Monthly Archive for June, 2010

Page 5 of 8

L.A. Heads Home Down 3-2 After Game 5 Loss

60744948The Lakers battled the Celtics throughout a Game 5 in Boston that defined the fight-for-every-inch cliche, but couldn’t make enough shots, or get enough stops, to prevent a 92-86 loss that sent the Purple and Gold back to Los Angeles down 3-2 in the NBA Finals.

L.A. managed to stay within six points at the half despite being out shot by 33 percent (66 to 33), but things began to get away in the third even as Kobe Bryant went on a phenomenal individual run to score his team’s first 19 points.

In full Mamba mode*, Bryant buried his first seven attempts – including three triples – after getting his “tweaked” ankle re-taped at halftime, but Boston made nine of its first 11 shots at the other end to go ahead by as many as 13 points.
*”Kobe is the one guy that you can’t stop in this league,” described Paul Pierce.

“They broke the game open in the third quarter, and it was a struggle for us to get ourselves back into that ballgame,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. “I know they were shooting a high percentage, but it gets that way when you shoot lay-ups in this game.”

60745184With Bryant finally getting some help from his friends, L.A. had a chance to get within just three points with 43 seconds left after Derek Fisher improbably won a jump ball over Kevin Garnett, but Ron Artest missed both free throws at the other end, the score stuck at 87-82. The Lakers missed nine free throws on the night, four in the final quarter, all of which were critical, and failed to clear three defensive rebounds in the fourth off missed C’s three-pointers.

“We were knocking at the door a couple of times, but just couldn’t get through,” said Bryant.

Last season’s Finals MVP finished with 38 points, an individual high in the Finals, but his teammates managed just 48. Pau Gasol played a sub-par offensive game by his standards to finish with 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting, while Artest and Derek Fisher each struggling to convert only 4-of-18 shots. Down low, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom took six shots apiece to score 14 collective points.

“Aside from Kobe, we pretty much contained everyone else,” said Kevin Garnett.

Boston, meanwhile, was far more efficient in getting 12-of-21 makes from Paul Pierce (27 points), 6-of-11 from Garnett (18) and 9-of-12 from Rajon Rondo (18) as the C’s shot 65 percent through three quarters before cooling considerably in the fourth to finish at 56 percent.

“I told the players before the game (that Boston) is going to shoot well in one of these games,” said Jackson. “You just have to hang with them.”

The Lakers did for a while at least, thanks to an effort that produced 16 offensive rebounds (including seven from Gasol) to Boston’s seven resulting in 22 second-chance points, but L.A. struggled to run its offense effectively for a second straight game.

“You look at the assists, we had 12,” said Jackson. “They had 21. That’s a big differential in a game like this. It’s a struggle.”

With all that said, the Lakers are glad they’re heading home. Jackson was the first to display optimism after the contest.

“If you look at it, they’ve come home and carried the 3-2 lead back,” he explained. “Now we’re going back to home court to win it. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, isn’t it?

“We got the one we needed … we’re upbeat about going into (Game 6).”

Bryant, later, was asked if he and the team had the confidence to win two straight games at home.

His voice thick with sarcasm, a smirk on his face, he replied, “I’m not confident at all.”

In other words: “Yes.”

Until L.A. has a chance to prove it, your numbers:

POSTGAME NUMBERS
1 Slim rebounding advantage for Boston (35-34), despite L.A.’s 16 offensive window cleans due to a major discrepancy in shooting percentage (see below). The boards stat has decided the winner of each of five games

14 Fast break points for Boston, to just three for the Lakers.

16 Boston’s percentage points advantage in field goal percentage (56.3 to 39.7 percent).

38 Points for Kobe Bryant on 13-of-27 field goals, including a 7-for-7 start to the third quarter. He added 8-of-9 free throws, five boards and five assists.

86 L.A.’s point total, a low for the 2010 postseason.

Lakers 86, Celtics 92: Finals Game 5 Twitter Diary

60743985Lakers – Celtics Gameday Page
After a Game 4 loss in Boston decided in the fourth quarter, the Lakers had a chance to take a 3-2 series lead back to Los Angeles with Sunday’s Game 5 in Boston. Mike Trudell was typing all the way through on Twitter via the @LakersReporter account to make sure you didn’t miss a thing:

Inactives
Lakers: DJ Mbenga
Celtics: Tony Gaffney

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Bynum set to Start
What would Andrew Bynum be able to give? It had been a major focus throughout the Finals, but the news looked good for L.A. heading into Game 5. Bynum had his knee drained following a Game 4 second half in which he played only two minutes, and progressed well in the two days before Sunday. Bynum said on Saturday that he was “100 percent” going to play, and Phil Jackson confirmed the fact in his pregame media session.

Pregame
- Similar atmosphere from the last two games in the Garden, though Game 3 still loudest. No smiles from L.A. in warmups/intros. Anthem done by Boston Pops, pretty solid.
- Bynum’s using the extra few minutes of warmups between the starting lineups & tip (Finals only) to re-activate himself.
- Artest told reporters the other day that he had a meeting with Phil Jackson, & felt support. We’ll see if it impacts his play.

60743916First Quarter
- It’s a similar start to Game 3, with Boston riding a huge energy surge to start the game with a 4-0 run. L.A.’s 0-for-3.
- Already, Bynum’s impact is felt with an offensive board and put-back, plus the foul, stopping a 6-0 C’s run. FT miss, 6-3 early.
- The only difference between this and Game 3′s start is that Artest didn’t pick up 2 early fouls. Now 2-pt game after Fish FT’s.
- Kobe’s in distribution mode once again to begin, having taken just 1 shot (miss), with an assist and two hockey assists.
- Fisher just drew the 2nd foul on Pierce while attempting a 3. PP thinks he had ball, as do C’s fans, but 3 FT’s to come.
- LA has not been called for a foul with 4:58 to go in the 1st. We’ll likely see Odom in for Bynum, who had 6 pts, 1 reb.
- Fish 3-for-3 FT’s, has 9 pts. Pierce’s 1st foul was changed to another Celtic, meaning he has just 1 and will stay in the game, with L.A. up 15-14.
- Bynum stayed in the game out of the time out, Odom still on sideline with 4:41 left. First L.A. foul goes to Kobe.
- After a slow stretch, Boston has hit 6 straight shots to take an 18-15 lead. Perkins, however, picked up foul No. 2 on a charge.
- Artest was hoping to break out offensively tonight, getting a confidence boost from his team, but he’s opened 0-for-4.
- RT @LAIreland: Lakers have made just 5 of 17 shots (29%). Pau and Kobe haven’t scored–and they are only down 3.
- Odom’s first entrance (2:39) was marked by a Bryant 3-pointer from the wing to tie the game at 18.
- Boston literally stuck 4 guys in the left corner to isolate for Pierce on Artest, but Pierce missed a step-back J. PP’s 3-for-6.
- Lil’ Nate missed a 3 at the buzzer, as L.A. trailed 22-20 despite 7-for-21 FG’s in the 1st (33%). L.A. up 11-8 on glass.
- We’ve seen that before … Pierce drew a charge on Odom, negating Odom’s driving layup. Pierce looked to be way late.

60743897Second Quarter
- It’s Bynum, Odom, Artest, Vujacic & Farmar to start 2nd. Phil wants more rest for Kobe so he has energy in 4th.
- Boston has the same lineup as the 4th Q in Game 4, except PP in for R. Allen. T. Allen opens with a rare made J; Bynum misses.
- Lakers are hitting the offensive glass so far quite well, grabbing 5 & 6 already concluding w/Odom’s put-back to stop a 6-0 Celtics’ run.
- Kobe got just 2 minutes of rest before returning in place of Artest. Bryant was 1-for-4 for 3 pts w/2 ast in 1st.
- A poor start to the 2nd from L.A. allowed an 8-2 Celtics run, Boston taking a 30-22 lead into a Jackson time out.
- Lakers are 1-for-8, Boston 4-of-5 to open the 2nd before a 24-sec. violation on the Celtics. Kobe yet to get going (1-for-5). They needed the ensuing Sasha Vujacic three from the left wing.
- Gasol’s getting more rest than he’s used to here, having yet to appear with 6 min & counting going off in 2nd.
- There’s Artest … finally sticking a jumper, a wing 3, to cap a 9-3 run for L.A. Score’s at 32-31 C’s, who had led by 8.
- Some extra stuff here: Artest knocked KG to the ground (PF), & Rondo shoved Artest, who laughed. Rondo given T, Kobe hit FT.
- Artest just hit his 2nd straight 3, again from the left wing, with Kobe getting assist No. 4. Then Kobe hoop puts L.A. up 1.
- Great atmosphere here, fans going nuts as PP 3 is followed by a Perk tip-in. Good time out from Phil Jackson w/C’s back up 4.
- Gasol has taken only 2 shots in 15 min., making 1, along w/4 rebounds. L.A. will clearly need more production.
- The Celtics are shooting lights out (20-for-30), the Lakers ice cold (14-for-39) yet L.A.’s within 4, helped by 8 off. rebs.
- Gasol missed 2 wide-open J’s that he usually swishes in the final 2 minutes as Boston takes a 45-39 lead into the half.

60743884Third Quarter
- Celtics stay hot in the 3rd, backing up their 65% 1st half with a Rondo layup and Pierce 3 to go up by 11, biggest lead thus far.
- The Celtics haven’t cooled off in the 3rd, making their first 3 shots to reach 69% for the game, a ridiculous number.
- Just as ridiculous – Kobe’s last 3 shots, including an off-balance, pull-up 3 as he tries to keep L.A. in it.
- Kobe has buried 4 straight shots, including his 2nd 3, to reach 20 for the game suddenly. 10 pts in 4 min. L.A. still down 7.
- Boston is scoring at an incredible rate right now, making 7-of-8 FG’s in the 3rd. And that’s after shooting 66% in 1st half.
- Finally, a Celtics’ miss after another Kobe hoop (made 5 FG’s already in 3rd), but L.A. can’t clear rebound. C’s bringing A game.
- Wow, is Kobe putting on a show to keep L.A. afloat, finishing a wide alley-oop pass with a one-handed tap. He has 14 in 5 min.
- Celtics fans in front of me punching each other after Black Mamba nails an absurd 3. He’s 7-for-7 in 3rd (incl. 3 3′s).
- Bryant has all 17 of L.A.’s 3rd Q points, the lead at 64-56.
- Lakers just have not been able to get it done on defense here, with a rare C’s miss resulting in an off. reb & bucket. 11-pt lead.
- Gasol’s and-1 were the first non-Kobe points of the quarter (Kobe had first 19). Now a 10-point game w/Odom heading to line, 1:49 to play.
- Vujacic’s 2nd 3 of the game & Gasol’s put-back layup allowed L.A. to enter the 4th down 8 at 73-65. Quick 5-0 burst critical.
- Kobe scored the 1st 19 pts of the quarter, before Gasol/Vujacic added the final 8. Interesting to see Kobe’s energy for 4th.

60744031Fourth Quarter
- Gasol is suddenly alive and well, hitting the 17-footer he missed 3 times in the 1st half to cut lead to 6.
- A ‘Sheed 3 came after Gasol’s jumper, but Bryant hit a runner then swatted T. Allen at other end. Lead at 7, Kobe with 31.
- Kobe’s still going, pulling up for another jumper to reach 33 points, but Allen’s answer kept lead at 10. Odom, however, then answered Ray with a driving lefty layup.
- Lead’s down to 6 after a nice play from Odom, who grabbed Artest’s missed 3 & stuck it back. 81-75, 6:01 to play.
- Gasol & Odom have 11 combined points from the end of Kobe’s 19-pt 3rd Q, after just 2 each in 1st half.
- KG’s hoop, then a steal and layup from Rondo pushed the lead right back to 10 w/4:50 to go. Big, big hill for L.A. to climb.
- Lakers have turned the ball over on 4-of-5 possessions before an Artest missed 3 & Kobe foul on Pierce. Lead at 12, 3:24 left.
- Lakers hoping for one final push, with lead at 10 after 2 Kobe FT’s with 2:55 to play. Bryant has 35, rest of team has 42.
- Weird stat … L.A. has blocked only 1 shot, and it was Kobe. Meanwhile, Gasol’s1-of-2 FT’s have lead at 9, 2:23 left.
- A long rebound from Allen’s missed 3 went right to Perkins. Celts up 32-30 on the glass.
- Artest shooting 57% from the FT line in the playoffs … & hit 1-of-2 here, like Gasol had moments earlier. 87-79, 1:41 left, Boston shooting FT’s.
- That’s exactly what L.A. wanted … Kobe drew a foul on Allen while taking a 3, can cut lead to 5 with 3 makes, 1:30 left.
- Kobe hit all 3, getting to 38 points, to cut the lead to 87-82. Tension has returned to the building, audibly.
- Another killer offensive board for Perkins after a missed 3 from Allen. C’s retain possession, up 5 w/1:05 to play.
- Wow, how did ‘Sheed take a 3 there? It missed, but L.A. again could not clear a long rebound. Jump ball, KG & Fish.
- Um … Derek Fisher just won a jump ball against Kevin Garnett? Despite giving up 10 inches? Huh? Artest to shoot FT’s.
- Rondo’s transition layup has the lead at 7, 89-82, with 35.2 seconds left.
- Mistake there … L.A. couldn’t foul the terrible FT shooting Rondo when he had it, were then forced to foul Ray Allen.
- Not quuuuite over, but quite close. Still a 2 possession game with KG missing 1-of-2 FT’s. 92-86, 08.9 left.
- The final: Celtics 92, Lakers 86. LA shoots 40% to Boston’s 56%, gets 38 from Kobe but only 12 from Gasol as 2nd scorer.
- The rebounding difference again favors winner, by just 1 @ 35-34. L.A. shot 26 FT’s, but made only 17, including 4 4th Q misses.

Bynum, as expected, to start Game 5

Lakers center Andrew Bynum, the subject of the majority of BasketBlog posts of late, will indeed start Game 5 after missing all but two minutes in Game 4′s second half and getting his knee drained after the game.

“He’s ready to play the game and ready to go out there and perform,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson prior to the contest.

Bynum had shared on Saturday that he “100 percent” was going to play, feeling confident he’d be able to produce for L.A. in the middle of the floor.

Finals Video Preview: Game 5


In a 2010 NBA Finals series that has seen the Lakers and Celtics alternate wins from Games 1-4, L.A. sees Game 5 in Boston as its turn to claim a 3-2 edge.

We spoke with assistant coach Frank Hamblen to preview the final game in Beantown, discussing what adjustments the Lakers hope to make from Game 4, how to get Lamar Odom going, how to better get the basketball inside particularly down the stretch and the ways in which L.A. can limit the Celtics’ bench productivity.

To check it out, click play up above.

6-12 Injury Update: Andrew Bynum

bynum_smilePotentially good news for the Lakers came from the lips of Andrew Bynum on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m going to play, 100 percent,” he stated regarding Sunday’s Game 5.

While the team is still taking a wait-and-see-how-it-feels-before-the-game approach, Bynum was confident that he’d be able to contribute, stating that the draining process he underwent on Friday did its job and that he’s feeling better.

“I think we’re still optimistic that he’s going to give it a shot,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. “We have a day to work with him. He’s had a day of therapy and he can start getting some movement and maybe start activating himself tomorrow and get himself going.”

We’d learned on Friday that Bynum had an MRI scan of his right knee that showed no additional damage, and that he’d had the knee drained on Thursday evening after the game.

Many of Bynum’s teammates, not to mention his general manager Mitch Kupchak, praised his toughness and “maturity” (in Kupchak’s words) for playing through the pain, as Kobe Bryant for one has done for so many years.

Bynum’s fully expecting some swelling to return to the knee after the game, but feels that the additional day between games 4 and 5 will have him playing at a high level.

We’ll see in a bit over 24 hours.

6-11 Injury Update: Andrew Bynum

60707212Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who was able to play just under two minutes in the second half of Thursday evening’s Game 4 loss in Boston, underwent an MRI on Friday that revealed no new damage to his right knee.

According to Lakers spokesman John Black, Bynum also had fluid drained from the swollen knee on Friday, the same process that occurred before the Finals opened in Los Angeles last week (May 31).

Bynum said after Game 4 that he hoped to play in Sunday’s Game 5; he will be officially listed as questionable for the contest.

In the meantime, the 22-year-old will continue a variety of treatments on the knee to get it as ready for action as is possible.

Bynum had been a solid force for L.A. in the team’s first three games against Boston, including a 21-point, 7-block, 6-rebound performance in Game 2 and his nine points with 10 rebounds in Game 3, and was noticeably missed in Game 4.

“It bothered us in the second half not having Andrew be able to come out and play the start of the second half,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. “He tried a couple minutes, but it just wasn’t there for him. We’re glad we have a couple days off and we can kind of get him back hopefully in position where he can help us out again.”

Both Jackson and Bynum’s teammates praised what the young big man has shown from a toughness standpoint while battling through his injury, with Kobe Bryant saying that he thought ‘Drew would “be fine,” that he’d “bounce back and give it a go.”

We’ll have another update right here after Saturday’s practice.

Kobe Plays Pop-a-Shot

The most skilled basketball player in the world vs. a busboy in a Pop-a-Shot contest…

Whom are you taking?

Well, as you can see in the above video, even though Bryant barely missed a shot (with either his right or left hand) when recording the segment last week for Jimmy Kimmel Live, he was no match for perhaps the best Pop-a-Shot player in history, Ricardo the Busboy.

At least Bryant beat the scores of Charles Barkley and LeBron James, who were also annihilated by the brilliant Ricardo.

Phil Jackson – Friday Presser Transcript

60708045The Lakers did not practice on Friday as a team, though Phil Jackson explained that the players who didn’t play major minutes will do some playing as well as lifting weights and the like. Those that played big minutes, particularly Kobe Bryant (43) and Pau Gasol (44) have the day off.

Here is the full transcript of Jackson’s comments, including a non-update on Andrew Bynum:

Q. What is the condition of Andrew today? And what do you expect from him from Game 5 on Sunday?
PHIL JACKSON: I haven’t got any expectations. I don’t know what his condition is today. He was going to see the doctor later this morning, but in the transition I didn’t get another check with him.

Q. Are you surprised that the fluid has come back?
PHIL JACKSON: No, not surprised at all. It’s come back every game.

Q. What can you do to get Lamar jump started seeing as how he’s going to be playing a lot more time in the series it looks like?
PHIL JACKSON: I was thinking of an electrode, you know. (Laughter). Something that would really be a stimulus. What do you suggest?

Q. That’s a good start.
PHIL JACKSON: No, we’re just trying to find a comfort spot for him out there. He looked uncomfortable last night, and he got a couple double whammies go against him; Garnett out there for a while and then he had Davis coming at him, and things kind of snowballed on him.

Q. When Andrew has gone out and Lamar has come in, it seems like Lamar is playing on top, and you lose your inside game. Is that by design? Is he supposed to start on top and wind up someplace else, or is he supposed to get the ball around the basket ever?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, we’re trying to get him through the offense and into various spots. But he still has a guard role out there. So his responsibility is to actually bring the ball up and initiate the offense. That gives us kind of an unusual attack and gets Kobe at the wing, and it’s something that obviously Boston is quite prepared to try and stop. And the quickness of Davis, who’s a rather unusual player in the NBA with his size, still his quickness is I think affecting Lamar.

Q. Would it be good if Lamar could wind up closer to the basket more often?
PHIL JACKSON: You know, he had a couple post‑up opportunities that he chose to step out and take the ball outside rather than post it, so you know, there was something that I thought ‑‑ that’s what I referred to as probably wasn’t quite comfortable in those positions at that time.

60707828Q. The way that Lamar came up 19 and 19 in the Phoenix series, a couple big games, do you have the confidence he is going to come out with one of those big performances in these last best of three?
PHIL JACKSON: Both he and Ron, I think, have the ability to rebound and come back. Both of them are capable of playing big in games that are like this. We have confidence, and I have confidence that Ron is going to have a game and be ready for a ballgame. He’s had a really tough shooting situation in this series and he hasn’t done well, and defensively he’s been fine, but offensively it hasn’t been quite the same. So he has, you know, a game to get to and to play. Lamar struggled two years ago in this series in this match‑up, and he has to break through kind of that mental gap that he had from that experience to move forward.

Q. With Andrew, to what extent are you making the call on this? Obviously you would think if he goes and warms up on Sunday a young player in the NBA Finals would say, I want to play. I want to try it. Do you have to at some point say it’s just not working for our team?
PHIL JACKSON: If he can’t get back in defense transition‑wise, and that’s one of the things they’re trying to attack with our first unit obviously when Andrew is out there is try and run, then obviously he’s going to hurt the team. But even with him dragging the leg around a little bit, he still helped us in situations last night getting rebounds, that I thought a lot of our other guys ‑‑ got the ball knocked out of their hands, fumbled the ball, went out of bounds off of them. Andrew still has the length and the strength to capture rebounds that we need. So we’ll use him if he’s available and able, but we’re certainly not going to put him in a situation that’s either going to hurt himself or the team.

Q. Some of the players last night mentioned that there was a lack of ball movement. What would you point your finger to as to why there was that lack of ball movement later on in the game?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, you know, the Celtics’ defense, a touted defense, likes to get up into players and make them put the ball on the floor. I mean, that’s part of their game plan is to make a guy uncomfortable enough to have to drive and then put him under duress on a drive. So our situation is obviously to be able to use that to our advantage, and that’s the skill and the aspect that some of our players still haven’t developed yet. Our starters are pretty good at it, some of our bench players haven’t developed the skill yet to kind of handle that and succeed and actually use it against the Celtics.

Q. What will you guys do, if anything, as a team today?
PHIL JACKSON: The players were getting on a bus at noon when I was coming over here, that haven’t played substantial minutes, to go do extra work, aerobic, weight, whatever. There’s a basket and a gym at the facility that we have ‑‑ that we use, that we use when we’re here, and they’ll do some of that. I have one of my coaches going over if guys want to do individual work. The rest of the guys who played heavy minutes are going to have a day off, and this afternoon we’ll probably have a short meeting just to connect ourselves again and go about our day, so it’s not disconnectedness that might happen or loss of focus. So we’ll get it back.

Q. No film, watch film or anything like that?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, we might save them from that for a day. We’ll see.

Q. Every series takes on its own tone. How would you characterize this series?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, I kind of anticipated this was going to be a back and forth series like this. I said this the other day, it’s a lot of teeter‑totter here, despair and elation, but we’re going to try and establish the fact that we’re going back to LA with a 3‑2 lead. We believe we can do it. We felt we let one get away last night. We didn’t think that the Celtics played well enough for three quarters, and we squandered our opportunities in the third quarter, and that we came out without the kind of energy you have to sustain in the fourth quarter situation like this.
Continue reading ‘Phil Jackson – Friday Presser Transcript’

Celtics Ride Surge of Energy to Game 4 Win

60707058After seizing home court advantage back from Boston with a Game 3 victory on the road, the Lakers expected the Celtics to come out like cornered dogs in Thursday evening’s Game 4.

They were right … but L.A. couldn’t tame the beast.

Riding a surge of extra energy from their bench in the fourth quarter, Boston outscored L.A. 36-27 in the final period to seize a 96-89 victory that tied the NBA Finals at two, ensuring that if the Lakers are going to win a 16th championship, it would come back in the City of Angels.

“They had their backs to the wall tonight,” said Lakers head coach Phil Jackson. “They played desperate, and they got away with it.”

While Bryant and Pau Gasol scored 33 and 21 respective points, L.A. got only 35 points from the rest of its squad. The team’s two stars, who combined for 87 minutes of run, appeared to tire down the stretch while C’s subs Glen Davis and Nate Robinson combined for 15 of their 30 total points in the final period.

The Lakers struggled defensively down the stretch with that fatigue, caused in part by the absence of Andrew Bynum, who stayed in the locker room at halftime trying to get his ailing right knee ready to go but could offer only two minutes of second half playing time, 12:10 total.

“Obviously we miss Andrew when he’s not out there,” said Gasol. “He’s been so effective blocking shots and rebounding. Those two things alone are a big plus for us.”

60707342While Phil Jackson said that the team hoped the two days before Sunday’s Game 5 proved enough to get Bynum’s swollen knee ready to go (Bynum himself vowed to play), his absence provided some background to some statistical categories dominated by Boston.

The Celtics grabbed seven more rebounds (41-34), scored 20 more points in the paint (54-34), amassed 20 second-chance points thanks mostly to 16 offensive rebounds (to 10 and eight for L.A.) and outran the Purple and Gold to the tune of 15 fastbreak points against two from the Lakers.

“They got all the energy points, the hustle points, second-chance points, beat us to loose balls,” added Kobe Bryant. “That’s how the game turned around.”

In fact, 22 of Boston’s 36 fourth quarter points came in the paint.

“They really stepped on it in the fourth quarter,” said Phil Jackson. “We seemed to not be able to stop the momentum of their game. Their bench outplayed us in that sequence, and even with all that, at the end of the game we had our shot at it and couldn’t continue what we had to do.”

The Celtics successfully pushed Gasol and Lamar Odom 17 feet away from the basket particularly in the fourth, which contributed towards Bryant having to create perimeter looks for himself often late in the shot clock. After connecting on 5-of-7 threes in the first three quarter, he made only 1-of-4 in the fourth, and 2-of-6 shots overall.

“He was tired,” explained Jackson. “Physically he had to work too hard in the course of the game, and he couldn’t finish it out like he wanted to. We’ll have to do something different the next game to get him off the floor and keep him ready for that fourth quarter.”

Bryant, never one to concede that he is injured or tired, simply said “no” to postgame questions of that nature, suggesting that he was worried not at all about his shooting (“I can always go get a bucket”) but only about his team’s defense and rebounding.

That will be the team’s focus heading into Game 5, when the Lakers have a chance to take a 3-2 lead back to L.A. if they’re able to come away with a second road win.

“I think we have enough in our arsenal to produce,” said Gasol. “We know what to do, we know how to get it done.”

We’ll see about that on Sunday.

Until then, your numbers:

POSTGAME NUMBERS
1:50 Second half minutes for Andrew Bynum, who’s ailing right knee was too swollen for him to be effective. His absence certainly affected L.A. adversely in several categories as documented below.

6 Points for Derek Fisher after he dropped 11 crucial ones in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s Game 3 win. Fisher was limited by foul trouble throughout, playing only 30 minutes, which Kobe Bryant said hurt the Lakers at both ends of the floor.

16 Offensive rebounds for the Celtics, which emphasized Boston’s desperation/effort and helped produce a 20-10 edge in second-chance points.

20 More points in the paint for the Celtics (54) than the Lakers (34), a category that L.A. almost always wins, including Games 1 and 3 (see: Bynum’s absence/Boston’s effort).

33 Points for Kobe Bryant to lead all scorers, on 10-of-22 FG’s and 7-of-8 FT’s. It marked the 13th time in 20 postseason games that Bryant had scored at least 30.

Lakers 89, Celtics 96: Finals Game 4 Twitter Diary

60705550Lakers – Celtics Gameday Page
After a thrilling Game 3 win in Boston, the Lakers looked to take a 3-1 series edge in Thursday’s Game 4 at in Beantown. Mike Trudell was typing all the way through on Twitter via the @LakersReporter account to make sure you didn’t miss a thing:

Inactives
Lakers: Adam Morrison
Celtics: Tony Gaffney

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Phil Jackson on Bynum Starting
The major question heading into Game 4, as it had been since the opening of Round 2, regarded Andrew Bynum’s knee. There had been some speculation that Bynum wouldn’t play from various media outlets, but the 22-year-old said he would play no matter what, and Phil Jackson confirmed before the game that ‘Drew would indeed start: “We’ll try to get him six, seven minutes at the beginning of the game. He likes to get out there and participate and get the feel of the game, and we’ll see how it goes from there.

Pregame
- The 9 p.m. Eastern start gives the Celtics fans plenty of time to rile up, though there’s a bit less energy than before Game 3.
- Danger note for me tweeting: 2 Celtics fans behind me saw the “Lakers.com” on my name card. They’ve had a few root beers.
- Lakers coaches identified 2 Boston plays that hurt ‘em in Games 1-3: 1) double high screen/roll; 2) an elbow screen/roll.
- 2 other keys for L.A.: limiting transition chances (C’s had 12 FB pts in Game 3) & getting ball inside consistently, esp. late.

60705724First Quarter
- Especially after Kobe’s fadeaway to open scoring. RT @jadande*: Crowd intensity at the Garden is wayyyy down from Game 3.
*For those not accustomed to Twitter protocol, that’s a “retweet” of someone else’s tweet (ESPN’s J.A. Adande in this case), with my thoughts added on to the front.
- It took Ray Allen only 1 minute to make a FG after his 0-for-13 Game 3, on a driving layup. Fans trying to pick it up here.
- Gasol’s 15-foot J from Gasol made it 5-4 C’s after Allen missed an open 3. But C’s players are all over the place, incl. off. glass.
- Fish is only 2 3′s from catching Jordan on the all-time postseason 3-point chart. Has yet to hit in series, after a corner miss.
- L.A. took a 12-11 lead on a tough leaner from Kobe over Allen, following Gasol’s 3rd bucket early, halfway through the 1st.
- Boston’s getting good looks, but has converted only 5-of-14 shots (35.7%), missing 4 straight to allow L.A. the 1-pt lead.
- Fisher picked up his 2nd personal, much to his surprise, on a driving Pierce. Vujacic’s in for L.A., up 1 with 4:27 in 1st.
- Pierce started 0-for-5 in the 1st in Game 3, but he’s 4-for-6 here to score 10 of Boston’s 14 points in a 14-all tie.
- Loudest ovation of the night here in Boston comes as ‘Sheed knocks Gasol onto the groud. 2 Pau FT’s then tied score at 16.
- A low scoring 1st Q ended on a Nate Robinson 3 that put Boston up 19-16. L.A. missed 6 straight FG’s to end the period.

Quick quarter summary: It was a very poor shooting first quarter for both teams, L.A. making only 7-of-20 shots and Boston 8-of-22. Pierce’s 10 led Boston, while Gasol went 3-of-6 with two freebies to lead the Lakers with eight. Bryant took four shots, making two, and added two assists before being subbed out with 1:06 to play for his first rest of the game.

60705721Second Quarter
- L.A.’s bench made its first 7 shots last game, and 9-of-11 on the night. They were 0-for-3 in the 1st, but got an and-1 layup from Shannon Brown to open the second, tying the game at 19.
- L.A. got its first bench points on a S. Brown and-1 layup, but Robinson answered with his 2nd 3 off Boston’s pine. C’s by 3.
- Rough start for Odom (3 reb but 0-for-2 FG’s, 2 fouls & 1 turnover), but Farmar/Brown had 8 total points to keep things even.
- Lakers have shot the 3 very poorly all series, are just 1-for-7 after a Brown miss, while Boston’s 2-for-6.
- Rasheed just made a fun face after picking up foul No. 3 on Gasol. Almost like Spencer when Heidi’s sister opens her mouth.
- I own Ding in 2K10. RT @KevinDing: It’s the Finals … & the sloppiness makes it look like 2 guys playing 1st game of NBA 2K10.
- Kobe just nailed back-to-back 3′s after going 1-for-7 from downtown in Game 3. He’s up to 10 pts, Pierce has 12, L.A. by 2.
- First audible sign of nervousness in the TD Garden came after Odom’s and-1 made it 39-33 (missed FT). Kobe had scored 8 straight.
- Gasol = a solid half, getting to 13 pts w/3 reb. by hitting 2 FT’s. L.A. up 5, 17.4 sec. until half. Crowd trying to stay in it.
- Gasol blocked Allen’s 3, but Garnett gathered and hit a fallaway from 17 feet to bring Boston within 3 (45-42) at the half.
- L.A. made 10-of-15 FG’s in the 2nd Q after just 7-of-20 in the 1st to jump in front of Boston. Kobe had 8, Gasol 5 of his 13.

60705785Third Quarter
- If you didn’t notice, Lamar Odom’s starting the 3rd Q for Andrew Bynum. No official news, but ‘Drew’s not on bench.
- Spero Dedes on 710 ESPN Lakers radio just said that Bynum was getting treatment & IS expected to return.
- And there he is … Bynum just came out of the tunnel to join teammates on the bench. Very good news for L.A.
Meanwhile, L.A.’s lead was cut to one on Rondo’s pull-up jumper, the fans hoping desperately for the lead Boston could never grab in Game 3′s second half.
- Fisher has nailed 2 off-balance J’s while trying to draw a foul after not scoring in the 1st half. Then Gasol’s J puts lead at 5.
- Both teams have gone cold on offense, 5 straight trips without a point, L.A. still up 5 with 6:47 to go.
- Loudest its been all night here as LA lead’s cut to 1 again, thanks to KG’s D, then layup. Crowd begging for a lead here…
- Finally, a 2nd half lead for Boston at 5 min to go in 3rd … but Kobe’s 3 swished home. Big momentum shot from Kobe.
- We def. saw that, but Perk just hit w/a PF. RT @RicBucher: Doc challenged Perk to get physical w/Pau and take him out of his game.
- Andrew Bynum’s checking back in here after coming out late from the halftime tunnel.
- Allen just had a look at a wide-open transition 3 … but missed. He’s only 2-of-8, 0-for-3 in 3′s, after his 0-for-13 Game 3.
- Back to the bench for Bynum after a very short stink … teammates appreciating him fighting through pain.
- Kobe was just 4-for-16 from 3 in Games 1-3 … but he just nailed another set of back-to-backs. He’s 5-of-6 tonight.
- Whistle was buried in the 3rd, both teams battling fiercely, as BOS cut 1 pt off L.A.’s 3-pt HT lead. 62-60 L.A., 12 min to go.
- RT @KevinDing: Kobe ends Q3 literally praying to ref G. Willard for a call. Kobe has no FTA’s but 21pts anyway. Lakers lead, 62-60.

60705666Fourth Quarter
- Odom just can’t get it going on O tonight, missing a jumper to get to 2-of-7 for 4 pts. Does have 7 rebounds, however.
- Gasol and Kobe are carrying the Lakers in a big way, with 40 of the team’s 64 points. In look of help from somewhere.
- Boston just reached its biggest lead of the game with an 8-0 run as L.A.’s offense has stalled. Celtics verrrry physical on D.
- Big Baby is 7-of-9 off Boston’s bench for 15 points to lead the C’s, including 3-for-3 in the 4th. L.A. 12 total pts off bench.
- Sheed hammered Kobe in paint, called for foul, hated call, got a T. Kobe missed the T, made next 2. 6-pt game.
- Things chipper than the Lay’s BBQ in the media room … Lil’ Nate latest to get a T for taunting Odom. 79-72 C’s, 5:39 left.
- Fisher missed the T after Robinson’s antics; Kobe had missed the T after Rasheed’s protesting. C’s lead to 9 after Rob makes.
- Rajon Rondo has been on the bench all quarter; Robinson continues to play, having scored 6 pts in the period.
- Lakers officially in trouble. 11-point C’s lead with 3:57 remaining. Haven’t been able to match Boston’s energy in 4th.
- Game 2 star Rondo, Game 3 star Garnett have been on bench all 4th Q, Rivers riding Davis/Robinson.
- L.A. still in it as Kobe has 3 FT’s after TO, can cut lead to 5 w/2:51 left. Allen missed 2 more FG’s last C’s poss., is 4-of-10.
- Correction, Kobe had just 2 FT’s there. 8-point game, as KG boards Allen’s missed 3 & Pierce hits elbow J.
- Kobe’s fallaway J made it 87-81 C’s with 1:41 left, & L.A. had a steal before Gasol threw it right back to C’s. That hurts.
- Big call there. Kobe wanted a charge, but it was a block as Pierce made an and-1 layup. 9-pt lead, 1:17 to go.
- Bryant drew Allen’s PF while taking a 3, making all 3 FT’s to again cut lead to 6. He has 30. Pierce then misses J.
- That could do it … Kobe’s pass out to Odom was stolen by Rondo, who laid in. Fish answered, lead at 6 w/22.2 left.
- LA has really missed Bynum’s defensive presence in the paint in 2nd half (just 2 min). L.A. glad he has 2 days b4 Game 5.
- Not surprising that backs-to-wall Boston won hustle stats. 20-7 second-chance pts, 54-34 points in paint (no Bynum), 41-32 reb.
- Boston, with a 96-89 win, has ensured that if the Lakers win their 16th title, it will be at STAPLES Center.
- Kobe scored 33 in the loss, and Gasol 21, while the rest of the Lakers had just 35. No Laker had more than 7 rebounds.
Check back soon for a postgame wrap up of Game 4 in what’s now a 2-2 series.