The 2010 NBA Finals series between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers is living up to its historic hype. A key battle in the 12th NBA Finals series between these two teams, Game 4 was highlighted by superb bench play and an explosive fourth quarter run by the Celtics, helping Boston to secure a 96-89 over the defending NBA champions. The best of seven series is now tied at 2-2, with each team winning a game on the others’ home court.
Glen Davis leads Celtics Bench
After scoring just 42 points as a team in the entire first half, the Celtics went on an offensive spurt in the fourth quarter as forward Glen Davis led the second unit by scoring half of his 18 points. It was the Celtics bench that made the difference in Game 4, helping Boston open up a lead by scoring 21 of the team’s 36 fourth quarter points. They were so effective that Boston coach Doc Rivers chose to keep his starters off the court for an extended time in that quarter. Diminutive guard Nate Robinson also had a strong game, coming off the bench for Boston, contributing 12 points on 4 of 8 shooting. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 19 points as Boston secured a victory without any one player scoring more than 20 points in the game. Kendrick Perkins led the team with 7 rebounds and Rajon Rondo added 3 steals, including a crucial steal with 40 seconds remaining in the fourth, which led to an uncontested lay-up and a six point lead.
Lakers lose Bynum
The Lakers had only two players with more than 10 points, with Kobe Bryant leading all scorers with
33 points while also committing seven turnovers. Los Angeles forward Pau Gasol chipped in with 21 points and six rebounds. The biggest story of the game for the Lakers was the physical status of starting center Andrew Bynum, who has been battling a knee injury for most of the 2010 playoffs. After playing in a very limited role throughout the first half, Bynum did not play for the entire second half of Game 4. With Bynum playing a sparse 12 minutes the entire game, the Lakers were missing a key interior presence who is capable of providing rebounds and defensive intimidation. The Celtics took advantage of his absence by out-rebounding the Lakers 41-34 in the game. Bynum is flying in his personal physician to look at the injured knee prior to the pivotal Game 5 in Boston on Sunday at 8 pm.
Game 5 Prediction
It is fair to say that Game 5 may be the most important game in this series. if the Celtics win, they will travel to Los Angeles needing only one game to secure the title. Something that they can accomplish, as Boston has played well on the road throughout the year. If the Lakers win, then they head home with major momentum and the deciding two games in front of their home crowd. Expect Game 5 to be another slug fest.
The keys to the game will be Andrew Bynum’s knee, Rasheed Wallace’s back, and which team gets after it defensively. The Celtics and Lakers are evenly matched when at full strength, but with the nagging injuries plaguing both teams, this game will come down to who has the most gas in the tank in the fourth period. The Lakers cannot afford to leave Bryant and Gasol in the game without any second half break as they did in Game 4. Expect Lakers coach Phil Jackson to attempt to get his key players rest in the earlier stages of the match-up. The Celtics will attempt to force turnovers and methodically attack the paint, especially if Bynum is unable to play. I see this one coming down to the wire.
Prediction: Celtics by 5