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Lakers Play Hangover Wolfpack Speech in Video Session as Motivation

They say the best coaches are the ones who can “reach” their players. You may have great information to impart, but what good is it if it falls upon deaf ears? With that in mind, the Lakers coaches decided to play a clip from The Hangover to end their video session Monday, Beto Duran reports.

Duran says the meeting’s message was “Wisdom of Wolves – Strength of Wolf in pack, and strength of pack in wolf.” Wisdom of Wolves is a motivational book that preaches teamwork, patience, unity, failure, attitude, communication, play, loyalty and change. To reinforce their message of teamwork and working like a wolfpack, the Lakers staff played this infamous rooftop speech made by Alan in The Hangover:

Pure genius, right? Why didn’t I have coaches like that! My only question is if Kobe, who enjoys comedies, got the same motivation from that movie as his alltime favorite.

Atlanta Hawks Leave Tickets for Jameer Nelson to Chicago Bulls Series

Back on April 10th, the Chicago Bulls beat the Orlando Magic 102-99. The game took place just before the regular season ended at a time when playoff seeds were already determined. After the loss, Magic point guard Jameer Nelson said to Derrick Rose “catch you in the second round.” Here’s that video:

Hearing Nelson say that was pretty stunning because he was guaranteeing both teams would win their first-round series. Chicago took care of business against Indiana, but the Magic lost to the Hawks in six games. Don’t think for a second that Hawks employees forgot about Nelson’s guarantee. They let him hear about it.

Hawks P.R. man Arthur Triche left tickets at will call for Nelson to attend Game 1 of the Hawks-Bulls series … as a spectator. Here’s a picture of the tickets Triche tweeted out courtesy of TNSP Sports Net:

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Erik Spoelstra Insists Miami Heat is a Physical Team

The Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series 99-90. Dwyane Wade carried the Heat with 38 points while James Jones added 25 on 5-for-7 three-point shooting. Paul Pierce was ejected after getting his second technical foul for getting physical with Dwyane Wade, and the game was described as “chippy” by Doc Rivers. Miami beating the physical Celtics was a surprise for some folks, and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was asked about it. He offered a different perspective of his team.

“Both teams are physical, and this is the playoffs,” Spoelstra said. “At this point in the year you can’t be somebody you’re not. We are trying to play our game, the game of basketball, the habits that we’ve built for five months and do it better than them for four games. That’s it.”

“We’re not stepping out of who we are, we’re not trying to be more physical than who we are because it’s the playoffs, [or] because it’s Boston,” he continued. “We’re a physical basketball team and that’s probably been understated all year long. We’re one of the better rebounding teams in the league. We play a physical, aggressive style of defense, we’re not doing a lot different.”

That’s an extremely different assessment of the same Heat team people feel is soft because of Chris Bosh’s crying episode, and the word from Spoelstra that the team was crying after a March loss to the Bulls. If Miami manages to beat the Celtics, and moreover, win the NBA title, I fully expect all the criticism of them crying to change to it being an example of the Heat “having heart.” You heard it here first, from your neighborhood friendly blogging hero.

Paul Pierce Ejection Video – Referee Ed Malloy Going too Far?

Easily the most controversial call of the second round of the NBA Playoffs came in Game 1 of the Heat-Celtics series. Paul Pierce already had one technical foul when he set a screen on Dwyane Wade in the fourth quarter. They exchanged words, and Pierce may have said something to referee Ed Malloy who gave him his second technical. The second technical resulted in an automatic ejection that had Doc Rivers livid and all fans screaming about the call. Here’s a video of the Paul Pierce ejection for you to judge:

Jeff Van Gundy was going nuts as a commentator about the call, saying referee Ed Malloy had gone too far. Fans were screaming the same thing. That may be the case, but we can’t fairly judge the situation until we know what Pierce said to Malloy. The NBA instituted a rule before the season saying players were being watched more closely for overt reactions to calls and that their reactions could result in technicals. I’m guessing that’s the reason Pierce got his second technical that resulted in his ejection.

Under these guidelines, it’s quite possible that Pierce’s words (or actions) warranted a tech. Whether the rule should be in place is a debatable issue, but what isn’t questionable is receiving a technical for overt reactions to calls under these rules. Sadly this isn’t the first controversial call we’ve had during the playoffs.

Chest bump to Ben Golliver for the video

Lionel Hollins References Black Hole Kevin McHale Talking about Zach Randolph

The Memphis Grizzlies pulled off a stunner by beating the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the NBA playoffs. It was only the fourth time in history that an eight seed knocked off a one, and only the second time since the first round expanded to a best of seven. The undeniable star for Memphis was Zach Randolph who scored 17 of his game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter Friday night.

Randolph has taken his game to a new level with Memphis and even become a player who shares the ball. Throughout his career he was known as a player who could put up big numbers but couldn’t win. He was also considered a selfish player who never passed. After the Game 6 win over San Antonio, Memphis coach Lionel Hollins addressed Randolph’s development.

“Zach has grown since he’s been here,” Hollins said. “I’ve known Zach since before he got here and I’ve always admired how hard he played. He’s gotten a bad rap for as everybody says ‘a blackhole’ but I don’t think anybody could be more of a black hole than Kevin McHale when he played. But he’s learned how to play with his teammates, he’s made some awesome passes, teams just can’t go and double him and think he won’t pass the ball.”

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Orlando Columnist Mike Bianchi Motivated Birdbrain Atlanta Hawks, Josh Smith

The Atlanta Hawks polished off the Orlando Magic 4-2 in their first-round series of the NBA Playoffs. The Hawks were leading the series 3-1 but lost Game 5 to Orlando, prompting the series to go to a sixth game. It was then that Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi crushed the Hawks in his column and declared the Magic would win.

Some of the highlights from the column:

The Magic are going to win this series and the Birdbrains are going to fold up and collapse like a $5 lawn chair. You know it, I know it and deep down in the lonely recesses of their fragile minds, the Birdbrains know it, too.

No matter how much talent they have, the Hawks are still the Hawks. They are still Team Dummy. They will always do stupid things and take stupid shots. They will always lose their focus and their composure

Apparently some of those quotes were distributed to the Hawks players prior to Game 6, and afterwards forward Josh Smith admitted Bianchi’s criticism served as a motivating factor for Atlanta:

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LeBron James: Playoff Sweat Is Different from Regular Season Sweat

The Miami Heat finished off the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 5 of their series Wednesday night and will prepare for what should be an epic clash with the Boston Celtics. There is little doubt that LeBron James will be prepared for the series, at least as far as conditioning goes. Jimmy Traina shared a great quote from LeBron on SI Hot Clicks that’s a week old, but no less funny.

Here’s a passage from Worldwide Windhurst’s piece, via Pro Basketball Talk:

James has a new sidekick these days — a gallon jug filled with water that he tugs around just about wherever he goes. James vows to drink those fluids every day during the playoffs, usually before practices, and even after games start. It is a routine he began several years ago in the postseason, an effort to increase hydration.

“Playoff sweat is different than regular season sweat,” James said Thursday morning as he grabbed his jug

You got that? LeBron James says playoff sweat is different than regular season sweat. I’m going to use my athlete-to-normal speak translator and figure that LeBron is saying the playoffs are more intense than the regular season, so you have to be extra focused and prepared for those games. It was a funny way of expressing that thought, but I’m pretty sure that’s what LeBron meant. And he better be chugging gallons of liquid to properly hydrate for the Boston series; with Miami’s weak bench, he’ll be playing nearly 45 minutes per game.