From Henry Abbott and Kevin Arnovitz, TrueHoop: Neither Pau Gasol nor Rasheed Wallace will admit that their mano a mano matchup is anything special. But witness the high theater. Wallace’s attack on Gasol has been multifaceted from the series’ start. Hard fouls are only the beginning of a war that’s playing out with bold psychological elements: When Kevin Garnett guards Gasol, he hunkers down in an athletic position, to better prevent Gasol from dislodging him and getting good position. Wallace doesn’t do Gasol the courtesy. He stands up straight and casual, as if to say he needn’t crouch. He can keep Gasol out of the paint any old way.
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: There’s more on Andrew Bynum and the significance of his knee injury growing worse in our postgame breakdown, but below is video of Bynum discussing the state of things after Game 4. Heading into Thursday’s game, Phil Jackson expressed concern Drew might not be able to play. The first half was a labored go for Bynum, and in the second he was out of commission save 1:50 in the third quarter. Bynum said the issue was increased swelling, as opposed to pure pain, but this prevented him from being able to hold position, explode, react and do all the things he needs to on the court. The situation grew bad enough Drew was actually concerned he was “a liability,” although the Lakers clearly were hurting without him as well.
From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen and Roll: The Los Angeles Lakers were the better team last night. For most of Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, the Lakers matched the Celtics defense with their own stellar defense. The Lakers were better at running their offense (not good in any way, but better than the other team), and, when the time came for a possession to be used, the Lakers did a better job of making the shots they took. If this were the regular season, I have no doubt that last night’s effort and execution would have resulted in a W for the purple and gold.
From Mike Trudell, Basketblog: After seizing home court advantage back from Boston with a Game 3 victory on the road, the Lakers expected the Celtics to come out like cornered dogs in Thursday evening’s Game 4. They were right … but L.A. couldn’t tame the beast. Riding a surge of extra energy from their bench in the fourth quarter, Boston outscored L.A. 36-27 in the final period to seize a 96-89 victory that tied the NBA Finals at two, ensuring that if the Lakers are going to win a 16th championship, it would come back in the City of Angels. “They had their backs to the wall tonight,” said Lakers head coach Phil Jackson. “They played desperate, and they got away with it.”
From Dave E. Gold, Momma There Goes That Man: Glen “Big Baby” Davis, once again, comes through for the Celtics. Along with Nate Robinson (12pts.) running point for Boston, Davis helped carve up the Lakers down the stretch of Game 4 for a 96-89 victory. Talk about an unlikely hero, at least for this crucial of a game. The man stands 6’9 289 lbs. and has been banging bodies with men 6’10 and above such as Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
From Anna Gonda, The Lakers Nation: Lose to a team that is far superior than you. Lose on a last second shot. Lose with your pride on your sleeve and determination on your face. Don’t lose like this; not when the opposing team is shooting 35%. Not when the opponent’s best players are sitting on the bench. Not when you’ve got a chance to put a stranglehold on a difficult series. But the Lakers did just that and now the series sits even at two games apiece. The first quarter was indicative of how most of this game would look — sloppy, choppy and just downright ugly basketball. The Celtics were missing layups and the Lakers couldn’t take advantage on their end. The Lakers shot 35% and the Celtics were no better shooting 36%. The score at the end of 12 min? 16-19.
From Seoku Smith, Hang Time Blog: Tony Allen said he wasn’t interested in playing this game. He said two days ago, long before he had to hit the floor with the Celtics’ season on the line Thursday night in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, that there is no such thing as a “stopper” for Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant. Allen sold himself short. Because he filled that role to perfection, smothering Bryant during a crucial fourth quarter stretch that saw the Celtics rebound from a seemingly eternal hole to take control of a game they absolutely could not afford to lose.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Because tall Andrew Bynum has been more oak than balsa in this series, his increase in value to the Lakers from the 2008 NBA Finals he missed has been immeasurable. Bynum reflected the other day on that ’08 loss to Boston, raving about how much better Pau Gasol is than two years ago. So emphatic was Bynum that he even jammed an extra exclamation into his statement as he made it: “Pau is twice the player – he’s incredible! – since ’08.” Which brings us to the third horse on the Lakers’ big-man carousel that is priced at $36.5 million this season: Lamar Odom. Anyone? Anyone? Anyone going to raise a hand to volunteer something about Odom being better than before? Anyone have even a single fundamental way in which Odom is built himself up in recent years?
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: It’s Game 102 of the Lakers’ season, so the Boston Celtics know full well who the Lakers have – and who they don’t, as in the case of swollen-kneed Andrew Bynum most of the second half Thursday night. So with the Lakers getting little from anyone not named Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol, the Celtics took control in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the NBA Finals for a 96-89 victory that tied the series, 2-2.
From Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times: omewhere on the way to a commanding lead in the NBA Finals, the Lakers entered a time-space continuum of sorts, drifting back two years ago to their less-memorable days when the Boston Celtics pounded them over and over in the NBA Finals. The Lakers found out Thursday how much Andrew Bynum meant to them, fading in the second half against the more physical Celtics, 96-89, and finding themselves pulled into a 2-2 deadlock in the Finals.
From Lisa Dillman, Los Angeles Times: And a baby shall lead them … Make that a Big Baby. Inexplicably, it was Big Baby and a Smurf leading the way for the Celtics in the fourth quarter against the Lakers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Big Baby, of course, was Glen Davis and the Smurf was backup point guard Nate Robinson, all of 5 feet 9, who combined for 30 points, 15 of those coming in the final quarter in the Celtics’ 96-89 victory on Thursday night at TD Garden. That, quite clearly, was the matchup of Game 4. The Lakers bench vs. the Celtics bench.
From J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: With Andrew Bynum limited to only 12 minutes of action in Game 4 because of his increasingly problematic right knee, the Lakers immediately became a smaller team. But they never responded with what should have been the corresponding adjectives: hungrier and scrappier. Those were the attributes that applied to the Celtics, not the Lakers. As Kobe Bryant said, “They got all the energy points, the hustle points, the second-chance points …” Or as they’re known in these parts, “Tommy points” thanks to a certain gravelly voiced announcer. ” … points in the paint, beat us to the loose balls,” Bryant continued. “I mean, that’s how the game turned around.”
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles: Looks as though the Celtics have themselves a Kobe Stopper. Celtics guard Tony Allen racked up three DNP-CDs in three games to start the 2008 Finals and played just 19:02 total over the final three games of the series.Thursday night in the Celtics’ crucial 96-89 win over the Lakers to tie up the 2010 Finals 2-2, Allen played 18:27 and may have changed who will win the championship.
From Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Uninclined to push their luck, the Boston Celtics sent their heavy lifters down the sideline to check into the game at the next possible opportunity. Time was dwindling, the score was tightening and the Celtics’ marvelous crew of reserves — specifically, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Rasheed Wallace — had given their side all that anyone in green had a right to expect. There was a little matter of protocol, too. Coming back late in games — not just any game, but Game 4 of the 2010 Finals, Thursday at TD Garden — is what starters do. Marquee guys get mega-millions money mostly for fourth quarters and postseasons. This was both. It was time.