Plane truth: Celtics wonder about flight problems Print
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Tuesday, 17 June 2008 14:50
NBA Headline News

 BOSTON (AP) -The Boston Celtics needed three airplanes to get back from Los Angeles, and that's smelling a little fishy to coach Doc Rivers.
The Celtics were supposed to leave around 11 a.m. Monday, but they didn't take off until close to 3 p.m., and didn't land until 10:30 p.m. Asked about the travel problems, Rivers pointed a sarcastic finger squarely at Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and coach Phil Jackson.
``Why don't you call Mitch Kupchak and Phil? They'll probably tell you exactly what happened,'' Rivers said to laughter. ``It was a long day, it really was.''
When they played in the original Boston Garden, opponents used to complain that savvy Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach would turn off the air conditioning or the hot water in the visiting locker room. Although he maintained that the problems were the same for both sides - the old building didn't even have air conditioning - Auerbach loved the fact that it was getting to the other team.
Maybe it's payback time.
The original Celtics plane had a cracked windshield, so they were put on another one. After pushing back from the gate, the second plane developed mechanical problems so they had to come back.
``We had to unfortunately pull people off that one,'' Rivers said. ``And when we get there at the gate, we see the Laker plane taking off, and I was saying, 'Oh, this is nice.'''
Rivers said they sat on the plane for three to four hours before taking off.
Celtics rookie Gabe Pruitt, who said the team wound up on a plane that usually flies the Oakland Athletics, was also suspicious.
``Two planes?'' he said. ``What are the chances of that happening?''
Pruitt said he slept much of the time, while like Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins received treatment for their injuries.
INACTIVE, BUT PAYING ATTENTION: Boston Celtics guard Gabe Pruitt, who played in just 15 games in the regular season and none so far in the playoffs, said he's trying to pick up anything he can from the experience so he'll be ready if called upon.
``I'm just learning a lot,'' he said before Game 6 of the NBA finals. ``I'm fortunate to be on a team that's one game away from a world championship.''
Pruitt, a second-round draft choice in his first year in the league, scored 32 points in 95 minutes this season. He also played in the developmental league.
``It's hard to sit here and not play, but I realize I need to wait my turn,'' he said. ``There are a lot of older guys ahead of me.''
TALL, AND TO THE POINT: Lakers coach Phil Jackson stopped by the interview room for the obligatory pregame media availability.
And he didn't dally.
Asked just three questions, Jackson stuck around for about two minutes before splitting. He gave little insight.
Asked about the Celtics injuries, Jackson said he was more concerned about his team. Asked about his team, he alluded to hockey injury reports that are notoriously uninformative, with descriptions like ``upper body.''
``Upper body is good,'' Jackson said. ``Legs are sustaining.''
End of interview.
BANK SHOTS: Sunday's Game 5 in Los Angeles drew a 12.1 overnight rating, the highest overnight rating in prime time on network television since the May 21 season finale of American Idol. That was 42 percent higher than the 8.5 overnight rating the U.S. Open drew from 3 p.m.-9 p.m. ... Paul Pierce (Games 1 and 4) and Kobe Bryant (Games 3 and 5) have both been voted the NBA finals player of the game, presented by T-Mobile, twice in the series. Fans can vote for their choice, either by text message or on, starting in the second half. The Celtics' Leon Powe was the other winner, after Game 2.

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