Big Baby carried Nate Robinson and the rest of Celtic team in the fourth quarter

I am going to try to keep this blog entry short and sweet although I have yet to write a short blog. There isn’t really much to discuss about game four of the 2010 NBA finals that hasn’t already been said in games one thru three. Seems like after every game we are discussing the same players not doing what they should be doing or praising them when they did perform how they were supposed to. As I watched game four, there was one monumental move in the game that was something that hadn’t happen in this series and is worth discussing. It was the move that Doc Rivers made or didn’t make in the fourth quarter. It was a move that could have majorly backfired on him and have the whole city of Boston as well as the rest of America asking why?

With four minutes left in game four of the 2010 NBA finals, Doc Rivers had Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett at the scorer’s table ready to check in for, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Rasheed Wallace. The Boston Celtics had just taken a nine point lead in the game after scoring on their first nine possessions, but he felt that it was time to put his core group of guys back into the game. Boston’s quartette of Glen Davis, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Rasheed Wallace had done something that the starters had trouble doing in the first half and part of the third quarter. They began to trust each other and play with intensity on defense, and most importantly were efficient and effective on offense. Going back to game three, the Celtics had been stagnant on the offensive end of the court for seven straight quarters. During that stretch, Boston had made the Los Angeles Lakers defense look like the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons.

Doc recognized what was going on with his four reserves on the floor, so he motioned for Rondo, Pierce and Garnett to come back to the bench. This decision by Doc was a huge gamble but a great example of what type of coach Doc is. Celtic players have always said that Doc is the type of coach that trusts in his players and instills confidence in them by making decisions like he did last night. If the Celtics would have gone on to lose game four, we would be talking about how dumb of a move it was for him to ride with his reserves down the stretch. Instead it proved to be the right move and showed great intuition by Doc Rivers.

Kobe Bryant had been feeling it more than he ever had in the previous games in the NBA finals, and he had made some unbelievable shots in the second half. One thing that we have come to learn over time is that with the best “closer” in the NBA hitting shots like he was last night. Taking chances like Doc Rivers took are ones that usually backfire on you. Throughout the fourth quarter, Boston played in all out desperation mode as if their lives and careers depended on the outcome of that quarter. With Kobe doing what he was doing, going into game five down 3-1 was going to be like playing with fire for the Celtics. Kobe has yet to have one of his signature superstar type games in this series where he is flat out unstoppable. If Boston were to have gone into game five down 3-1 to the Lakers, this series would have pretty much been over. Kobe is known for being one not to mess with in “close out games”. He will end it and smile while doing it while everyone is in awe, and I am sure Boston was well aware of that last night.

Andrew Bynum looks on with Adam Morrison as the Lakers fall to the Celtics in game four

Boston was able to take advantage of Andrew Bynum only being able to play for twelve minutes in game four. Andrew had been playing extremely well in this series, unfortunately he had to sit most of the game on the bench due to his injured knee. Bynum not being in the middle for the Lakers made them vulnerable on the front line and Boston took advantage of the Lakers unfortunate situation. Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol had no answer for Glen Davis as he had his way with both of them and took over the game in the fourth quarter. If Davis wasn’t killing them down low then Nate Robinson was killing him with is penetration into the lane and scoring almost at will. Tony Allen had his moments offensively, but where he was really effective was on the defensive end making the Lakers guards settle for jump shots and/or low percentage shots.

Doc finally felt that with 2:51 left in the game, it was a good time to put Rondo, Garnett and Pierce back into the game. Pierce came in and hit a jumper that put Boston up 87-79 with 2:18 remaining, and scored on a lay-up that sealed the Lakers fate with 1:18 left in the game. While the last few seconds of game four ticked off the clock in the Celtics 96-89 win over the Lakers. I began to wonder what Celtics team will show up on Sunday. You can’t ignore the mistakes and issues in a win that you wouldn’t ignore in a loss. Although the Celtics had just played their most complete quarter since game two. You had to recognize that the Celtics success during the fourth quarter came from the backs of the reserves not their starters. Ray Allen struggled again as the starting five as a group still wasn’t able to get it together in this game. So what Celtic team should we expect to see in game five?

On the other side of the coin, you have to wonder if Bynum’s injury is going to end up being the Achilles heel for the Lakers and the down fall in them repeating as champions. Gasol has played great in this series and has been the best big man on the floor between both teams. But Andrew is the key to that Lakers front line and it shows how important he is to that front line every time he isn’t on the court. Whatever happens between these teams on Sunday, the winner of game five will win this series. I believe the Celtics will win game five and head back to L.A. up 3-2. It may be another ugly game like game four, but a win is a win no matter how ugly it is.

Until then, enjoy your weekend and be on the lookout for my Sunday sports notes blog entry by noon.

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