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Jackson won't read much into injury

June 07, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Headlines in the Boston Herald proclaimed Paul Pierce to be "Captain Courageous" and the ringleader of a victory that was "Guts and Glory."

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson saw it differently, and he was unable to suppress a smile when asked if there was a bit of Willis Reed in the air during Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Reed had already missed significant time in the 1970 Finals, Jackson said, and had to have a "horse shot, three of four of them in his thigh," before hobbling onto the court for Game 7.

"Paul got carried off and was back on his feet in a minute," said Jackson, a teammate of Reed's in 1970.

Lakers guard Derek Fisher was a little more ethereal, nodding in agreement when told that Pierce said he had been visited by an angel after going into the locker room. Pierce grabbed his right knee after coming down on Kendrick Perkins' foot, but returned to the game a couple of minutes after being carried off the court midway through the third quarter.

"Yeah, I believe in divine intervention, and maybe that's what happened," Fisher said.

Does that mean somebody of great import is a Celtics fan?

"No, I think he has bigger problems to worry about as opposed to who wins the NBA Finals," Fisher said. "But you never know.

"At times I think he's proven that he can be a big-time sports fan, so you kind of have to go with it."

Who will play?

Two-thirds of the Celtics' frontcourt came away limping Thursday night, and there weren't clear-cut answers for the Game 2 availability of Pierce (strained right meniscus) or Perkins (sprained left ankle).

"I expect both of them to play, honestly," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said. "I just don't know how much they can give us yet."

The Lakers, though, maintain they won't worry about the Celtics' health status.

"We're not going to rely on them not being 100%," the Lakers' Pau Gasol said. "We're just going to make sure we come out with the right mentality and the right approach in Game 2, make sure we're aggressive -- we start aggressive and we continue to be aggressive for 48 minutes. I think that's how we're going to be able to win the game."

Fine tuning

Game 1 was watched on ABC by an average of 13.38 million viewers, a 45% increase over the 9.21-million average for Game 1 of the 2007 Finals between Cleveland and San Antonio, according to results released Friday by Nielsen Media Research.

It was the highest-rated Game 1 of the Finals since 2004, the last time the Lakers were in the championship round.

The game was watched by an average of 2.09 million viewers in the L.A. market, drawing a 22.8 rating and 40 share. Rating is the percentage of all TV sets tuned to a program; share is the percentage of sets in use tuned to a program.

In Boston, the game averaged a 21.7 rating, 37 share and 712,000 viewers.


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