Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your sausage McGriddle.

Shira Springer, Boston Globe: Did you expect a pre-Finals news conference to pass without Lakers coach Phil Jackson taking a jab at the Celtics? When questioned about potential physical play in the series, Jackson took his first swing. "We don't have a smackdown mentality," he said. "You might have seen that with [Kevin] Garnett on [Orlando's Dwight] Howard in Game 6 in Boston, where he was smacking Howard's arm and was finally called for an offensive foul. That's not our kind of team. We don't go out there to smack people around. I call it more resiliency. We're a more resilient ball club. We try to stay strong and play hard. But we're going to have to withstand some of that. We're going to have to play through it. We have some guys who are capable of playing to that style in [Derek] Fisher and Ron [Artest] and obviously Kobe [Bryant]. But our big guys are going to have to stand up because that's basically what got the Celtics through Orlando." Lamar Odom(notes) took a more diplomatic approach. "[All the series] have been physically demanding, even this last one, all the running we had to do," said Odom. "This one will be physical, if they let us play a little bit." Jackson did show sympathy for Kendrick Perkins(notes), one of the Celtics' most physical players. The Lakers coach said his team had no desire to frustrate Perkins in an effort to force the center into a technical foul. One more technical and Perkins will earn an automatic one-game suspension. "I don't even like to think about those kind of things," said Jackson. "Those things I think should be wiped out. Flagrant fouls. Technical fouls. It just means the longer you've been in the playoffs the more penalized you are. It seems like that's not a really good code right now."

Kevin Ding, Orange County Register: Andrew Bynum(notes) had 70 milliliters — nearly 2 1/2 fluid ounces — drained from his right knee early Monday morning in a procedure done by Lakers doctor Steve Lombardo. Bynum said his knee, which has torn cartilage in it, was still medicated from the procedure, so he wasn't sure how it was feeling. But he said: "It supposedly makes you feel more healthy." Bynum's understanding is that there are no major ramifications to the drainage, and he intends to practice Wednesday to test how much his knee has improved. Game 1 of the NBA Finals is Thursday night. Bynum is aware Kobe Bryant(notes) had his swollen right knee drained after Game 4 of the playoffs' opening round and has played well ever since. "He's obviously feeling much better," Bynum said. "You could tell he was a step slow before."

Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston.com: Rajon Rondo(notes) and Rasheed Wallace(notes) were limited during the Boston Celtics' practice session Monday. Rondo, who suffered muscle spasms during the Eastern Conference finals against the Orlando Magic, then landed hard on his back during a first-quarter drive in Friday's clinching Game 6, participated in what Celtics coach Doc Rivers estimated was 3/4 of the practice, but was held back with eyes towards Thursday's Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Wallace developed back spasms during Game 5 against Orlando, then departed in the fourth quarter of Game 6 when the symptoms worsened. Rivers held the reserve big man out of contact drills Monday and remains concerned about his availability moving forward. Rondo was on the court and active during 5-on-5 drills to close out the session; Wallace watched from the sidelines. "Rondo felt pretty good, he went 75-80 percent of practice," said Rivers. "Rasheed is not right yet, he did the skeleton offense stuff, but other than that, we didn't allow any contact. So if we have a concern right now with anybody, [Wallace] would be the only one."

Greg Beacham, AP: Although Andrew Bynum didn't play in the 2008 NBA finals, he remembers how it all ended. Boston Celtics fans celebrated their clinching victory by throwing rocks and other projectiles at the Los Angeles Lakers' departing bus, also rocking it back and forth. "I only saw a couple of games, and it was crazy-the energy, the fans," said Bynum, who was out for the season with an injured kneecap. "That bus ride back to the hotel, it wasn't the greatest." Bynum kept that memory close for the past two years, and so did most of his teammates. Although the Lakers' roster is remarkably similar to the group that lost to Boston two years ago, Bynum sees two big reasons Los Angeles might have a better shot to do the rocking this time. Ron Artest(notes) and Bynum said Monday they hope to play major defensive roles in the Lakers' NBA finals rematch with the Celtics, starting Thursday night at Staples Center. Artest is the Lakers' only newcomer this season, while Bynum has postponed surgery on his right knee to participate in the Lakers' playoff run. Unlike Kobe Bryant, who professes no special interest in a Celtics rematch, Bynum is thrilled this run is ending with Boston. "It's a great opportunity for us to get one back," Bynum said. "You never want to let something like that sit. I know it means a great deal (historically), but I'm more concerned about my own history."

Mark Murphy, Boston Herald: Last week's reprieve aside, Kendrick Perkins remains on thin ice with six postseason technical fouls, just one short of a one-game suspension. Doc Rivers admittedly is worried that his center is one bad move or word away from leaving the Celtics undermanned against the Lakers' big front line in the NBA Finals. "Clearly what I've talked about hasn't worked," the Celts coach said after yesterday's practice. "Maybe I should have another one. I'm concerned by it, honestly. It's going to be a physical series, and there's going to be guys that get tangled up under the basket, and there's going to be officials who want to clean the game up. Perk may be in that." It all goes back to Rivers' beef with a perceived escalation in double technical fouls, a measure taken to clear up potential clashes between teams. Four of Perkins' six postseason techs have come from double-technical situations. "And that's why I've been on this double-technical thing for a month now," Rivers said. "It's part of the seven techs (that lead to a suspension) and it really shouldn't be, and it's a factor. I wouldn't be surprised if it's a factor in this series."

Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel: When it comes to this summer's free agency, NBA executives are expected to be knocking on doors at 12:01 a.m. July 1, the earliest such contact can be made. When it comes to Carlos Boozer(notes), the Utah Jazz free agent might be the one knocking on a few South Florida doors. Like Nick Arison's. Or Dwyane Wade's.(notes) Or Erik Spoelstra's. No prime outside free agent has shown more of an ongoing commitment to South Florida. No prime outside free agent might make the process as easy for the Miami Heat. "Me and my wife made this our home six years ago and we'll be here forever to live," the German-born, Alaska-raised power forward said Monday, now in the process of moving from Coconut Grove to Coral Gables. In promoting his series of youth basketball camps that will run throughout the summer at various Miami-Dade venues, starting next Monday at Gulliver Prep in Kendall, Boozer cast himself as someone who doesn't need to be sold on the virtues of year-round South Florida living. And when it comes to the Heat, he might have more insight into the team's direction than any free agent. Boozer speaks regularly with Arison, the Heat's vice president of basketball operations Nick and son of Heat owner Micky Arison, not to get an edge on free agency, but because of a shared basketball background that dates to Nick's time as the Duke team manager and Olympic team liaison. "That's my friend. We're going to be friends for life," Boozer said. "We've been friends for years since our Duke days. Our friendship precedes whatever happens in business." Then there is the relationship with Wade. The two have grown especially close since playing on the 2004 Athens Olympic team. "Me and D-Wade are really close," he said, with the two having consoled each other through marriage difficulties and other deeply personal issues.

Joe Freeman, The Oregonian: Officially, the Trail Blazers are 23 days away from the NBA draft, which leaves ample time for last-moment scouting and maneuvering in preparation for the annual event that has helped transform the franchise into a winner in recent seasons. But in football terms, the front office says, the team is facing a first-and-goal and time is ticking off the clock. "We can see the goal line from where we're at now," said Chad Buchanan, the Blazers' director of college scouting. "We started with the kickoff and we've driven down to the 10 yard-line." Staring at that end zone, the Blazers will hold their second round of predraft workouts this morning, when six draft prospects — three guards and three forwards — visit the team's practice facility in Tualatin. It will be the first of seven tentatively scheduled workouts this month for the Blazers, who hold the No. 22 and 44 picks of the draft. This year's draft class is widely regarded as being a deep one, even after headliners John Wall and Evan Turner, and multiple published reports suggest that the Blazers are diligently working behind the scenes to move up in the first round to try to land a potential difference-maker. General manager Kevin Pritchard refused to reveal specifics about possible trade scenarios or speculation, but did acknowledge that he has engaged in talks with other GMs and that the "buildup" to legitimate trade discussion is "starting right now."

Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel: Matt Barnes(notes) will test the free-agent market this summer. Barnes said minutes ago that he will not exercise his player option for the 2010-11 season, but he added that he hopes to return to the Orlando Magic. "As for me and my contract situation, I'm going to opt out," Barnes told reporters gathered at RDV Sportsplex this morning. "Always worrying about the team and stuff like that is something you have to do during the season, and I'm 100 percent with that. But now it's about me and my family and what's best for us. I've expressed throughout the season that I've loved my time here and would love to return. But I think I know more than anybody that this is a business. The organization has to do what's best for the team. Hopefully, I impressed them enough to bring me back and give me something decent, but we'll have to wait and see about that."

Antonio Gonzalez, AP: Magic general manager Otis Smith wanted to be clear: He's not looking to overhaul the roster again. Unless he does. One eye on the past and another on the future, the never-afraid-to-take-a-chance general manager doesn't expect any major moves this offseason. Even after failing to return to the NBA finals, Smith believes Orlando already has the roster to win its first championship. "We're not a team that's that far away, so I can't sit here and say, `Yeah, we're going to make all these drastic changes because we're miles away,'" Smith said Monday. "We're not miles away. We're not at the bottom third of our league. We're at the top of our league. And with that said, we have to do things diligently and with the understanding of the aspect that we're putting the team-slash-puzzle together and that everything is going to have to fit."

Perry Farrell, Detroit Free-Press: For Pistons president Joe Dumars, drafting a potential NBA player means more than just watching film and conferring with scouts, especially when dealing with a youngster who has to exhibit patience and talent to keep team chemistry in order. Dumars said if you asked Austin Daye(notes), DaJuan Summers(notes) or Jonas Jerebko(notes) what his conversations with Dumars were like before being drafted, "They would tell you that during the pre-draft meetings we had with them before the draft we talked to them about what's going to happen when you're not playing for two months. Guys are like, `I'll be able to handle it.' And what I say to guys is, 'It's easy to say that today because the draft is in two weeks and you really want your name called out. I'm sure you're willing to say whatever to me right now, but that's going to be real and that's going to be a reality for you. Don't tell me today you're going to be OK with it and think that once it starts you're going to be able to sulk and pout and get sympathy from me. It's not going to happen.'"

Ric Bucher, ESPN: P.J. Carlesimo has an agreement in principle to join the Toronto Raptors as an assistant coach under Jay Triano, according to league sources. [...] An official announcement is expected later this week.

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