Kobe would never admit it, but his coach spilled the beans. He and his teammates are a tired bunch. There's no doubt it will be the Celtics' superstars who will be called upon to win the series, but it's also evident overall depth is taking a toll on the Lakers. It's just another dividend paying off for Doc. While the key guys were nursing injuries during the painful 27-27 run, he managed to keep the entire team focused on the big prize. Ergo, the bench was able to pick up the starters and win game 4.
Starting tomorrow night the Laker reserves will try to return the favor. While versatile, the main stays off the bench are more perimeter oriented, which comports with the Celt's game plan. Despite Kobe's heroics the Celts' defense is doing a nice job keeping him away from the rim. He and his teammates are working harder for their offense. Defensively they simply couldn't get stops in that 4th quarter. The Celts scored on their first 9 possessions. Jackson was unable to rest Kobe and Gasol after halftime. Odom was forced to play nearly 22 minutes, Artest more than 20. The results were not pretty; a series high in turnovers (16), a 16-8 advantage for Boston on the offensive glass, and a huge points in the paint differential (54-34).
And then there's the Bynum factor. Without him LA is very thin up front. Davis took full advantage of Bynum’s absence. After 4 games Davis is averaging 1.1 points per possession without Bynum compared to .060 with him on the floor. Overall the Lakers are giving up 1.08 ppp in 180 possessions without Bynum compared 1.00 in the 177 possessions he's played in. This is a scary scenario for Jackson when you consider the Celtics have not put together a solid, collective effort in any of the four games.
With Bynum hobbled the Lakers are looking more like the team they were in the 2008 finals. In that series Gasol was muscled effectively. The Celts were able to control the glass. In this series the team who wins the battle of the boards wins the game.