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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. Lakersin6 - Jun 11, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    Bostonwhackie…you are a classic douche bag. Fakers??? Bryant a sissy??? Go back to burrying your head in the sand, then…when the Lakers win it all next Tuesday come back here on the board and try spilling some more of your sewage.

  2. doctorj - Jun 11, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    Are we watching these games or just going by what we hear and read the day after? the games have been taken over by terrible calls and no calls on both sides. sometimes it looks like football; when the ref messes up, he gives a “mercy” call to make up for it. Where have fundamentals gone? by now, these guys should be almost automatic from the free throw line and they are not. way too much dribbling by the lakers on possession after possession = try shooting the ball and not taking everyone on the other team one on one…as far as kobe and jordan; well, michael jordan had a total KILLER instinct…on both ends of the floor; kobe does not quite do the same thing…bynum is hurt, but that is what he gets paid for….he will be fine in game 5 and so will the lakers…i think phil needs to trust his bench more because the starters need more than sporadic rest…michael used to let the game come to him and kobe needs to do the same thing…just lay in the weeds and let the game come to him…i just have a problem with guys who can’t handle the ball, flashy passes out of bounds, playing hot potato (i don’t wanna shot it, you shoot it) and just not handling business…and this is with BOTH teams…it is close…the guys calling the game call it defense, but the ineptitude displayed by both teams from time to time is indefensible….Lakers in 6!!!!!!!!!

  3. stiltman - Jun 11, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    Really? Kobe faced better defenses than Jordan? Take a look at basketball-reference.com’s list of career leaders in Defensive Win Shares here (i.e. how many wins did a player’s defense create over his career): http://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/dws_career.html
    Jordan himself is at #19 on this list. I count 17 players who weren’t on Jordan’s own team ahead of him, and he had to face 8 of them for a significant part of his career — Kareem, Hakeem, Ewing, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Shaq, Mutombo, and Stockton. Kobe? If you count Shaq as being on his own team, 2 — Duncan and Garnett.
    (Side note: this list is probably the first thing I’ve seen that really starts to quantify just how dominant a defensive center Bill Russell really was. He’s at #1 on the list, and blows the next two guys out of the water with an accumulation from 5-7 fewer seasons.)

  4. Anonymous - Jun 11, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Thank You! You are so correct! He is no Jordan and never will be!!!

  5. Dave G. - Jun 11, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    So, you’re alredy setting out the excuse as to why the Lakers lost the series? “Well, if Bynum was healthy we would’ve won the series”.
    Were you a Boston fan last year when Boston lost the Championship due to KG being hurt?
    You could’a had TWO Bynums in there last night and Big Baby still would’ve kicked their butts.

  6. Omnius - Jun 11, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Bynum certainly was hobbled last night and shows that the Ancient Celtics couldn’t beat the Lakers if Bynum were healthy. Phil Jackson has to play DJ Mbenga because there are 4 Boston Little Big Men, matching up against 2.5 Laker Big Men. Mbenga is a 7 footer who can provide much needed energy to counter the Boston substitute big men’s energy. Just look at the start of the 4th quarter at how Boston’s Little Big Men outhustled the Lakers tired Big Men. Odom and Gasol can’t play the whole game, they need rest too or they won’t perform well late in the game. The rest of the Laker’s bench needs to step it up and Farmar has to stop playing like he’s with the Harlem Globetrotters and just play solid sound basketball without making stupid turnovers. Lakers in 6 games!

  7. obvious - Jun 11, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    There is a reason why the majority of people like the Celtics in this series. LA doesn’t have a bench like Boston does. Nor does it have nearly as many talented players. The Boston bench outplayed LA’s starters. I like how Kobe was gritting his teeth like he was going to “take over” and no one on LA could back him up. Kobe is a great player, but he can’t do it by himself. At least not against a team like Boston. Boston is built for this.

  8. Rich - Jun 11, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    This series is up for grabs. If Andrew Bynum’s knee gets all shot up with drugs and he can play, the Lakers have a good chance to salt it away; if not, they are in trouble, because the Celtics haven’t begun to shoot up to their potential and have a better bench.

  9. Rich - Jun 11, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    This series is up for grabs. If Andrew Bynum’s knee gets all shot up with drugs and he can play, the Lakers have a good chance to salt it away; if not, they are in trouble, because the Celtics haven’t begun to shoot up to their potential and have a better bench.

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