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NBA finals, Lakers Celtics Game 4: Bynum sits, game gets physical and it feels like 2008 again

Jun 11, 2010, 1:01 AM EDT

Davis_Bynum.jpgThese Lakers were different. It’s what we heard, it’s what we saw. These Lakers were not soft, they would not roll over for the Celtics like two years ago. Right? And they didn’t. For three games.

Then Andrew Bynum sat, his knee clearly worse for the wear. Then Game 4 got physical. Then for the first time in the series the referees let the teams play.

Suddenly, if you squinted just a little, it looked like 2008 again. Boston controlled the boards when it counted. Boston played with a real sense of desperation. Glen “Big Baby” Davis was the best big man on the floor — you really have to squint to think he is Kevin Garnett — and the Lakers bigs were pedestrian or worse. Boston was more physical, they pushed the Lakers around and they won Game 4. And the series is tied 2-2.

Needless to say, the Celtics liked the flow of this game.

“Extremely physical game but it was a clean game…” Rivers said. “Both teams were allowed to play. It was a physical game.”

The Lakers were not allowed to play like they wanted, in part because of the aggressive Celtics post defense and in part because they lacked Bynum. He played 12 minutes — six at the start of the game and a couple other three minute runs — but he hobbled and was slow. In the first few minutes he got an offensive rebound right under the basket and tried to go back up — a shot he normally dunks with authority. This time he could barely elevate and Kevin Garnett blocked his layup. It was that kind of night for him.

Bynum said after the game the swelling is the worst it has been, limiting what he can do, but that the pain is about the same. He also said he was disappointed but planned to bounce back for Game 5. (Kobe added they need him to.)

Without Bynum, the matchups switch. They revert to 2008 inside. The very physical Kendrick Perkins gets to cover Pau Gasol (he still had 21 points but just six rebounds) and puts Kevin Garnett on Lamar Odom (he had 10 points and seven boards).

When the benches came in, Davis got matched up on Lamar and just owned him inside. Davis used his strength to get what he wanted. At the other end, the much quicker Odom was hesitant to attack Davis off the dribble until late in the game, when the Lakers got desperate.

The biggest difference was on the glass. Boston grabbed the offensive rebound on 34.8 percent of their missed shots in Game 4. This was not something they were good at during the regular season, grabbing just 22 percent (28th in the league). Tonight they owned it.

Kobe Bryant had a good game — 33 points on 10 of 22 shooting and 6 of 11 threes — but he could not get going late and take over. He also had seven turnovers. Boston is doing a good job forcing him left and having help ready. He was not able to drive the lane as he did in Game 1. His threes heavily contested. He and Gasol also got tired, as Phil Jackson said after the game, which happened because Jackson did not trust his bench.

In Game 5 the Lakers know they need Bynum back. Not the full strength Bynum, they’ll take the one from a week ago.

“We’re glad we have a couple days off to get him back hopefully in a position where he can help us out again” Phil Jackson said.

They will need him. They will need Kobe late. They will need a sense of desperation. Because Boston has won one game in Los Angeles and if they go ahead 3-2 they know they need to win just one more. They are starting to feel like it is 2008 again.

  1. Evan - Jun 11, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    Regardless of how this series ends, I think its safe to say that Kobe is NO Jordan.
    .
    Kobe is one of the best of all time, but he doesn’t take over games as often as Jordan did. He disappears. He has the ball stolen from him. He can be defended.
    .
    Jordan was fearsome. He couldn’t be defended. The only way to stop him was to keep the ball out of his hands. He took over almost every game he played in. He was always present on both sides of the floor. If he turned the ball over, it was because the ref should have called a foul on his defender.
    .
    People need to stop with this comparison stuff. Jordan was a god among men. Kobe is a great player among good players.

  2. Larry - Jun 11, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    The last 5 minutes of this game was Kobe’s chance for a Michael Jordan moment. Didn’t happen. Kobe’s good, but he’s no Michael Jordan.

  3. zephyr99 - Jun 11, 2010 at 8:47 AM

    Evan wrote: “People need to stop with this comparison stuff. Jordan was a god among men. Kobe is a great player among good players.”
    …and Bill Russell was the greatest basketball player of all time. Big Bill was largely responsible for 11 Celtics championships in 13 seasons (and one EIGHT-peat versus Jordan’s three-peat).

  4. Anonymous - Jun 11, 2010 at 8:51 AM

    Who said anything about Jordan? Or Kobe being the next Jordan? Lets talk about the series!

  5. wallyworld - Jun 11, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    jordan comparisons are lazy. think of something else.

  6. john - Jun 11, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    I love BB and until last night didn’t really care who won – i just wanted to see good games. Now i hope LA wins the championship as i would hate to see a bunch of whiners and cry babies after every call (even though replay showed the foul except on 1 of wallace’s )be called world champions.

  7. Anonymous - Jun 11, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    C’mon John, you really think the Celtics are worse than the Lakers? Pau Gasol looks like he is on the verge of tears everytime he takes a shot. What about when he slipped and fell and Sheed got the foul. Derek Fisher acts like he got shot by someone in the stands everytime he shoots. There was one shot last night where no one touched him and he through himself to the ground sideways (I have no idea how that shot went in). I mean, the replay showed no one touched him and he was still crying to the refs? C’mon man, just play the game. Both teams are cry babies but the Lakers are much worse with the acting.

  8. Boston Blackie - Jun 11, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    John is a MORON. End of story.

  9. Lakers4Lyfe - Jun 11, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    Ohhhh look! The Boston fans come out of the woodwork with the series tied and LA still with homecourt advantage, lol. Lakers still — in 6. Boston dumps game 5, just as I predicted earlier and LA takes game 6. Series over.

  10. Doc - Jun 11, 2010 at 10:19 AM

    Jordan never faced defenses as good as Kobe has to face. The athleticism today is much greater. That’s a fact.

  11. jblakers42 - Jun 11, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    THE ONLY REASON the LAKERS lost last night was because BYNUM was hurt and couldn’t be effective on the court while playing, and only played 12 minutes because of his injured knee….that’s the ONLY reason BOSTON WON, DOC kept his bench players in for extended minutes to exploit the paint, which BOSTON’S starters wasn’t able to do……54-34 advantage in the paint is the telltale of this game…….
    I bet anyone BABY DAVIS (although he’s good) wouldn’t have scored 18 points in the paint if BYNUM was able to play extended minutes and play affectively……..
    and we still had a shot at the end to win and only lost by 7 points….
    so who’s fooling who?

  12. brutally honest - Jun 11, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    I am for neither team in the playoffs, for my team did not make it. However, that being said last nights game was amazing. Emotionally charged games like that are not seen often and for once it seemes like the players weren’t it it for the money but for the win and the love of basketball. Good luck to both teams but as of last night, the Celtics have my vote.

  13. Common Sense - Jun 11, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    It is amazing that no one is worried about the damage that Andrew Bynum doing to his knee. It appears that the Laker organization is only worried about a “CHAMPIONSHIP” and not about a young man’s future. How much more damage is has he done to the knee? Is it worth his future? Team doctors need to give better advise to the coaches and make common sense decisions.

  14. Common Sense is for Nubs - Jun 11, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    It is amazing that you are worried about the damage that Andrew Bynum is doing to his knee. That man gets paid millions of dollars to play basketball, and endure the extra stress basketball players do.
    I’ll tell you what, you give me the amount of money he’s making, and you give him what I’m making… and no longer will I think that he should have to play every game.

  15. Hoops McCann - Jun 11, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    The Lakers have one of the best medical staffs in sports. They maintained long before the playoffs even started that it was very unlikely that Bynum could further damage his knee by playing although it would be painful and would swell up. It’s a piece of cartilage that is going to be removed anyway, not ligaments or bone issues.

  16. Hoops McCann - Jun 11, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    The Lakers have one of the best medical staffs in sports. They maintained long before the playoffs even started that it was very unlikely that Bynum could further damage his knee by playing although it would be painful and would swell up. It’s a piece of cartilage that is going to be removed anyway, not ligaments or bone issues.

  17. Hoops McCann - Jun 11, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    And Anonymous – Fisher rose up twisting and off balance on that shot because he had one second to beat the shot clock, not because he was trying to draw a foul or act like he was fouled. Pay attention to the game, everything going on in the game.
    Great 4th quarter by Boston’s reserves, they took the game away from the Lakers. Jackson played most of his reserves the entire 2nd quarter of the first game and they played well. He’s got to give them some more time to rest Kobe and Gasol. Boston has won all four 4th quarters so far in this series.

  18. NiMrod - Jun 11, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    Evan,
    you are right on point here! Jordan, unilke Kobe, had that killer instinct that not only triggered his game to rise to the top, but it made his cast of players around him rise too…
    You don’t see that with Kobe…and Kobe has better inside players as well. Where in the hell is Ron Artest??????!!!!!!! He has disapeared. Kobe does not drive as often as M.J. did…he keeps settling for threes. If he is not in foul trouble he should drive the damn ball and put somebody’s ass in the basket…

  19. Jodeman - Jun 11, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    And yet Bynum wasnt there and the Celtics bench owned the Lakers starters. So what is your point? What if, what if, what if? What if Allen and Rondo had made their shots in game 3. Then it would be 3 to 1 in favor of the Celtics. Bynam will play in game 5 and be somewhat more of a factor but not enough to stop Davis who has stepped it up. Bostons bench is WWWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY better than LA’s and Jackson knew it last night again. Stop being a moron.

  20. Drew - Jun 11, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    That is NOT a fact that Kobe faced tougher defenses than Jordan. Jordan went through the gauntlet of the New York Knicks several times, the Detroit Pistons who had previously beat them up, and several other good teams. The two Utah teams they beat in the finals were stout defensive teams.
    The one edge I give Kobe over Jordan in is three-point shooting. That’s about where it ends. Jordan could never be contained. Kobe has shown he can be in this series.

  21. LAcKERS - Jun 11, 2010 at 12:51 PM

    The LAckers are Hollywood Star.

  22. RC - Jun 11, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    A couple of things…
    Kobe is no Jordan. This is true. And this Lakers team is not the Bulls teams that won championships. There is no Pippen, Kukoc, Paxson, Kerr, Cartwright, etc. Kobe has a good supporting cast, but it is not as good as Jordan’s. Kobe is exhausted by the 4th quarter it seems which is what happened in 2008. Kobe also doesn’t have the benefit of the Jordan rules. If you looked at Jordan wrong, you were going to get called for a foul.
    If a player thinks that a foul was called that shouldn’t have been called, they question it and argue about it. It’s human nature. Some players are more demonstrative than others, but it’s all the same. If you want to call them cry babies, then do, but then you should use that term for anyone that complains about anything that happened them that they feel was not deserved.
    And finally, the last time I checked basketball is a team game. So, even though we shine the spotlight on the starters and maybe one super-reserve player off the bench, all 12 (10 for the playoffs I think) can and do play a part in the outcome of games. So saying that Boston ONLY won because of their bench play is still saying that Boston beat the Lakers in game 4 of the 2010 championship series. There is not going to be an asterisk put beside the score of this game because the “bench” players and not the “starters” had the better performance in the game.
    I will say this. This has to be the most unpredictable series going from game to game that I have seen in basketball. You just don’t know who is going to “steal” the show each night. I can’t wait to see what game 5 has in store.

  23. Boston BLACKIE - Jun 11, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    lAKERS4Lyfe is a classic MORON! The FAKERS will not win the championship. Bryant is a SISSY and wont dare get physical with the Celtics.He is afraid to mess up his Goatee!

  24. Boston Blackie - Jun 11, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    JBLakers42 is a COATHOLDER for the FAKERS. Bynum,in his best day,would get eaten for lunch by the Celtics big men.The Lakers bench is weak as water. The starters will be dragging their butts by the 4th quarter of game 6 and the fat lady will sing again the tune “The Lakers are Fakers!”Jack Nicholson will be so despondent he will date Lady GAGA!

  25. NorthEast Baby - Jun 11, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Has anyone been watching theses games! To say Kobe doesnt have the killer instincet is the most rediculous statement I have ever heard! If it wasnt for Kobe this series would be over, the man is playing damn near 40 minutes a games. Still he gets critisized for not driving the ball to the lane more. Are you kidding me, the guy was on fire from 3, so why would you stop shooting it. He made 6 last night, but you still want more from him. I am not taking anything away from jordan but to say Kobe is not in the same class is crazy! Kobe has taken his team to the NBA FINALS 3 years straight but he isnt making his team better?? You people obviously dont know ANYTHING about basketball!!

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