Caught in the Web: Lakers and Celtics sharpen preparation for NBA Finals
--The Times' Mike Bresnahan discusses how much Kobe Bryant's game has benefited from having his knee drained.
--The Times' Chris Erskine shares his experience riding the Goodyear blimp over Staples Center.
--The Times' Broderick Turner dissects the Ron Artest-Paul Pierce match-up.
--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding breaks down the Lakers-Celtics match-ups.
--Fox Sports Randy Hill looks at how Artest and Rasheed Wallace helped the Lakers and Celtics, respectively.--NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper recounts the Lakers' bitter memories of their 2008 Finals loss to Boston.
Magic Johnson highlights in the video below the hatred the Lakers have for the Celtics.
--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky believes Phil Jackson cares a great deal about his coaching legacy.
--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's David Lassen explains why the Lakers don't care if they're considered a "soft" team.
--Fox Sports' Mark Kriegel observes how Pau Gasol has evolved as a player since the 2008 Finals
--Pro Basketball Talk's John Krolik wonders if Andrew Bynum can make a difference this series.--Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum takes a poll of people in the Lakers organization on what Jackson should do should he decide not to coach again.
--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin reports that Bynum feels the same amount of pain after getting his knee drained. McMenamin also details how the Lakers plan to stop Celtics guard Rajon Rondo.
--Former NBA and college assistant basketball coach Dave Miller explains on ESPN Los Angeles how to break the Celtics' defense.
--The Orange County Register's Jeff Miller puts together a "Hating the Celtics for Dummies" guide.
--NBA.com's Sekou Smith credits Jackson's motivation tactics.
--ESPN Los Angeles' Shelley Smith reports that Jackson has offered Lakers players a financial incentive for taking charges.
--Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears looks at how Gasol is drawing motivation from the 2008 Finals loss.
--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford provides a detailed rundown of Bryant's stoic demeanor with reporters leading up to the NBA Finals. Teaford also sheds light on Gasol's decision to skip the FIBA World Championships this summer.--Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen argues the 2008 Finals will look nothing like the upcoming series.
--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell analyzes each Lakers-Celtics match-up.
--Silver Screen and Roll's Saurav A. Das also assesses the match-ups.--Ball Don't Lie's Trey Kerby expresses amusement about Artest's indifference to the Lakers-Celtics rivalry.
--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius takes a look at the Lakers' offense.
--The Times' Lisa Dillman looks at how the Celtics' success has made Boston less consumed with the Red Sox.
--The Times' Baxter Holmes highlights Doc Rivers' belief that Kendrick Perkins will receive a suspension during the Finals because he's one technical foul away from the limit.--The Boston Globe's Julian Benbow highlights Wallace's contributions. Benbow also reports Pierce's contention that Artest will do anything to disrupt his opponent on defense, including pulling down his shorts.
--The Boston Herald's Ron Borges highlights the Celtics' indifference to the belief that they can't beat the Lakers.
--The Boston Herald's Steve Buckley details the evolution of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry.
--The Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett highlights the back-and-forth between Jackson and Rivers over the charge that the Celtics have a "smackdown mentality."Fox Sports' Charley Rosen argues that Rondo serves as the the Celtics' X-factor
--The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan argues that nothing tops the Lakers-Celtics rivalry.
--The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy talks to Bob Cousy, who has nothing but good things to say about Rondo.--NBA.com's John Schuhmann takes a look at what makes Boston's defense tick.
--ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne reports that Rondo won't feel 100% in Game 1 on Thursday because of muscle spasms he suffered in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against Orlando. Shelburne also observes that the Celtics carry the same mindset they had entering the 2008 NBA Finals.--Celtics Blog's Greg Payne offers his NBA Finals prediction.
Reader Comment of the Day: "I think this Finals will determine Bynum's future. I feel the two teams are evenly enough matched that the series will hinge on how effective he'll be. If he's not effective, it causes a domino effect where Perkins can guard Pau, then KG on LO, and we have 2008 all over again. Maybe not that bad with Artest, but still Perkins on Pau is a complete mismatch. If he's effective enough, he'll give Perkins enough fits that he'll wrack up that dreaded next technical, if not more. Bynum can drive Sheed crazy too, always a good thing." -- Scott
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Pau Gasol fouls Boston's Rasheed Wallace during the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 87-86 on Feb. 18. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times