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.
In the name of all things decent, do the Lakers have to walk the ball up the court ALL the time? Even when down by 5+ and under 5 minutes to play? Even when each possession ends up with a bad shot with 1 second left on the clock? That 4th quarter was from the Bizarro World.
Lakers could have drafted Big Baby instead of Javaris Crittendon. He would probably just now be getting off the bench after being stifled in the triangle for 3 years. Or, maybe he would have been traded to Memphis in the trade for Pau Gasol.
Sorry, a bit bitter today after last night. Brutal. Out hustled at every opportunity. By punks like Nate Robinson…that hurts. What a strange series, both teams seemingly changing personalities in every game.
Another Celtic / Laker finals series, another refrain of using the euphemism “physical defense” for routine grabbing, bumping, and holding.
Blaming refs for a loss is like being angry at the sun for setting. You gotta power through it, dammit. That’s what champions do.
But it was hard to ignore the chippiness and habitual grabbing / hitting / holding going on last night. It’s probably my homerism that makes me think it’s anti-Laker, so it’s likely going both ways.
It’s not just that this level of “whistle swallowing” hurts the Lakers more because of their (Bynum-less) personnel and style, but it’s also a brand of officiating that will lead to out and out _fights_. It isn’t a quality brand of basketball the refs are shaping.
Travis Y. says
Credit to Tony Allen for getting kicked in the neck in game 3, and then playing tremendous defense on Kobe. Not only in game 4, but the entire series.
Right now we need to get back to being more aggressive on the boards. It’s very simple, Lamar and Pau were not boxing out.
I understand that you need to shift to stop penetration. If you’re not rotating, then there’s no excuse, it’s a recognition issue. They’re simply not being aware and not making the correct reads.
Just like the mental awareness the Lakers needed when Ray Allen is in the game, the entire team needed to be closing and switching out to Ray Allen.
It’s going to require a team effort and I hope the Lakers will make the adjustment next game.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Bryant is now just 5-for-19 (26.6 percent) in the Finals with Tony Allen as the Celtics’ primary defender on him.
A Celtic fan (a real blowhard, but a smart guy) I know called this before the series. Bynum’s knee is obviously the main issue, but we will see more of Allen on Bryant in Game 5. I would attack it by putting Kobe in the low post, with Gasol up high. If the big cheats, Gasol shoots the face-up. If not, Kobe goes to work on the block.
I have not read the other threads yet, but two things, probably repeated:
1. It was clear after the first two possessions that Andrew was not right. He was unable to move laterally on the high S/R they ran with Pierce, and then was unable to finish.
2. I think Phil should consider using DJ Mbenga a little in Game 5. Tell him to crash the boards, contest everything, and if he has look at a dunk, go up and try to get it, and don’t worry about fouls.
100% blame goes to Phil Jackson
at the 8 minue mark in the 3rd quarter, it was clear that Pau had nothing left in the tank and Kobe was on fumes
he should have played Powell And Mbenga no matter what the outcome was.
bostons starters were tired too, rivers pulled the plug on them, i can’t understand why phil didn’t do the same
yes, our bench is horrible, but when the starters are clearly dragging, not jumping for rebounds, reaching and getting fouls, you have to make a move.
Phil jackson gets and F for this game.
I was feeling more than a bit depressed since last night, what with the Lakers losing, and Bynum’s knee; but my spirits have been lightened and lifted because I now know that the answer to all of our problems is simply some playing time for DJ MBenga!
Too funny! 🙂
lil' pau says
a little good news: ‘sheed one T from an automatic suspension of the next game. does anyone think he isn’t a lock to get it? I know they’ve been swallowing the whistle to protect perkins, but perkins’ glaring and sheed’s theatrics are two different things.
it’s a cruel irony that this is the one team for which bynum is absolutely critical for us, and he’s playing so well, but struggling so mightily with the injury. against 29 out of 30 teams, we could get away with this (maybe 28– cleveland if shaq was playing particularly well)
i’m not sure why people think that the celtic bench is better than the laker bench. can the celtic bench have one good game like they did last night? sure. Guys like nate robinson, rasheed wallace, glen davis, remind me of the nuggets. more bark than bite. Wallace is really talented, but he doesn’t show up like he should – like LO. the problem with the laker bench is that farmar and sasha only care about themselves, but since there are no slovenians on the celts, sasha’s behavior has improved. shannon brown could kill the celts in transition. Luke’s presence always helps out there, but the match ups have to work out, or he’s a defensive liability.
The one good thing that comes out of the Lakers going up 2-1 was that they practically forced a game seven. Confused? Well, who here truley thinks that the Celtics can beat us three times in a row? Didn’t think so. The Celt’s took a tough game last night. Now we got two more chances to take push this thing to seven. I’m still not counting us out for taking this in six but we’ll need productive games from at least 4 players. (One of them being Bynum in each of them.)
Here’s to taking 2 out of 3!
If the Lakers do not have Bynum, Boston can beat them three times in a row. That said, I think it is going 7–I predicted that before the series.
What if this was Shaq and Kobe in 2000? We’d have won like 10 championships:
Kevin H says
i love lamar as much as any laker fan in the world, but he IS killing us. his basketball INTENSITY is just not there. all we ask of our players is to forget their insecurities and PLAY BASKETBALL to the best of their abilities. lamar just can’t seem to do that. he wants it easy and everyone knows that nothing great comes easy in life. i am not overreacting about lamar from just game 4, even game 3 and 2 and 1 he just doesn’t show desire or intensity. lamar has the biggest heart in the game, but he hasnt applied it to these CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS GAMES. that alone should get a man going. btw kevin ding is a wizard at writing columns. he is a fantastic writer as kurt and darius have mentioned before. here’s his take on odom which i few is quite accurate: http://www.ocregister.com/sports/odom-252934-bynum-lakers.html
Kevin H says
“For a guy who never sweats his points, Odom had one rebound, no assists and no blocks in 22 second-half minutes.” – kevin ding
Concerned Fan says
Why are none of these blogs anywhere singling out Jordan Farmar’s singularly awful play? He’s singlehandedly allowed Nate Robinson to ignite the Celtics bench, and is directly responsible for the 2 Lakers losses.
If Phil can’t trust Farmar, then Kobe’s gotta play too many minutes, and he’s too tired to take over the game in the 4th.
Farmar’s overdribbled into a critical turnover in both losses when he’s had a wide open Kobe Bryant as an option. He keeps losing Robinson on screens and he keeps rotating onto bigs who are well beyond the 3 point line instead of staying with his man.
Can someone ask this guy what the hell he’s thinking? Can someone light a fire under him to get him to be more effective? Also, why does Phil wait until there’s 10 seconds left in the game down 7 to put Sasha in? If you could use his 3 point shooting at 10 seconds you can probably use it at 1 minute to go!
A new post is up.
The Lakers Better Stop Entertaining In Game 5 and Get Down to Business!!! Straight Up!!! Move Dat Feet!!!
The Lakers Better Stop Entertaining In Game 6, 7 and Get Up 2 Champ!!! Straight Up all the Way!!! Move Dat Feet!!!