Q&A Session: Lucas Shapiro – The Celtics’ NBA Final Preview

Well, this is kinda late. Sorry.

Yes, the Boston Celtics. We all know them. They’re not as championship-hyped this year. But, hey, they proved everyone wrong. After winning against the Heat, the Cavs and the Magic, they’ve made a bold statement to the league and us, the fans. Remember the 2nd-half of the season? They were playing horrid. Finishing 4th in the Eastern Conference standings. Albeit, they still have that experience inside their team. And obviously, the Playoffs is a different scenario now. They’ve woke up and they’re now much more energized than ever before. Now, their against their all-time rival, the Los Angeles Lakers.

I brought in my good friend, Lucas Shapiro, who actually is my 1st boss in the NBA blogosphere. Anyway, he’s best-known for his works in Bleacher Report as a Featured Columnist and in Dimemag.com as an Intern. He is also Real Sports Net’s Director of Content in the NBA area.

The Q’s are in Orange while L-Shap’ anwsers are in Celtic green.

Way before the Playoffs started, Celtics weren’t even in talks being in the NBA Finals. How does it feel seeing your Celtics be back in the limelight after a 1-year absence and proving those analysts and haters wrong?

I’m happy for them. I definitely did not see this coming. I thought they were going to be gone in the first round since they were not playing hard at the end of the season. I guess the new trend of taking the second half of the season off has worked for them.

This team is completely different from the NBA’s regular season. With your guys getting rejuvenated and all, have you even expected them to wake up?

I thought they wouldn’t wake up. I was watching how poorly Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were playing and I thought they didn’t have a chance this year.

What are Boston’s keys to win these series?

Their main problem is rebounding. They are not the tallest team, so their key is to box out. That means everyone too, not just the big man. Everyone needs to crash the boards, force L.A to only take one shot on each possession. If they can do that, they can win the series.

When the season started, we saw a different Rajon Rondo. He garnered an All-Star performace in Dallas early in the year. Not only that, he also lead the league in steals; earning him a spot in the All-NBA Defensive team. Now, the Celtics main concern is him being limited. How does this affect the team’s play and how do the Celtics bounce back from this?

I always knew Rajon Rondo was going to be a great player ever since the beginning of the 2008 season. The lack of a consistent three-point shot can be a problem only if Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are missing shots. We saw Allen and Pierce go 0-6 from the three-pointer in Game 1 and that is one of the reasons why Rondo was less effective.


The Celtics are renowned for players, who contribute unexpectedly. Players like Glen Davis (HEAT series), ‘Sheed (CAVS series) and Nate Robinson (MAGIC series) headline the list. Now, which specific Celtic is gonna breakout and be the X-Factor in the team’s quest for Championship #18?

I really think that Tony Allen is the key to the series. It was mentioned on Dimemag.com recently and I completely agree. The Lakers don’t pay attention to the Celtics role players and Allen is the type of guy who can pick up the tempo and expose the Lakers’ lack of speed.

I’ve read your article on Bleacher Report about the 2010 NBA Finals. And I saw you picked the Celtics in 6. Why is that? Just to let the readers know.

(I actually picked the Celtics in 7) I think the Celtics have better chemistry and toughness. Everyone is talking about how the Lakers became tough. I don’t really believe it. They won one game! Call me biased but I think it takes more than one game to show your true colors.

I think that’s about everything, man. Anything else to say?

I’d say check my stuff out at Bleacher Report and Dimemag.com (*Click the links).You have a great site Mark and I’ll be sure to check it out. Keep up the great work.

Thanks! I really appreciate the time you gave us. Don’t give up on writing, Lucas. You’re bound for ESPN or any supreme Sports network out there in a few years.

PHOTO CREDITS:

Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

Elsa/Getty Images

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

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Comments are much appreciated. Please leave them down low.

Follow Mark On Twitter (@InOutNBAMacGelo)

Shoot me an email at cualocsin12@gmail.com

NBA Playoff Recap 5/24: Magic Avoid Broom Service.

GAME FOUR

2nd-seed Orlando Magic vs. 4th-seed Boston Celtics

(96-92)

The Magic and the Celtics started off hot, and I mean scorching hot. Both teams made shots back-and-forth. The Magic were pretty balanced in scoring with Matt Barnes leading the way. He made 2 threes in the 1st Quarter alone, plus 1 deuce, ending with 8 points. Jameer Nelson had 7 points and 3 assists. Dwight Howard with 6 points. The Truth, Paul Pierce scored 12 1st Quarter points. I have nothing to say about the 2nd Quarter, since most of the happenings happened in the other half. Magic lead 51-47 after 2 Quarters.

3rd Quarter starts Matt Barnes makes the 1st bucket of the 2nd half with 11:20 ticks in the clock. A scuffle between Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard ensued. Only KG was given a technical. Celtics’ fans didn’t like it one bit. But, they were fired up. The crowd shouted chants of ‘Defense!’. The Celtics put it in their mindsets. Results were Defense turning into Offense. Kevin Garnett had his game-face on and he looked motivated. Sadly, he went 0/7 until the end of the game. Ray Allen scored 7 points in the 3rd Quarter alone. Dwight Howard also scored 6 , with some 3 rebounds.

The 4th Quarter was one hell of a quarter in the last few minutes, Glen Davis contributed alot and the Celtics thought they could win the game. Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard worked together, and they seem to know what the other was doing. They take an 85-78 lead after the combined effort. Paul Pierce would rally the crowd for one last time, with a strong flush to the basket. It followed with a Ray Allen three, and an And-1 from the Truth. Game was again tied. Rajon Rondo, who was pretty quiet in the game, stealed the orange away from Jameer Nelson. And Celtics’ fans knew the game-winning shot would go to the hands of Paul Pierce. Ray Allen found an open shot. Sadly, Paul Pierce wanted an isolation play. Magic doubles him, he loses the handle and we head to Overtime–the 1st Overtime of the 2010 NBA Playoffs.

Overtime, no one scores after 2:18 minutes. Until, Jameer Nelson made back-to-back threes. Ray Allen would release his skills from his arsenal, shooting 2 threes too. In the end, Dwight Howard was too much. He would ice the game at 96-92 with an And-1. Paul Pierce also was nothing in that OT. In the end, the Magic celebrate a well-deserved win. Game 5 is on Wednesday.

PHOTO CREDITS

1) Elsa/Getty Images

Follow Mark on Twitter:

@InOutNBAMacGelo