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Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Game 4 - Recap

Some assorted notes before looking at each player

atthehive from At The Hive sent me the following note after the game:

The funniest part is, I know a die-hard Celtics fan who was at the game and he LEFT at halftime he paid 400 dollars for one ticket and he missed the greatest comeback in playoff history. - atthehive
- Never leave a game early.
- Let's revoke that guy's die-hard status, unless he is KG intense and was actually afraid of doing something that would result in him going to jail. For a long time.

LA’s first half swag was phenomenal.

I don’t like P.J. Brown and Kendrick Perkins on the court together. Nor do I like Leon Powe and KG on the court together. In the end though Doc Rivers made the right call with KG and James Posey.

Speaking of lineups. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Eddie House, and James Posey play well together.

Go to the boxscore and see how close some of the stats – rebounds, foul shots, field goals, blocks, turnovers – ended up being. Intense game.

One of the lasting images for me is definitely LA’s bench whooping it up in the first half. I don’t begrudge them. That was some great basketball. Still it was refreshing to see the Lakers come off as frontrunners, as the Celtics have been painted as such at times this season.

It’s not over. I can’t stress this strongly enough. Let’s not let this go down as the defining moment of a losing series. Think Carlton Fisk waving a homerun fair and Pierce celebrating on the scorer’s table after the come back victory against the Nets in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Lakers

Trevor Ariza

If the Lakers had won I would have given Ariza his own post. His first half was that good. It would have gone something like this. In the midst of possibly the greatest in season trading period ever Ariza was sent to LA for Brian Cook and Maurice Evans. Few people cared, especially when Ariza broke his foot and barely saw the court in the playoffs. It’s similar to the Celtics acquiring the 49th pick in the 2006 NBA draft from the Denver Nuggets only to see him blow up in Game 2. And in Game 4 Ariza made a tremendous impact. Without watching the first half again or even looking at the box score I distinctly remember him doing the following things:

- He blocked one of Ray Allen’s shots to start a fast break.

- He made a great read and stole a pass when Ray Allen jumped in the air and tried to throw it the wing. As a side note I hate it when Allen does that. Yeah I linked to myself. What now?

- He grabbed an offensive rebound over James Posey and dunked it.

- He hit an uncontested three-pointer.

- He deflected another lazy pass out bounds, which even though it was not a steal sent a message.

- He grabbed an offensive rebound and then hit Luke Walton in the corner for a three pointer.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant acts like a child. There I said it. I understand he is the greatest player on the globe/planet. That’s the new thing. But he’s downright petulant. A few times tonight I was begging for Marlon Brando to rise from the dead and give him the old, “You can act like a man!” His ten assists and four steals were excellent. Give credit where credit is due. But let’s not forget two very important things:

1. P.J. Brown dunked on him.
2. Ray Allen blew by him baseline. More on that later. However, never, ever, ever give up baseline. Ever! 

Jordan Farmar/Derek Fisher

Both LA point guards wooed momentum back when it was thinking about switching sides and joining the Celtics. Fisher had a three-point play the old school way and a couple of other free throws. Of course Farmar hit that runner at the buzzer. Here’s my question. Have the Lakers gotten to the point that they don’t know when to go with Farmar or Fisher? I’m not exactly sure what I’m trying to say here but LA’s point guard situation is a mess too. And they don’t have an injury and a really old dude.

Pau Gasol

He put up 17 and 10, had a huge three point play towards the end of the first half and showed flashes of what he can bring to the table. I’m not sure if the Lakers just go away from him or if he just isn't assertive enough. But if I rooted for the Lakers I’d want the offense to run through him at times, especially if the other team is on a 36-15 run. He’s such a great passer. And he’s crafty around the rim.

Coby Karl

I saw him during one of the timeouts and thought - he's a Laker and a cancer survivor. I bet he does okay for himself.

Lamar Odom

I don’t think he should be praised for showing up in the first ¾ of game 5. First of all he is one of the most physically gifted players in the NBA. Second of all where was he down the stretch? Meanwhile, I don’t have much of a problem with his showboating. Hell Eddie House and Paul Pierce taunted everyone at the end. But it was weak when Odom showed up Kendrick Perkins after the hard foul where Perk injured his shoulder. Yes Perk fouled him hard. But that’s what a player has to do when an opponents is driving with great success to the hoop. Ray Allen didn’t bat an eyelash when Derek Fisher got him hard on the break. And if being down 3-1 was not enough Odom has now unleashed the Beast. Best of luck with that.

Vladimir Radmanovic

Lakers fans probably feel better if Radmanovic has a second half.

Ronny Turiaf/Luke Walton

Not much to say. Although I was impressed with how physical Turiaf was with KG.

Sasha Vujacic

I should probably save this for the praise James Posey section that is coming up. But I’ll tell it now. I watched the media session the NBA scheduled for Monday. And at one point a reporter asked Posey if he was worried about Vujacic’s lethal shooting. Something along those lines. Posey calmly remarked that Vujacic wasn’t hitting anything in Boston and he was not too concerned. Well tonight the Machine was 1-9 from the field. And he overplayed Ray Allen on several occasions. Of course Allen’s final field goal was the most glaring example. Granted it’s not Vujacic’s fault that the C’s had shooters out there to spread the floor. And it’s also not his fault that Gasol was not there to even challenge Allen. But Vujacic’s in your face defense was not that effective.

The Celtics

Ray Allen

All Celtics fans that follow the team closely had that moment this season when the light bulb went off and they said, “Ray Allen is not just a jump shooter.” Some of those same fans later considered if Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West were a better fit on this team. Morons. And yes I’m looking at me. Regardless, how about the Ray Allen resurrection? It will be a long time before I get over him blowing by Kobe Bryant baseline and then going with an MJesque reverse lay up. He also pulled down 9 rebounds, which is his new high for the season. And one of those boards was in crunch time in the paint. He absolutely skied for it. He was cold blooded.

P.J. Brown

I loved when he dunked on Kobe. That was a top 5 moment for me from a comeback stacked with great moments. And it was great to see Doc Rivers know when to pull him.

Kevin Garnett

His final numbers were modest – 16 points (7-14 from the floor) and 10 rebounds for what he is capable of doing. But on numerous occasions he went to work in the post. It’s odd because he has 2, maybe 3 moves. Still he made a big bucket down the stretch and made the right pass to Eddie House at one point for another huge basket. Prepare yourself or a rant. People always talk about how important leadership, defense, and attitude are. Garnett excels in all three of those areas. Yet when it comes down to it most people just focus on scoring. It reminds me of people paying lip service to special teams and ultimately ignoring them, even though we all know how important special teams are to a football team. Well KG brings so much to the table. Granted if he were a scoring assassin in the 4th quarter he’d be even higher on the list of all time greats. Still he was +17 tonight and has nothing to be ashamed of, that’s for sure.

Eddie “freaking” House

Boston fans tend to give him more credit than what he deserves at times because of his hustle. But I refuse to downplay his 11 points, 4 rebounds, and team leading +/- (+20) for tonight’s game.  This is his 8th team in 8 years. Can the Celtics just sign him and give him a home? Several more Eddie House thoughts:

- Turns out he just needed real minutes (24 tonight) to make things happen. He got off to a slow start but could not get the quick hook and started feeling it.

- In hindsight are we sure he didn’t deserve some burn in Phoenix during the playoffs? I know this is crazy, biased fan talk. And Steve Nash ran that offense better than anyone, getting great looks for his guys. But remember how tired Nash used to get? I’m just saying.

- The Celtics organization and its fans owe House an apology. He helped Boston get off to a great start but we focused on his weaknesses. The organization brought in Sam Cassell and slowly worked House out of the rotation. Yet he still jumped up and down on the sideline, stayed ready, and eventually made an impact. Well done.

Kendrick Perkins

Perk has a history of both shoulder injuries and being a beast. He’s a tough man. But even with that and the 3-1 I’m concerned. That looked painful. And there’s always a chance he plays exactly long enough to close line Odom with his good shoulder. I never thought the C’s could win with Perk giving them so little. And that’s not an insult.

Paul Pierce

First a question. Did Pierce recently find God? First it was the angel after the ultimate shooter’s role on the free throw late in game 7 against Cleveland. Then there was the Game 1 knee situation. And once again tonight. Whatever the answer Pierce came alive when his team needed him most. Strangely he only scored 5 in the 4th. It seemed like more. But he busted on both ends of the court. Kobe can attest to that. There’s a reason Shaq nicknamed Pierce The Truth. We saw it tonight.

James Posey

As Posey was walking off the court Danny Ainge grabbed him. I can only assume Ainge said something like, “Hey we’ll get an extension worked out quick and easy this summer, okay. Hell of a game.” And Posey said, “Cool, don’t forget about House.” And somewhere a critic remembered that he hates when a blogger make up quotes, even if said blogger does not pretend the quotes are real.

Leon Powe

He got after it in his 9 minutes. I know his game is not what I make it out to be. But the guy is all effort. And I’ll take 5 rebounds in limited time.

Rajon Rondo

He just didn’t have it tonight.

That's it for now. I need some sleep. I'll get back at it tomorrow. In the meantime vote in the poll.

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