|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.
|Jackson: Bynum playing with pain||at 8:49 pm ET|
“I think he’ll give it a shot and see how he goes from there.” Jackson said. “The big factor is he knows he’s going to be in some kind of discomfort during course of a game. It comes. It goes. He feels sharp pain when he makes a certain move. He understands what it is so it’s not something he gets concerned about doing again.”
[Click here to hear Phil Jackson talk about the pain Bynum is playing through.]
Bynum had the knee drained just before the Finals began and was told by Lakers doctors and trainers to expect discomfort and limited mobility if he chose to play in the series. Bynum has started all three games and played at least 28 minutes in each of the first contests.
|Phil to his Lakers: Play above referees||at 8:47 pm ET|
With all the talk of Eddie F. Rush officiating Game 4 and Kendrick Perkins one technical away from a one-game suspension, there’s been plenty of talk about the quality of officiating of the 2010 NAB Finals. Lakers coach Phil Jackson said the officiating this Finals series is no more controversial than in other championship series he’s been in.
“I don’t think it’s any hotter than any other Finals I’ve been a part of,” Jackson said. “It’s always contentious. There’s been a little more focus, perhaps, this time. Perhaps, some of it has been undercurrent in the past. What we like to say to the players is you play beyond the refereeing, you play above the refereeing.”
Jackson is coaching in his 13th NBA Finals series and has a 10-2 mark in previous championship series.
[Click here to listen to Jackson explain how his team needs to deal with the officiating.]
|NBA tabs Eddie F. Rush to referee Game 4||at 9:17 am ET|
The officials for Game 4 of the NBA finals were announced Thursday morning, and the trio includes a referee Celtics fans won’t be happy to see. Eddie F. Rush, who ejected Kendrick Perkins from the Eastern Conference finals Game 5 on a technical foul that later was rescinded by the league, will be on the floor along with Scott Foster and Greg Willard.
However, according to NBAstuffer.com, Celtics fans shouldn’t be too upset about Rush taking the floor in Boston. The site’s stats indicate that home teams have won nine of the 10 times Rush has officiated in the 2010 postseason. He calls fouls on the road team 55 percent of the time.
Rush officiated two games in the 2008 finals between the Celtics and Lakers: Games 1 and 5. Both were played in Boston, and both resulted in Celtics wins.
Greg Willard and Scott Foster have identical stats that are much more even. Home teams have won 64 percent of their games (both have reffed 11 times), and their foul calls are an almost even split: 51 percent on players on road teams, 49 percent on home teams.
Foster is the referee Tim Donaghy called 134 times in a seven-month stretch during the 2006-07 season, which raised suspicion as that was during the time Donaghy was gambling on games. Foster was not charged with any wrongdoing. He refereed two games in the 2008 NBA finals, Game 1 (a Celtics win) and Game 5 (a C’s road loss).
|Big Baby knows refs aren’t to blame for everything||06.09.10 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.”
|Doc on Lakers whining: ‘Maybe they do different math’||06.08.10 at 9:39 pm ET|
Doc Rivers took objection with the complaints of several Lakers following Game 2 after Kobe Bryant was whistled for his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter, limiting his effectiveness in the final period.
“I’m just miffed and amazed how the other team complained about the fouls since we’ve been the team in foul trouble for two games,” Rivers said Tuesday night prior to Game 3. “Maybe they do different math there or something. I don’t get that one.”
In the Game 1 loss to the Lakers, the Celtics had several players with three fouls before halftime and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen each played most of the fourth quarter one foul from disqualification. The Celtics had 28 fouls called on them in Game 1 to 26 for the Lakers. In Game 2, the Lakers actually took 15 more free throw attempts than Boston, 41-26.
Fouls aside, Rivers knows he must keep Kevin Garnett and Pierce on the court at the same time if there’s any hope of finding them rhythm in this series, especially Garnett.
“We just have to keep him on the floor,” Rivers said. “Two of his fouls [from Game 2] were not smart fouls, so he has to do a better job of that. But listen, this is a physical series. Gasol adn Bynum, they’re big adn they’re going to keep attacking, and we just have to figure out a way of keeping them out of foul trouble. It’s huge for us.”
What was just as huge for the Celtics in the wrong direction on Tuesday were the fouls that Pierce and Garnett picked up within the first five minutes of the third quarter.
Pierce picked up his fourth and Garnett his third and the Lakers sensing the kill went immediately to the paint to feed Gasol.
“To win [Game 2] the other night with [Garnett] in foul trouble and Paul not being great offensively, we felt very fortunate,” Rivers said. “We were happy to win, but we have to be better than that.”
|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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