Game 3 pregame: Doc prepares, Phil warns



Doc Rivers expects the Lakers in Game 3 to do exactly what they did to the three-point demon in the second half of Game 2. Namely, pay extra attention to the Boston off guard as he dives off of screens, and alternately use Kobe Bryant's(notes) strengths in defending Allen, alongside Boston point man Rajon Rondo's(notes) defense.

"They will use Rondo's guy," Rivers said before Game 3, whether that guy is Bryant or some other defender, in hoping to crowd Allen out of good looks at the hoop. Bryant "will face guard" Allen, at times, and the Lakers will likely "trap him when he runs back off of any pin-downs."

The counter to that? The Celtics will no doubt try to open up the floor on the other side, anticipating Los Angeles' pressure and increased attention on Allen as he curls off a pick. The probable counter to that? Maybe the Lakers have anticipated the Celtics' anticipation, and are already planning on sagging off Allen a bit as he gathers a pass, thinking that Allen is looking pass-first, ready to duck into the passing lanes.

The response to all that? It's a Game 3, and you've got to love the playoffs.

"It's nothing we haven't seen," Rivers promised.

Rivers dismissed any Laker complaints about the refereeing, complaining instead that Los Angeles was using "different math," because the Celtics had been in foul trouble the entire series. The Lakers have, in fact, shot much more free throws than the Celtics in this series, but I would warn each and every one reading this to back off of using free throw attempts as a barometer to judge a poorly called series before then telling you that both teams have gotten raked over in these Finals. Equally.

Rivers went on to discuss his instructions to the Celtics, after his team had to fly cross-country after Game 2 ("go home and get some sleep"), and also agreed with a reporter as to a quirk in Kendrick Perkins'(notes) recent play on offense.

"He was far more effective early in the year," Rivers mused after little prodding, crediting his backslide to Perkins' slowed technique in getting shots up, and the length of time between the playoffs, and the NBA's offseason that allows players to work on their offensive moves.

The Boston coach took the time to congratulate recent New Orleans hire Monty Williams, "one of the few players that I played with and coach. It makes you feel like you're a thousand years old." Williams had credited Rivers as being the first person to tell him that he had what it took to coach in the NBA.

Rivers went on to point out that he's "really happy for" Williams, before mentioning that he only "told him he was going to be a coach some day because I told him I was about to cut him soon as a player."

Speaking earlier, Lakers coach Phil Jackson was asked about his team's "unpredictable" nature, and whether he wonders or not if his squad is "a championship team of that caliber."

The coach dove right into Triangle-speak.

"It's not that you come out and run X, Y, or Z and get it accomplished. You have to be able to read the defense and make adjustments on the fly. It's very important that guys are capable of ding that. We call them ‘automatics.'"

Jackson also pointed out some of the reasons he thinks NCAA coaches have been unable, by and large, work successfully as NBA coaches.

"It's not an easy job, you know, when it's 200-some days depending on how far you go into the playoffs. It's a pretty arduous task as far as dealing with stars of all ranges coming to the NBA and dealing with them and team for 82 games. It's a long march, and that gets difficult. A big difference from the 30 or whatever you coach in college."

Doc Rivers was a little more pragmatic in his analysis.

"They've all had bad jobs."

Before taking off, Jackson pointed out that his team will watch Andrew Bynum(notes) "closely," as he recovers from his first game-travel-game stretch in a while, and that any Bynum let down could "be a good opportunity for Lamar [Odom] to get into the game.

"He's been coming into the game probably two, three minutes later than usual, and I think that affected him a little bit.

"The early momentum," Jackson continued, is what we're going to have to check, that's what's important. Come out and absorb the crowd energy and whatever that fuels into the game and get into the game and go from there. Once that's over, and the adrenaline is burned, you see what goes in the game, and that's the adjustments you make as a team."

Made a bit more concise? Go ahead and work yourselves into a lather, Celtics. We won't be the ones tugging on our shorts when it ends.

That's the promise, at least. We'll see how Game 3 turns out.

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