|Lakers coach Phil Jackson had no answer for Leon Powe, and only questions for the referees. (Jim davis/Globe Staff)|
By halftime, the differential in free throw numbers between the Lakers and Celtics was staggering.
The Celtics made 19 trips to the line, the Lakers 2.
The final margin in free throw attempts was 38-10 in favor of the Celtics. The numbers prompted some strong words from Lakers coach Phil Jackson and sarcasm from Kobe Bryant.
"I think my players got fouled," said Jackson. "I have no question about the fact that my players got fouled but didn't get to the line. Specifically, I can enumerate a few things, but I'm not going to get into that. I don't want to get into a dispute with those situations.
"It's the illusion that's created. The referees referee an illusion. Our guys look like maybe the ball was partially stripped when they were getting raked or whatever was happening, but it was in the crowd, so the referees have to let that type of thing go.
"We have to create the spacing that gives the right impression, and that will have to get accomplished."
Jackson credited the aggressiveness of the Celtics leading to more trips to the foul line. When Bryant was asked about the free throw disparity, he said, "I didn't notice it." Then he gave a look that underscored his sarcasm.
Doing right thingJackson wondered aloud if nearly a weeklong delay between the Lakers wrapping up the Western Conference title and starting the Finals affected their offense in Thursday night's loss.
"Shooting-wise, I think sometimes that comes and goes, and a lot of times that's evident in the first game if you sat for a week like we did," said Jackson. "But I thought our shooting in the first half [of Game 1] was there. We shot 51 percent. We did the right thing. I thought their defense stepped up. There were a lot of in-and-out shots. That's a product of this building and their standards."
The Lakers struggled in the third quarter in the opener, when they were outscored, 31-22, and again in the third quarter last night (29-19).
"I don't know what the reason is for that," said Vladimir Radmanovic. "I think we've had some pretty good third quarters during the playoffs. We just have to bring them back. Giving this team a lot of runs is not the way go."
Radmanovic promised to do his part. "I try to do other stuff," he said. "When my shot is not falling in, I try to contribute as much as I can on the other side of the court. Eventually, that shot is going to come."
Take it to 'emAfter being outrebounded by the Celtics, 46-33, in Game 1, the Lakers had more to worry about than just their shooting touch and ball movement. Jackson emphasized the importance of being prepared for physical play. "We tell our players that you have to adjust to the fact that they're going to come and meet you in the lane," he said. "There's going to be a hard jam and you have to brace yourself for that. We were pretty good against Utah, and obviously Utah came very hard." . . . Asked whether Bryant would have better success if he went to the basket more, Jackson again complimented the Celtics' defense. "They're putting two people between him and the ball and the basket all the time," said Jackson. "They led the league in [taking] charges this year. We have to be careful with that. We have to know that aspect of their game and honor that. You can either dish the ball or take those shots, or if you can get there, get there." . . . Responding to a query about Ray Allen, Lamar Odom observed that a good defensive team can make a player with a bad defensive reputation better. "I don't see a difference [in his defense]," said Odom. "He's on a better team, on a better defensive team. When you take any NBA player of his caliber and put him on a better team, it will show. Like Pau [ Gasol]. People almost forgot what type of player Pau was. He came to a team that had some players and he's the man again."
Shira Springer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.