Glen "Big Baby" Davis was the man with 18 points and five boards in 22 minutes and the Big Four came up big when they needed to. Paul Pierce finally played like Paul Pierce finishing with 19 and adding six boards. With the Celtics leading 85-79 with 2:17 left and the game definitely in the balance, Pierce sank a 12-footer. After a Kobe 10 foot jumper cut the lead to 87-81 with 1:55 and a turnover each by each side, Pierce came back and sank a layup and was fouled by Kobe. He executed the free throw with 1:16 left to put the Celtics ahead 90-81. After Kobe sank three-for-three free throws to cut the lead to 90-84 with 1:07 left, Pierce missed a 20-footer and Kobe got the rebound. He dribbled it up the court, tried to drive to the hole and was stopped by KG and Davis, and turned back to throw it to a teammate near the three point line, think it was Derek Fisher. Rondo stepped in front of the pass, stole it and drove the court for a layup to put the Celtics ahead 92-84 with 34 seconds left. That was the play of the game. Garnett and Pierce were four-for-four from the line down the stretch to lead the Celtics to the 96-89 victory.
I think a major key in the game was the Celtics containing Pau Gasol in the second half. Gasol had 13 in the first half and looked to be unstoppable. Michael Wilbon at halftime was pretty much giving the series to the Lakers saying they had the best big man on the floor in Gasol and the best all-around player in Kobe. That may be true, but when you throw Ray, Rondo, Pierce, KG and now Big Baby and the resurgent Nate Robinson and Tony Allen, you've got a pretty strong cast that is tough to beat. Gasol had eight in the second half. The Celtics outrebounded the Lakers 41-34, a big stat always in this series and any series.
This series could go seven though I picked the Celtics in six. This is the best series I've seen in a while. Ray had 12 points but was 0-for-four from three. He still made some key shots in the third quarter and showed his usual leadership. Rondo finished with 10, KG 13. Nate Robinson had 12. He and Big Baby really bring some energy to this team. Add to that Tony Allen and the explosive 'Sheed and this team is very formidable. The bench was the key to the game last night with the starters closing it out.
The Lakers are very good as well. Kobe was 10-for-22 from the field, but six-for-11 from trifecta and seven-for-eight from the line. He is playing at such a high level. Gasol is a stud, too. The Celtics are going to keep being physical with him to try and wear him down. I know he's a pretty sore guy today. He was beaten up in the middle last night. Andrew Bynum seems limited with a knee injury, so Gasol is going to have to carry the team down low along with help from Ron Artest and Lamar Odom. With Fisher, Artest, Odom and guys off the bench like Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown, this team can be unstoppable at times.
Just a classic series. Reminds me of the 1980's clashes between the Lakers-Celtics. Maybe not as much explosiveness offensively, but a lot of star power and some tough, hard-nosed defense.
Game five is Sunday Night at 7 on ABC. Will pick the Celtics to win it in another war. The Celtics have to get game five with game six and game seven, if necessary, in LA.
(Glen "Big Baby" Davis played like a Hall of Famer last night, pictured above.)