The Lakers entered Game 4 of the NBA Finals with supreme confidence after they capped off their first Finals win in Boston since 1987. Thursday night’s game was perhaps the most important game of the Lakers’ season, as they had an opportunity to take a 3-1 series lead. The Los Angeles Lakers were focused on the task on hand and knew that a victory would put them one step closer to revenge.
The Lakers opened up Game 4 playing sloppy basketball and were trying to beat the Celtics by playing them one-on-one. However, thanks to the Celtics’ incapability to capitalize on the offensive end and Kobe’s shot-making ability, the Lakers had a 12-11 lead with 5:30 left in the quarter. Pau was just as effective as Kobe on the offensive end, as he had an early 6 points on 3-for-4 shooting. Although the two Laker stars opened the game on a high note, the same could not have been said for the rest of the Lakers or even the rest of the Celtics. The first quarter had a very slow-tempo and neither team had great success on the offensive end. Both teams were missing open shots and were committing “silly” mistakes; the score after one was 19-16, Boston with the advantage. Gasol was the Lakers’ leading scorer with 6 points and Bryant had 4 points on 2-4 shooting. The Lakers held the Celtics to only 36% shooting from the field, however they went 35% themselves.
The second quarter opened up with both coaches subbing in their bench players, and because of that the game turned into a track meet. The high-tempo style benefitted both teams and they fell out of their shooting slumps. The Lakers’ backcourt, consisting of Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar, provided the Lakers with immediate offense. However, their problems occurred on the defensive end as they could not control Nate Robinson. Nate and the other Boston reserves entered the game and gave their team a spark. With 8:10 left in the game, the Celtics were clinging to a 29-28 lead. Reminiscent to Game 2, Glen Davis came off the bench and provided the Celtics with great hustle plays. Four minutes into the second quarter Davis poured in 5 points, while Brown had 5 and Farmar had 3. Thinking his team got their groove back, Phil reinserted his veterans and it paid off. Kobe hit three consecutive shots, Lamar converted on an and-one, and the Lakers took a 39-33 lead with 3:12 left in the half. The momentum seemed to shift once the stars were subbed in, and the Lakers ended the half on a 17-12 run to take a 45-42 lead. At the break the Lakers shot 48% from the field and their leading scorer was Pau Gasol, who had 13 points and 3 rebounds.
Next: Second Half Analysis