Centers Of Attention

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Posted by Sekou Smith

LOS ANGELES – Andrew Bynum and Kendrick Perkins will be linked together forever after Thursday night and they might not have to play a second of basketball to make it happen.

The Lakers’ center and his Celtics counterpart are both ailing with right knee injuries and their status for Game 7 of these NBA Finals is in question (Bynum) and serious doubt (Perkins), respectively.

In a series filled with star players and star coaches on both sides, it’s become increasingly clear that the players most important to their respective teams are these two young big men.

(Medical updates on both players will come later this afternoon, so check NBA.com and Twitter for the details.)

Seriously.

You saw the Lakers in Games 4 and 5, when the torn meniscus Bynum has played on throughout this postseason started bothering him to the point where he couldn’t be effective. The Lakers were a different team without him taking up residence in the paint on both ends of the floor. They simply could not slow the Celtics down without him.

You saw the Celtics’ interior defense disintegrate before your eyes in Game 6 Tuesday night, moments after Perkins sprained ligaments in his right knee and had to be carried  to the locker room by Shelden Williams and Brian Scalabrine with 5:30 to play in the first quarter. The Celtics couldn’t stop Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar from getting to the basket, let alone Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers has to make the toughest decision. He has to decide who plays if Perkins cannot. Big Baby Davis and Rasheed Wallace will get first crack at those minutes. Shelden Williams better be ready to go as well.

“It’ll be one of two guys, Rasheed or Baby,” Rivers said after Game 6. “But I’m not sure. We’ve got to get better play out of Baby, and I told him that after the game. We do. He has to come with that same spirit he came in with for the famous Shrek and Donkey game. We need that again, and we need that from everybody.”

That means Kevin Garnett must dip his toes into the paint on both ends of the floor and play to his size if the Celtics are going to battle the Lakers inside in what is, as Garnett put it, the biggest game of the series, the season and the careers for all involved.

(Garnett has been splendid since rebounding from two ugly games to start this series, but he’s still avoiding the paint like the plague in favor of shooting face-up jumpers on offense.)

The bottom line, the team with the rebounding edge has won every game. It doesn’t matter if it’s a slight margin, like the Celtics’ 35-34 edge in Game 5, or a huge one, the Lakers dominated 52-39 with Perkins out of the mix in Game 6. That’s the one statistical factor that has held up throughout this series.

“It’s huge,” Gasol said. “When you out-rebound a team like we did [in Game 6], you’re giving yourself a huge advantage. So it’s really important that we continue to work extremely hard as a group, as a team, on the rebounding. Because it’s just something that you need to control and it gives you an advantage.”

With the uncertainty surrounding Bynum and Perkins, that advantage is up for grabs, just like everything else will be in Game 7.

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36 Comments

  1. Ryanne Ybanez says:

    i think there is game fixing to the ref in favor of LAKERS .
    hope that in game 7 , will be FAIR in both team so that we will see which team is the greatest,
    powerful and crowned as a 2010 NBA champion.

    by the way GO BOSTON GO

  2. carlo says:

    between the rivalry of boston and LA.. everybody goes with the numbers saying Boston dominates LA in its face-offs (boston showing off a 4 – 0 win on game 7’s vs the Lakers).. there’s a saying not only in basketball but in all sports known that “you just can’t win them all”.. boston is due for a loss in a game 7. boston has already reached its peak in 2008. i think this is LA’s year. boston says they want it more, however, LA understands that they don’t just want this more, they need it more. you also can’t argue about who has more heart between these two teams because they’ve already proven one time or another that they’re both winners in their own right. yeah sure boston can certainly beat LA, but not Lakers 2010.

  3. LUKE says:

    nope i dont agree with u ken!!!!lakers will won the championship 2morrow..kobe will vindicate himself..he’s the one..!!!A true M-V-P OF 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!GO GO GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Ken says:

    It all comes down to the heart of being a champion. Who has the heart to win the trophy? I think Celtics has more passion than Lakers. Yes, Kobe is great and have the hear t but it takes the heart of the whole team to win a bat tle.

    Celtics will won the championship.Mark my words and you ‘ll see tomorrow.

  5. badkarma says:

    when perkins went down and was golding his knee…he blew his ACL and definitely its swelling right now. it was a bad fall because he put all his weight on his right foot. there aint no angel in both team its just playing smart basketball. whatever the ref cannot see they let it thru. game 7 will be very interesting game because the weight will be with garnett and wallace plus big davis. honest defense from the paint may make or break them

  6. Lakers in 7 says:

    Tough to hear kenny’s knee is completely blown out. It didnt seem that bad when he initially hurt it.

    I remember something like this happened to the lakers during magic’s rookie year, where he had to step up as center and won the game. I have a feeling that this game will hinge on whoever steps up in that center spot for either team and wins the rebound battle.

    I would look for boston’s other 4 (pierce, allen, rondo, kg) to step it up, rather than looking at whos gonna replace perkins. I’m a little scared that the 4 will do better than they did in game 6… not that they played poorly either….

    As for kobe.. this will be the moment that defines his career. In order for kobe to go down as the all time greatest, he needs to rise up and create a performance worth remembering. So im hoping to see him play the best game we’ve seen from him yet. Of course in order to win, he’ll need the rest of the team to show up big time as well.

    Everything else aside, if someone told you at the beginning of the playoffs, that you will have 1 chance/game to win an nba title on your homecourt… would you take it? GO LAKERS!!!

  7. James says:

    sphinx, I agree. However, in games 1, 3, and 6, the Celts got outplayed. So that axe cuts both ways.

  8. Victor says:

    Fans like John ruin it for the rest of the rest of the Celtics fans, making them look incompetent. Kobe did not cause the injury and that’s pretty clear. If you look at the landing, consider the angle of the knee. That puts a lot of pressure on the ACL (ligament), hence the injury being considered as a multi-strain on the ligament. What makes it horrible is that his pivotal motion and shock absorption upon landing will be the most painful thing. Very unfortunate for Perkins. Boston has to improve intensity and consistency, because they couldn’t buy a basket in some critical moments of game 6. If they bring the energy, this will be a game 7 to remember. LA will edge Boston nonetheless. Go Lakers, back to back baby!

  9. sphinx says:

    i didn’t see it as a cheap shot becuase the world always sees it 1st, Celts would have won gm6/title if Perkins didn’t get hurt at all. all i wanted to see was an even strength match-up but Perk’s injury probably very well nagates a very competitive gm 7 finals. but Kenderick came straight down on it to cause the knee to buckle & crunch……..wasn’t a Laker at fault, nope. Celtics are full of stars, Lakers are half studded. i am still looking for a grinding & competitive gm 7 inspite of ‘man down & out’ (Perkins).

  10. byron cabrera says:

    Personally, as a lakers fan, I think they have to be just as careful. Rasheed could come out bombing threes and Big Baby could dominate yet again. As for Shelden he looks lost every game, but they have to keep on thier toes and do exactly whatthey did in Games 1 and 6play hard and all out! Nothing to it when everyone pitches in their 5 points. Officiating has been starnge this series but ultimately nothing to do withthe outcomes. Whether L.A. or the Celtics win they’ll deserve it for playing a better game. go lakers!

  11. sphinx says:

    Sekou Smith!, you don’t get it?……..Bynum is only reduced to the current old-age Shaquille with his small tear in his knee(small! tear), Bynum’s poor condition was not a factor nor the reason in those losses to Boston, it was (at full credit) the Celtics defense that L.A cannot emulate or penetrate.

  12. not_thinking says:

    this is not new to garnett.
    garnett when in minnesota already played kobe, shaq, malone, payton, fisher in the western finals
    weight it in

  13. sphinx says:

    hmmm!, this piece of garbage, by the name of Sekou Smith, was looking for Perk to get his 7th tech. anyway just so the series would be equalized. he got his wish but only in a more drastic way……this is very good news for Mr. Garbage whom can’t skillfully write!. he’s just another Laker guy whom does not appreciate the term ‘even strength’ and what it stands for, especially in the literal sense of a game 7 of the NBA Finals(the game that comes but once in a rarity blue moon, the very, very last game). the EQUALIZER? well, Sekou received more than what he wished for……..let’s call it the lopsider. besides, all analysts & sports writers were hinting for a game 7 anyhow which may have had a tremendous influence on the finals officials to guide the Lakers to a 7th game. Boston will now need all the heart, more than before, by the ounce to shock the world because Perkins is a huge loss at the worst time.

  14. ARG says:

    John you’re an idiot. First of all Kendricks is moving towards Bynum as he is landing not towards Bryant. You are either a Kobe hater and there is plenty of them out there or just a blind Celtics fan. Eye for an eye huh? You must be the guy who threw the bottle at Odom at TD center while the Kobe was shooting freethrows.

  15. John says:

    Kobe is a cheap shot artist. He intentionally got underneath Perkins and through his leg out. Did Kobe want him to have a blow out knee, no, but he wanted to get his attention next time he goes up. The hard foul from behind was just basketball, but what Kobe did was a cheap shot.

    So I hope the Celtics bring someone in to take Kobe out, and eye for an eye….

    • johny says:

      watch it AGAIN!!! IDIOT!!!!

    • celticblood says:

      Feel bad that Perk isn’t gonna play on thursday but i think the injury was not caused by kobe that was a freak accident.If you watched it again and again..you’ll see it…just don’t be sour graping…Go celts…

      • Kobe's Wife says:

        Watch this video and you’ll see he takes out Perkins balance, causing the awkward landing!

    • Chris says:

      You are an idiot! Kobe does nothing but go for the steal. You don’t need to make excuses yet, you haven’t lost game 7 yet. Oh did I mention your an idiot!

  16. CELTICS ARE DONE says:

    KOBE’S FAULT FOR PERKINS INJURY?? STFU!!

    At the beggining of the series I went nutz because the poor officiating, now I realise its not all the officials fault. You have the two strongest, most talented, most historic teams playing in the finals….there is going to be alot of physical activity. I have noticed, if the refs wanted too, they can pretty much blow the whistle everytime down the floor, but instead they are forced to call fouls that are blatent rather then the tacky fouls….
    Perkins injury…its sad to see him go down like that, but I feel no remorse because Lakers is my team, and Bynum is on one leg himself.
    Kobe will get over 40 in game 7
    Pau and Kobe co-mvp’s
    Lebron stays in Cleveland
    Bynum retires
    Odom re-marries
    Byron Scott new head coach of Lakers
    Kobe becomes greatest of all-time

    • SlowDay says:

      Damn, odom re-marries?

    • Nick says:

      Dude none of those things is happening.

      Kobe will sit the 4th qtr cos it will be a blowout without Perks playing so he wont score more than 30
      Kobe will be MVP because the he’s the best player in the series by a mile
      Izzo decided not to go to Cleveland because he knows LeBron is leaving, where i dont know
      Bynum will have surgery and come back half the player he was
      Haha Odom is a joke
      Hopefully Phil stays on another year or so to 3 Peat
      Jordan is the GOAT. Kobe may be a better shooter but Kobe has some way to go to surpass him

      Also, i agree, Perkins injury is no-ones fault and it didnt cost the Celtics the game as it was already a mauling by then

    • Chris says:

      @ Celtic’s are done, you are hilarious, some big calls their…

      Kobe over 40 – quite possibly?
      Pau co-mvp – NO CHANCE – he was MIA in games 4 and 5
      Lebron stays in Cleveland – probably…
      Bynum retires – WTF?? He is still a kid. Just needs a better understanding of managing his Shaq like frame through the regular season…
      Odom re-marries – hmmm? who the better looking sister?
      Byron Scott new coach – sounds ok if Phil leaves?
      Kobe = GOAT – huge call! Don’t get me wrong I’m a massive LA (and therefor Kobe) fan, however I’m also old enough to have watch MJ in his prime…

  17. MARCus 18 says:

    check the push from rondo to bryant when kobe passed the ball to farmar on their fast break. Check it out. That’s a push.

  18. cherrypopper says:

    channing frye was ridiculed for a week throughout the media, but at least he showed up in the second half of that series, so isn’t it about time for shelden williams to at least get one of those funny blog-entries ? ;-)
    seems to me “the landlord” is playing for los angeles like his woman ! :-P

  19. Chris says:

    How is that Bryant’s fault? If anything, Bynum’s the one whose landing affected Perkins. It’s not a cheap shot, it’s basketball and everyone’s bound to sustain an injury. I will agree however, that the officials are horrible.

  20. Jorge says:

    I’m not quite sure the rebounding edge is – to use your pun – up for grabs. LA easily won that battle game 6, and both teams played without Bynum and Perkins for much of it. I think it’ll come down to Garnett, and how far from the basket he’ll be playing. If Gasol can set up down low, it’s the Lakers’ game to lose.

  21. juniorsgv says:

    well everyone saw how much that took out of the celtics as soon as perkins went down, they were devestated. if perkins isn’t able to play and all signs point to him not playing the celtics don’t have a chance. they might keep it close early but the lakers will pull away end of 1st quarter and be celebrating by games 3rd quarter. i see a rasheed ejection and buncha technicals.

    • LakersOWNceltics says:

      lol, good call, celtics will start getting T’d up left and right mid way through the 2nd half and once one or 2 of their players or coaches get ejected that will be more excuses that the celtics and their fans will be using at their disposal.
      Fact of the matter is that LA is a better team, showed that clearly in game 6 and wants it more. Boston has no chance of taking this away from LA, especially with a guy named Kobe on the Lakers. So everyone here beware…
      ******************Breaking News**********************
      Get ready for crying, excuse filled, sore loser celtic fans. Lakers haven’t won yet and we’re already hearing the excuses poor out as to why they are going to lose.
      So beware of upset crybaby fans blaming their loss to a superior team on perkins being out (laff… as if andrew bynum hasn’t been injured the entire series), blaming it on the officiating, and blaming it on players getting thrown our of game 7 (players who are going to get thrown out due to unsportsman like conduct because they can cope with getting owned and imbarrased by the lakers)…

      Just wanted to get everyone ready for that, so keep an eye out for crying celtic fans.

      • nepaljr says:

        Wow, you have some pretty harsh words for all Celtics fans out there. You mean to tell me that if (and when) the Lakers lose Game 7, not one Lakers fan will cry about how Bynum has been hobbled by his injury. You yourself mention it in your comment. Sure, Celtics fans will be upset if the Celts lose and Perk can’t play. But his injury is a bit different than Bynum’s. Bynum has a torn meniscus, which is sore and swollen. To me, it looks like Perk blew his knee out, which is a heck of a lot worse than sore and swollen. Only time will tell which side will be crying due to injuries to their big men. I just hope the Celts remain undefeated in Game 7s. Haven’t lost one yet (and 4 of the 5 they’ve won have come against your Lakers).

        And for the sake of L.A., I hope not all Lakers fans are as uneducated as you. Have you tried spell-checking ever? You come off as a back-woods bum . . . you should be “imbarrased”

  22. DAVE says:

    tough break for boston. hopefully they can put it together. and give us all a great game 7. it was obvious the nba was going to make this a & game series……any fan who watched game 6 should be ashamed of the 3 officials. kobes cheap shot in perkins back probably ended his season. if 2 hands in the back wasnt enough he used his leg

    • Jake says:

      The refs nor the NBA didn’t make it go to a game 7. You’re very naieve and don’t know much about the game of basketball if you think that. The Celtics got outplayed, plain and simple. Hopefully they can rebound for game seven and pull of the upset.

    • Leanbob says:

      No push in the back…… watched it ten times. Your a Idiot.

    • mike says:

      Did u ever watch a basketball game before? your comments are pretty pathetic.. what happened to perk was unfortunate, there wasnt a foul.. take ur green eyes out and watch game 7 for a change!

    • 7LA says:

      ideas from boston fan like you. SUCKS!!!
      make a fair judgement, it was not intentional. remember in game 6 when Paul was down in the floor
      because of the foul from Kobe. Kobe helped him to stand up…

      i really give too much pity on you guys who blame kobe for what happened to Perkins..