Advertisement

Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley believes the Boston...

BOSTON -- Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley believes the Boston Celtics are sending his team a message about Thursday's Game 2 of the NBA finals.

'From what I read, they are telling us it is going to be a very aggressive game,' said Riley before Wednesday's practice at Boston Garden. 'I think both teams will be very intense. We see and recognize the advantage if we can win, and I think Boston knows that, in a lot of ways, it has to win.

Advertisement

'If you have a situation like that, it is going to create a lot of sparks, a lot of excitement. It could be one of, or the best game of the series.'

The Lakers won Game 1 of the best-of-seven championship series, ending Boston's 9-0 home winning streak in this season's playoffs. It also givesLA the home-court advantage, unless Boston recovers to win two of the next three games.

To contain LA's James Worthy, who scored 20 points in Game 1, Boston sixth man Kevin McHale said: 'We've got to be more physical, put our bodies against his more. You can't give a guy like that a lot of chances to move. I didn't play him as physically as I should have.'

Advertisement

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wondered how Thursday's game could be more physical than the first one, which had 57 fouls called and a total of eight players with four fouls or more.

'I hope they're not more physical, because then they would have to bring brass knuckles,' he said.

Riley believes Boston will key upon dominating the boards.

'In Los Angeles, we have a saying, 'No rebounds, no rings,'' he said. 'And I'm sure Boston will be geared up to play hard.'

Riley explained that the Celtics are 'the best team in the league at creating the weak-side rebounding position. They don't submit to a block-out.

'A lot of players when blocked out will say, 'I don't want to make the effort to get around it,' but the Celtics are constantly spinning, reversing, pushing and shoving a litle bit to get better position before the shots are taken,' he said.

Abdul-Jabbar said despite the rebounding figures from Sunday's game, giving Boston a 47-42 rebounding edge plus a 21-12 advantage in offensive rebounds, LA was in charge.

'Except for a few brief stretches when they got second shots, for the most part we controlled the boards,' he said.

Abdul-Jabbar, who scored 23 of his 32 points in the first half of Sunday's game, said Boston could not find the key to stopping him inside and Magic Johnson on the outside.

Advertisement

'They did not double-team me consistently, and when they tried it, Magic made them pay for it by hitting the outside shot,' he said. 'They couldn't find the right thing to do defensively, fortunately for us.'

Boston's Cedric Maxwell said the Celtics were not mentally prepared for Sunday's game.

'We were lethargic and there is no excuse for it,' he said.

McHale added: 'It wasn't our strategy which killed us, it was our play. We certainly can't come out and half-step like we did in game one.'

Riley said: 'The Celtics are pros, they are veterans, and I think they will come out very focused and very centered. They don't want to go down 2-0, and that may create more pressure, which makes the rim seem a little smaller when you have to win.'

Latest Headlines