Who said this young center didn’t have heart for the game?
ESPN: Whenever Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum thinks about the 2008 NBA Finals he gets angry. Angry at the thought of the Boston Celtics muscling their way around the paint, angry at the sight of the layup drill throughout Game 6 and angry at the difference he would have made if he were on the court. He will always think he would have been the difference-maker in that series if he could have played.
“We’re pissed off that they took the opportunity for us to have another championship,” said Bynum, who missed the Finals two years ago with an injured left kneecap. “They robbed us of that, so we just want to return the favor.”
Bynum isn’t alone in feeling robbed of a championship. After watching film of Thursday’s Game 1, Celtics coach Doc Rivers compared this series to a heavyweight title fight and reminded his team that they are still champions and should play that way.
“Doc talked about Joe Frazier and how [Muhammad] Ali lost the belt and he felt that he was still the champion. That’s how we feel,” said Celtics forward Glen Davis. “Kevin [Garnett] was hurt [last season] and we feel if Kevin wasn’t hurt we felt we would’ve been champions. But you still got to go out there and beat the champions. We have to go out there and win even though we feel like we should be the champions because they’re the defending champions.”
Neither team can do anything to change the past but with both Bynum and Garnett on the floor now, they can go a long way in reaffirming their cases.
“I know Bynum has a chip on his shoulder because when we won it he wasn’t playing and that’s the mentality they have,” Davis said. “It should be like that. We have to match that intensity.”