- Green Street - http://greenstreet.weei.com -

Three things that went right and wrong in Game 4

The Magic are still alive in the Eastern Conference Final, knocking off the Celtics [1] in a 96-92 overtime battle in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series.

The Celtics rallied from a 85-78 deficit late in the fourth quarter to force the extra five minutes, but were held scoreless for the first 3:14 of OT. Jameer Nelson (23 points) hit a pair of 3-pointers in overtime and Dwight Howard [2] added four points to give the Magic the win and a pulse in the series, which continues Wednesday night in Orlando.

Three Things That Went Wrong

No Answer for Howard

Give Howard credit: He did not go down quietly. He dominated Kendrick Perkins [3] (no small feat) and Rasheed Wallace [4], a pair that has given him problems during the series. Howard finished the game with 32 points (on 13-of-19 shooting) and 16 rebounds, also blocking four shots. Deserved all the hits he took after Game 3 but was a monster on Monday night. Was absolutely the difference in overtime, killing the Celtics on the glass. Needs to work on free throws (looked almost Knoblauch-esque at the end, going glass once), but in Game 4 you saw why Howard is an All-NBA player. If he just plays well on Monday the season is over for Orlando. They needed an MVP performance, and he delivered.

Where Was the Composure?

Sure, Garnett should have been miffed at Howard for the elbow, but don’t you just let it go? Did he learn nothing from the Miami fracas with Quentin Richardson [5]? Is it worth risking a possible suspension in Game 1 of the NBA Finals [6] to get into it with Howard in a series that you led 3-0? I’m not saying that Garnett did anything suspension-worthy, but he put himself in a spot where it could have easily happened. And he has to know better than that.

And Kendrick Perkins completely overreacted to a Howard foul later on in the quarter. A tough foul? Yes. A dirty foul? Nope. This is the NBA playoffs [7], not a preseason game at the Mohegan Sun. Have to be ready for some physical play. Throw in a ‘Sheed T in the fourth quarter (and he wasn’t done with the ref, he could have been kicked out) and it was not a study in character in Game 4.

And I’ll throw the lousy offensive possessions down the stretch in here as well. No shot attempt in the final play of regulation, following a terrible Pierce shot from the possession prior? And did you like that Glen Davis [8] 3-point attempt at the end of the game? Strange stuff.

Other Than Davis, A Rough Night For the Bench

Wallace, Tony Allen [9] and Nate Robinson [10] (Nate had the worst cameo since M. Night Shyamalan in Signs) combined to shoot 3-of-10 from the floor. Wallace morphed back into the guy that we saw in the regular season, hitting on 2-of-7 shots (and missing all four 3-point attempts.)

Three Things That Went Right

The Truth Did the Heavy Lifting (For the First 48 Minutes, Anyway)

Pierce carried the Celtics in the first half, scoring 19 points on 6-8 shooting. He was also able to get to the basket at will in the early going, attempting 10 free throws in the first 24 minutes of Game 4 (making seven.) He took over in the fourth as well, with a dunk, jumper and three-point play to help the Celtics wipe out an 85-78 Orlando lead. Pierce finished the game with 32 points, which continues a terrific series for the Celtics’ captain. Rondo was the unquestioned MVP of the regular season and each of the first two rounds for the Celtics, but it has been Pierce who has led the way for Boston in this series.

Big Baby Brings the Energy

This is why Glen Davis is on the floor in the fourth quarter of a tight Eastern Conference Finals game. In a three-minute stretch he ran down a long rebound off of a Rasheed Wallace missed 3-pointer, took a charge on Vince Carter [11], scored on a screen-and-roll, hit an 18-footer and blocked a Rashard Lewis shot. On a night when Kendrick Perkins brought nothing to the table credit Doc for sticking with Davis down the stretch. He’s simply making too many plays not to out on the floor for 20+ minutes a game at this point.

(And how about that block on Howard in OT? I know Howard followed it up for a hoop, but still. I’m not sure Glen Davis is even 6’6 and he’s doing that? What is underplayed when the Big Baby story is told is his athleticism.)

Double-Double For KG

Another strong effort for Garnett, who finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds. He logged 41 minutes in Game 4 and didn’t seem to be lacking for energy in overtime.