bill Doyle has the Celtics backcourt causing problems for the Lakers.

Opportunity knocks for Celtics - Chris Forsberg says that the Celtics have the chance to avoid a return to LA, but need to take game three tonight first.

Stop crying foul - Bob Ryan explains what has happened to NBA officiating.

It’s Rajon Rondo’s world right now - Scoop Jackson(!) says that it is time for the media to recognize Rajon Rondo and stop treating him like a child.

Struggling Lamar Odom and Kevin Garnett Will Have to Step It Up in Game 3 - Evans Clinchy says that the two forwards hold the keys to this series.

Change format and give it a rest - Gary Washburn says that it is time to put an end to the 2-3-2 finals format.

It’s been a foul series for Odom so far - A. Sherrod Blakely’s notebook has more on the struggles of Lamar Odom, and a number of other items.

I did not include Gerry Callahan’s column on Kevin Garnett being finished, not because it is *gasp* critical of a local athlete, but because it’s a poorly-written, lousy column. Gerry tries a little too hard to be clever today: “more miles on him than Al Gore’s Gulfstream” Zing! “sounding like a member of the Washington press corps talking about that nasty old hag Helen Thomas.” Zap! “cry like Jim Joyce on Oprah” Slam! “like saying Sly Stallone lost his boyish good looks” Pow!

KG may well be Willie Mays in 1973, OR he might just be hurt, OR maybe he just had two bad games.

NBA Commissioner David Stern was on with Dennis and Callahan this morning on WEEI, and it was great radio. A lot of give-and-take on both sides.

Red Sox

The Red Sox were in Cleveland last night for the first of four with the Indians. Daisuke Matsuzaka threw eight shutout innings as the Red Sox won, 4-1. Get all the coverage over at RedSoxLinks.com.

Has Daisuke actually figured it out this time? - Rob Bradford wonders if Dice-K has finally turned a corner.

It’s a happy homecoming for V-Mart - Joe Haggerty looks at Victor Martinez’s first game back in Cleveland since being traded.

Red Sox fondly remember day they were drafted - The MLB draft started last night, and Daniel Barbarisi talks to Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Josh Reddick and Terry Francona about the days they each were drafted.

Back to school: Red Sox seek impact college players on day one - Alex Speier has the Red Sox taking college players with their first three picks.

Matsuzaka nabs milestone victory - Haggerty’s notebook wraps up a number of loose ends.

Patriots

The Patriots had another round of OTA workouts that were open to the media yesteday.

More OTA action - Andy Hart reports on the on-the-field action yesterday.

Welker not getting caught up - Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots WR saying that his return to the field is no big deal.

Chung’s development a key for Patriots - Mike Reiss looks at whether the second year safety can emerge as a defensive playmaker for the Patriots. Karen Guregian also has a good piece on Chung.

Banta-Cain aims to deliver boost to pass rush again - Christopher Price has the Patriots linebacker looking to bring the pressure again in ’10.

Patriots Already Building Camaraderie During OTAs - Jeff Howe looks at a few plays from yesterday’s session.

International soccer veteran and New England Revolution star forward Taylor Twellman will join Comcast SportsNet for its network-wide World Cup coverage starting on Wednesday, June 9, three nights before the highly anticipated U.S. vs. England match on Saturday, June 12. 

Throughout the World Cup, Twellman will join SportsNet Centralon game days to breakdown the day’s matches at 6 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. Twellman will also contribute to Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight during the month-long tournament.