Boston Globe columnist and basketball Hall of Famer Bob Ryan checked in earlier from Los Angeles to discuss last night’s historic Celtics win, which he ranks among the top 5 games in team history. Here’s a transcript of the Q&A …
Al: Bob, if Perkins & Rondo are slowed by injuries, will this have any serious impact on the series at this point?
Bob Ryan: You want the team to be at full strength. You want Doc to have all his available weapons. This is the secret story of the Finals: Unlike most teams, whether temporary or historic, the Boston Celtics really do have 13 NBA quality players at Doc’s disposal, which of course, includes Brian Scalabrine. Doc exercised one option in Game 4 by using Eddie House and James Posey to spread the floor in answer to a desperate team need. NBA games play out differently. The next game might cry for the particular skills of Rondo and Perkins.
MW: Is the Celtics Defense really that good? Or is Kobe correct in saying that the Lakers played poorly?
Bob Ryan: It is to be expected that a proud, vanquished foe would put the blame on himself and his teammates. But facts are facts. 1. The Celtics have consistently proven from Game 1 that they are the most efficient defensive team in the league. 2. Kobe has played 6 games this season against the Boston Celtics. The league MVP has had one game in which he has been his MVP self. Case closed.
FrankRizzo: If the Celtics win Sunday and we get the same performance out of the big three we did yesterday does Ray Allen get the MVP?
Bob Ryan: Ray Allen is my MVP through Game 4 of the Finals. I know there is sentiment for Paul Pierce, but I would not call for a Ralph Nader investigation if he were to win the prize. But, no Celtic has been more consistently brilliant in every phase of his game than the quiet, dignified, Ray Allen, who has yet to pound his chest, not even once.
Ed: Two questions – where does last night rank among the franchise’s all time great games, and does this series come back to Boston?
Bob Ryan: 1. It clearly ranks somewhere in the Top 5. I honestly need more time to reflect and research. It is dangerous to rely solely on memory. But I have been watching the Celtics intensely since 1964, and I can think of no game in any finals remotely like it. They simply haven’t needed major comebacks. The natural reference is Game 3 of the 2002 Eastern Conf. Finals against the Nets when they came from 21 back in the fourth to win. But that was a fluky team in every respect, and they never won another game in that series. This is a far superior basketball team…. I am a percentage chance guy. I say there is an 80 percent chance the parade will be on Tuesday. And 19 1/2 of that 20 percent assumes Koby scores 40.
Doc_Rivers: Hey Bob, Thanks for finally coughing up some dough and paying the refs in the second half. Can you believe how many calls we DIDN’T get in the 1st half, I was going crazy, what do you think?
Bob Ryan: I think I’m tired of talking about the officials.
Shanghaisox: Doc’s getting a lot of credit for pushing the right button with House in the 2nd half. Is it fair to say he was the only one up until that point who didn’t realize how much House helped matchups with the Lakers?
Bob Ryan: That may be a bit extreme, but I, too, have been crying for more Eddie House. The one disturbing note in Doc’s postgame interview was when he said in reference to Eddie’s shooting exploits, “yeah, it was terrific. We would have gone with Eddie or Sam, honestly. We just needed a guard that they had to stay with so they couldn’t help.” Sam? Doc, it’s time to buy a new house, move away, and forget to give Sam the forwarding address.
Woody: So if the Lakers were figured by all the “experts” to be a better team than the Celts…and let’s just say Pierce gets MVP after a successful finals…then is Paul Pierce better than Michael Jordan?
Bob Ryan: For the sake of Kobe, let’s declare a national moratorium on Kobe-Michael references. As Sparky Anderson said, with Thurman Munson standing in the wings waiting for his own interview, “Don’t embarrass anyone by comparing him to Johnny Bench.” What? You were comparing Paul Pierce to Michael Jordan? Sorry, my mind could not wrap itself around that ludicrous concept. Sorry.
MW: Are the Fakers’ bench a fraud?
Bob Ryan: The Fakers bench got them here. Absent a 20 point Sasha outburst in Game 3, the Lakers bench would have thrown a complete goose egg up against Bostons. It is one of the big stories of the finals.
Drumahh: Is that Whitey Bulger sitting next to Jack Nicholson?
Bob Ryan: No. It’s record producer Lou Adler who has been Jack’s faithful Tonto as these games for more than 20 years.
Madara: Bob, what do you think led Doc to leave Ray Allen in for every minute of the game… Opposing match-up? Ray hitting on all cylinders?
Bob Ryan: Great question. I’m going to ask him, was there any discussion among the coaches? Did anyone even notice? It’s so rare in this day and age for anyone to pull a Havlicek, but if any of the Celtics were capable of doing so based on conditioning, you knew it would be Ray Allen.
Drumahh: Do you think KG gets more time in the low post next game? All the commentators are saying, “Just get the ball to Kevin in the low post and things will take care of themselves.”
Bob Ryan: : We’ve been asking Kevin Garnett to be more of a frequent visitor to the low box for 13 years, and Mr. Garnett has politely refused. It ain’t gonna change now. He came into our life as a 7 foot forward. That’s how he has framed his game. That’s who he wants to be. And that, by the way, got him the $26 million contract. So be it. … one last point on Ray Allen, I didn’t even know he had gone 48 until I was reading the box score over my IN-AND-OUT double-burger two hours after the game.
Jon_Biss_10: Will Doc start Game 5 with Ray Allen defending Kobe, or will he put that load on Pierce’s shoulders?
Bob Ryan: My guess if Ray Allen will start the game on Kobe, and they will give him different looks. Remember, the tipping point for Doc’s agreeing to let Pierce guard him in the 3rd quarter was Pierce’s reminder that he had no personal fouls entering the second half. It was circumstantial. And it was beneficial.
AJS: What about Doc out-coaching the great Zen Master? Is Phil Jackson overrated?
Bob Ryan: I generally detest simplistic comparisons of coaches in any short term situation. Let’s just say that Doc has done more things right for his team than Phil apparently has for the Lakers. I remind you once again, the Celtics are the better, deeper, more versatile team. Doc is exploiting his weapons.
southie: Do the shooting percentages and overall games compare to those in the ’80s or is this an overall ugly series to watch?
Bob Ryan: I’m always amused when people reveal themselves to have no personal institutional memories. The 1984 Boston Celtics — no make that the 1984, 85, 86, and 87 Boston Celtics — were all capable of winning games while shooting less than 40 percent. If the only way to win on that day was assaulting the offensive glass, that’s what they did. So, what I’m saying is, nothing new either way. We have great reverence for those storied names of the ’80s, but what really distinguished them was the ability to get down and dirty when necessary. This team clearly has the same mentality.
Wojo15: Bob, first…what a game! With David Stern and the NBA trying to make Kobe look like a “good” person, what do you think about his postgame comments about taking “20 shots or so” and drinking a lot of wine to get over the loss…not the kind of comments I want my kids hearing from the so-called best player in the NBA. Thoughts? Should Stern just give up on him?
Bob Ryan: I, too, cringed when I heard that coming out of Kobe’s mouth. He was trying to be cool. It didn’t work. Some people chose to quote him, some didn’t. I was one of the latter. I chose to make an attempt to save Kobe from himself.
The_other_JD: Bob, How did the Lakers get by the Spurs and their defense so easily? Aren’t they being exposed as soft?
Bob Ryan: The Spurs revealed themselves to be old and a team that has to be discussed in the past tense. I felt all along the Celtics would hammer the Spurs, so the Spurs are not the barometer they once were.
Jmac: The ’80s seemed to be all about rebounding. You don’t hear that now as much. No?
Bob Ryan: Apparently you haven’t been listening to many coaches lately. If you want to run, you must rebound. If you want to consider yourself a good defensive team, you must get the defensive rebound, or else a good defensive possession could be wasted. People talk about rebounding as much as they ever did.
Stu: How big was James Posey last night?? And will he be back next year?
Bob Ryan: James Posey has been magnificent of late. Had the Celtics found a way to win Game 3, which was certainly in their grasp, we would have written posies about Posey. In Game 4 he was everything Pat Riley told the Boston media earlier this season he would be in the playoffs. If there is even the slightest hint of James Posey heading for another destination next year, we should set up road blocks as every major artery leading in and out of Boston, plus put a 24-hour guard at Logan. Have I made myself clear? Thanks folks, gotta run. BR.