|Three things that went right and wrong in Game 4||06.10.10 at 11:56 pm ET|
The NBA finals are once again tied after the Celtics defeated the Lakers, 96-89, in Game 4 on Thursday night. (Recap.) The Celtics had six scorers in double figures, led by 18 from Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who was dominant down the stretch, and 19 from captain Paul Pierce. Game 5 is Sunday night back at TD Garden.
THREE THINGS THAT WENT RIGHT
Sparkplugs off the bench: One’s called Big Baby and the other looks like, well, a baby on the floor, but supersubs Glen Davis and Nate Robinson certainly didn’t play like their labels Thursday night. The duo combined for 30 points, but it was the pure energy each provided for the C’s off the bench in the fourth quarter that helped the team to victory. One of the greatest video clips from Game 4 was Davis slobbering with Robinson on his back after Davis made a layup on which he was fouled. That one play electrified the TD Garden crowd and pushed the C’s towards an incredible run in the final quarter, in which Boston outscored the Lakers, 36-27.
Rebounds, rebounds, rebounds: Boston found a way to win again because they were able to keep the Lakers big men off the boards. After being outrebounded 43-35 in Game 3, the Celtics won the battle down low 41-33 in their win in Game 4. All five starters had more than five boards, and Davis added five of his own with four of those coming on the offensive end. By winning the rebounding battle, the C’s were able to take away the size advantage that the Lakers utilized perfectly in their wins in Games 1 and 3.
Paul Pierce’s play in the first quarter: Pierce was the only member of the Big Four without a truly dominating performance in any of the first three games, and several of his critics had said that he needed to step it up if the team was going to succeed. Pierce held up his end of the bargain by going off for 10 points in the first frame while the offense undeniably went through him. The rest of the team managed only nine during that time.
THREE THINGS THAT WENT WRONG
Poor first-half shooting: The C’s had more than their fair share of quality shots in the first half but shot just 41 percent from the field. The C’s missed several open jumpers and even some layups. Those misses translated into just 42 first-half points and a three-point deficit that could have been much larger had the Lakers not had their own offensive struggles.
Allowing Kobe to hit some big 3’s in the third quarter: There was a time in the third that it seemed like Kobe Bryant just couldn’t miss from behind the arc. The C’s were giving him just enough room to pull the trigger, and that’s something you simply cannot do against Bryant. He was 5-for-6 at one point from deep and seemed to be in place to endanger Ray Allen‘s finals record for 3-pointers in a game. He eventually cooled, but the three-straight 3’s he made to close out the quarter allowed the Lakers to stay ahead going into the fourth.
Timing could have been everything: Although they certainly didn’t affect the outcome, Rasheed Wallace and Nate Robinson both had ill-timed technical fouls in the fourth quarter. Wallace’s technical came after the team had garnered an eight-point lead in the fourth. It very well could have sucked away all the momentum the team had gathered over the previous two minutes and change. Robinson’s T two minutes later threatened to do the same thing. If the C’s want to continue to thrive in the final stanza, they cannot pick up potential game-changing T’s in close games.
|Rebounding key to rebounding from loss||at 8:40 pm ET|
If the Celtics want to rebound from their Game 3 loss, they know they have to rebound in Game 4.
“I think whoever wins the rebounding war wins the game,” said Kendrick Perkins. “That’s how it’s been in the last three games for some reason.”
The Celtics have been outrebounded 124-110 in the first three games of the series, an average of 41 to 37.
They had a five-board edge in their Game 2 victory, but were outrebounded by a total of 19 boards in their Games 1 and 3 losses.
Perkins said the length of the Lakers big men, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, make them tough to defend. Gasol’s versatility to play the power forward also spreads the floor and creates additional defensive challenges for the Celtics.
But the Celtics can win the battle of the boards. They have already proved it in this series. There’s nothing complicated about it, just a matter of going out and doing it.
“I just feel like it’s got to be a team effort,” said Perkins. “Guys have got to come in, make them take contested jumpshots, grab a lot of long rebounds. Our guards come in and they can start the break.
“But I just think when we put our minds together and go out there and do it, I just think with Paul (Pierce) and (Rajon) Rondo and Ray (Allen), they can grab a few rebounds. Then Kevin (Garnett) and myself, we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. Then when the bench comes in, they’ve got to make sure that they rebound also.”
The Celtics know the gameplan. Now they have to execute it.
“It’s just us,” said Glen Davis. “We’ve got to show up tonight. We’ve got to make sure that we do what we have to do.”
|Lakers hope Ray-Ray ‘does it again’ Thursday||06.09.10 at 9:48 am ET|
The Lakers were as shell-shocked as anyone as Ray Allen rained down shot after perfect shot from beyond the 3-point arc on Sunday night in Game 2 in Los Angeles.
But the tables could not have been more turned on Tuesday night in Boston if Lou Piniella were managing the Yankees again and these were the 1980s.
Ray Allen finished 0-for-13, including misses on all eight from long range.
“I hope he does it again Thursday,” said a relieved Shannon Brown, one of the Lakers who were on the court for both the near-perfect performance from Allen in Game 2 and the perfectly-off display in Game 3.
Obviously, the Celtics had a different take.
“As a team, you have to stick together and stay focused on what you need to stay focused on, especially during that time during the game,” Glen Davis said. “We have to stay together as one and make things happen for each other, not just one person. It’s tough.”
In fact, Davis believes there’s a silver lining to Tuesday’s loss.
“Ray, 0-for-13? Who would have ever thought that? So, that won’t happen again,” Davis boldly predicted. “We only lost by a couple of points. He hits a couple of shots and we’re in the game. We’re winning the game, really. Today just wasn’t our day. In spite of him not hitting his shots and things like that, we’ve still got to win this game because it’s a winnable game for us.”
|Big Baby knows refs aren’t to blame for everything||at 4:15 am ET|
But Glen Davis is more than aware that the officials can’t be blame for all of the calls that went against them. Just a few key ones.
“We didn’t close out,” Davis said. ” I think at the beginning of the game, the first team established the tempo. I think the bench came out and really didn’t apply the pressure and that’s how we lost the lead.”
Indeed, the Celtics led, 12-5 out of the gate but thanks in very large part to the play of the Laker bench, which outscored Boston’s 16-8 in the first half, the visitors went on a 21-5 run to end the first quarter and never relinquished the lead again.
“I think a lot of the things in the first half, we just didn’t do right. I think we’ve got to be ready to play when we go in there. I blame it on myself, not establishing tempo, not bringing enough energy, turning the ball over, shooting bad shots. If I helped a little bit more in the first half, I think we would have done a better job.”
Davis was very aware of what was going on in the first half as the Celtics fell behind, 37-20, early in the second quarter.
“We had to dig our way back from [their] 17-point lead,” said Davis, who then had a very interesting take on the much-discussed and highly-criticized officials in this series.
“We did a great job of fighting back but then, calls didn’t go our way,” he said. “Referees aren’t perfect, they’re human, they’re going to make mistakes. Hopefully, they’ll see that some calls weren’t the right calls. But they did their best. I tip my hat to them. It’s tough in an environment like this to make the right call with thousands of people screaming at you, so it is what it is. I tip my hat to those guys.”
|How Fisher ‘won the game for them’||at 2:10 am ET|
Rajon Rondo did it in Game 2 and Derek Fisher followed suit in Game 3.
‘[He] won the game for them,’ Doc Rivers said. ‘Derek Fisher was the difference in the game.’
After the Lakers watched Rondo dominate the fourth quarter on Sunday night, Fisher scored 11 points in the final 12 minutes of the Lakers 91-84 victory on Tuesday.
Fisher shot five-for-seven during that stretch, an instant improvement from 5-for-16 shooting in the first two games. His late burst included a 3-point play that put the Lakers up seven with less than a minute to go.
‘We let Derek Fisher dribble the ball all the way up the court, unattended, get a 3-point play,’ said Rivers. ‘If you get a stop there, we had two timeouts left, three timeouts at the time, we had plenty of time.’
Said Glen Davis, ‘I think Derek Fisher won the game for them. He took over the game.  seconds left in the game, down by four, our defense ‘¦ let a guy all the way down the court for a layup, naked. Together as a whole we’ve got to do better.’
Fisher’s domination will undoubtedly be a hot topic of conversation as the Celtics prepare for Game 4, trailing 2-1. It may have burned them in Game 3, but there are lessons to be learned moving forward.
‘We’ve got to hang in there,” said Rivers. “It’s not going to be an easy game. None of them are going to be, and that’s what we have to do.”
|Lakers concerned with Bynum’s minutes||06.08.10 at 8:56 pm ET|
Andrew Bynum had his way with the Celtics in Game 2, scoring 21 points. But that was with two days off between Games 1 and 2, and with the quick turnaround for Game, Laker coach Phil Jackson said he would monitor Bynum early to see how his injured knee responds.
“I certainly will,” Jackson said. “Hopefully we can get him in and out of the game in the first half. A little earlier time for Lamar [Odom] to give him an opportunity to perform.”
Odom has been a non-factor through the first two games, with more fouls  than points [eight].
The Celtics would be just fine with getting Bynum out of the game because he has been a huge factor defensively for the Lakers. He bothered Rajon Rondo in Game 1 and also made life tough for Glen Davis in Game 2, who shot 4-for-13.
Both Rondo and Davis adjusted, however, and Davis was able to be effective by continually going to the glass where he recorded five offensive rebounds.
“[Davis] was huge in Game 2,” Doc Rivers said. “He was great with his energy. You know, he’s not going to be taller than anyone in this series. This is a long team, and he goes underneath, sometimes he gets too deep, he can’t finish. One of the things he did better the other night, he got it up quick or he threw it back out.”
|Big Baby: ‘Obama here we come’||06.07.10 at 8:15 am ET|
President Obama be warned. Click here to find out why …
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