Pow! Powe delivers early knockout punch to Lakers Print
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Sunday, 08 June 2008 19:19
NBA Headline News

 BOSTON (AP) -Phil Jackson mispronounced Leon Powe's name Sunday during his postgame press conference. The Lakers coach apparently didn't hear the fans chanting it properly a few minutes earlier.
Powe - rhymes with toe, not ``Pow,'' the way Jackson mistakenly said it - was the surprising star of Game 2 of the NBA finals, coming off the bench to score 21 points in Boston's 108-102 victory over Los Angeles.
``We feel like we can go to the guy,'' Paul Pierce said. ``He's proven throughout the course of the year once he posts up, get him the ball. And we've developed confidence that he can get the job done.''
Pierce and fellow All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen get most of the attention up in Boston, but Powe outscored the latter two, and for most of the game was even outscoring Kobe Bryant, who admitted that the Lakers were ``just a little'' surprised by Powe's performance.
``He played a great game,'' Bryant said. ``I mean, he came in and did what he had to do.''
With starting center Kendrick Perkins playing with a sprained right ankle, then getting into early foul trouble, the Celtics went to Powe early in the game. He aggressively went to the basket, shooting nine free throws in the first half and finishing 9-of-13 at the line.
He also made his first six shots before missing his final attempt.
``We made a concerted effort to get him the ball in the post in that one stretch in the first quarter, and when he came in the second quarter he responded,'' Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. ``So it was great.''
Powe played well during a nine-game stretch when Garnett was sidelined with an abdominal strain before the All-Star break, but the minutes have been sporadic during the postseason. Chances are he earned plenty more with his performance Sunday.
And chances are people will get his name right from now on. Powe said some teachers have mistakenly called him ``Pow,'' but he made a name for himself in Game 2.
It doesn't really matter to me. I've got a job to do for this team, and like I said, whenever Doc calls on me, it's my job to go out there and produce, be a constant professional,'' Powe said.
``Even if he doesn't call on me that day, get in the gym and see what's going on out there on the floor. I'm not worried about people not pronouncing my name right. I ain't tripping on that.''
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BABY IT'S COLD INSIDE: The old Boston Garden didn't have air conditioning, so it could be a sweatbox at times, especially during the NBA finals in late spring.
In Game 5 of the 1985 finals, for example, when the temperature hit 98 degrees indoors, Boston's Larry Bird was the hottest player in the building, getting 34 points and 17 rebounds in a 121-103 victory for a 3-2 advantage. The Celtics lost Game 6 in Los Angeles before winning Game 7 at the Garden 111-102.
Nowadays, in the TD Banknorth Garden, which opened in 1995, it's anything but warm. In fact, some of the Lakers were bemoaning the cold of the past few days.
``During my short time here, this building was always on the cold side,'' said Chris Mihm, who played for the Celtics during the second half of the 2003-04 season. ``It was cold today. But I've never felt it the way it was yesterday at practice. I was waiting to see if I could see my breath during warmups. It was unbelievable.''
Mihm said he was jumping up and down just to stay warm before Friday's practice despite wearing a long sleeve cotton shirt over his jersey.
Ronny Turiaf described the building as ``supercold'' during the Lakers' shootaround several hours before Sunday night's game.
``Today was even colder than the first day,'' he said, referring to the shootaround before Game 1.
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NOT SO LUCKY: Another injury for the Celtics, this one to their mascot, Lucky the dunking leprechaun.
Damon Blust, the stilt-walking, T-shirt-throwing, high-flying mascot who entertains the crowd during breaks at the Celtics games, had to cut the trampoline-enhanced acrobatic dunks from his routine on Sunday night because he was hurt.
Spotted underneath the stands during the first quarter, Blust said he had a labral tear in his right shoulder.
Too bad, because part of Blust's act is to pull a celebrity out of the front row to hold the ball for one of his dunks, and on Sunday there were plenty to choose from. Among them: Red Sox stars David Ortiz and Jon Lester under one basket, Patriots Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork under another and Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling sitting next to the Lakers bench.
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GINO FOUND: All season long, the Boston Celtics have been celebrating victories at home with an American Bandstand dance video that has become the modern answer to Red Auerbach's victory cigar.
The disco-era video of a man with a thick black beard swiveling to the beat and wearing a shirt saying ``Gino'' draws cheers whenever it appears on the screen, because it usually signals that the game is well in hand.
Boston fans have been snapping up replicas of the shirt and a modern incarnation that says, ``Gino Time.'' Although the shirt is from a 1977 tour by Italian-Canadian singer Gino Vannelli, the dancer was unknown.
Until last week.
The Wall Street Journal, working with the American Bandstand producers, identified him as Joe Massoni, a greater Los Angeles-area resident who died in 1990.
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I'LL BE HERE ALL WEEK: Maybe Phil Jackson should hold his news conferences in front of a brick wall.
Once again, the Los Angeles Lakers coach made like a standup comic during his pregame media gathering, and for the second time he got his biggest laughs while commenting on Paul Pierce's dramatic departure and return in Game 1.
Pierce was carried from the floor by his teammates and then had to be transported to the Celtics' locker room in a wheelchair.
Jackson was asked if the Lakers' coaching staff had had any discussions about the Celtics' injuries to Pierce and Kendrick Perkins, who sprained his left ankle in the series opener.
``None,'' Jackson said. ``We haven't discussed it at all. We discussed the wheelchair a little bit, but that's the only thing. First time I think we've ever seen it.''
On Friday, Jackson voiced skepticism about Pierce's injury and wondered if noted faith healer Oral Roberts had performed some kind of miracle on the Celtics' star in the locker room.
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IDOL SIGNING THE ANTHEM IN LA: David Cook will perform the national anthem Tuesday night, just across the street from where he won the American Idol competition last month at Nokia Theatre.
Cook has the honors for Game 3 at Staples Center, becoming the latest American Idol winner to sing it at the NBA finals. Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, and Jordin Sparks all previously did so.
Jeffrey Osborne will sing the national anthem on Thursday night before Game 4, and that could be a good omen for the Lakers. He also performed in the 1985, '88 and 2002 finals, and Los Angeles won all those series. The first victory came over Boston.
 

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