Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers (0-3) @ Boston Celtics (3-0) - Game 4

At halftime, the Los Angeles Lakers (and Kobe Bryant) had everything to smile about. But as the final buzzer sounded, the purple and gold titans would be looking forward to next year, when they hope for more satisfying results. Surely, Kobe Bryant cannot be content with being swept out of the NBA Finals.

However, tonight's conclusive victory for the Boston Celtics could not have come with lesser difficulty. After permitting physical play in the 1st three games, the referees cracked down on the Celtics, not allowing them to contest any shots without hearing a whistle. To their credit, the Lakers knocked down countless free throws as the 1st quarter dragged on forever and Boston had nothing but foul trouble to show for it.

To make matters worse, Steve Nash was more patient with the ball and had his best game of the Finals, after shooting too much in the first 3 games; and the reserve lineup for Boston barely compensated for the stars in foul trouble.

With nothing else to go on, Celtics coach Doc Rivers went "all in" and put the stars back on the floor. They could no longer be inhibited if Boston was going to stand a chance. Luckily, the desperate move worked. Not only the supportive home crowd, but also a blessing graced Boston as the Lakers' scoring efficiency dropped.

For the longest time, Metta World Peace and Antawn Jamison had helped maintain LA's lead, but Kevin Garnett went on a roll (despite 4 fouls), playing a crucial role in Boston's amazing turnaround with 26 points and 13 rebounds.

Once the Celtics got their legs back, they outran LA in the fast break. On the glass, Boston eventually out-hustled the Lakers in the rebounding department and took their first lead of the game, caused by finally gaining on-court flow. Boston never looked back, and neither did Paul Pierce, as he burned the Lakers with three-pointers in the final two minutes, stifling any hope LA might've had to make a comeback of their own.

The Celtics surged to a shocking victory of 85-104, the biggest losing margin for LA thus far in the Finals, and the one that ended their championship hopes.
Kevin Garnett was crowned the Finals MVP and deservedly so, averaging 17.8 points per game on 60% field goal shooting, 82% on clutch free throws, 9 rebounds a game, and for stomaching the foul trouble tonight and transforming it into a dominant victory.

Overall, as the NBA season comes to a dramatic finish, we look back at how the Boston Celtics only lost a single game in the Playoffs (courtesy of the Miami Heat). They eeked by their adversaries and narrowly won several games. But this isn't a sign of weakness; it's a sign of Boston's outstanding passion to win, to reach the coveted mountaintop of the NBA and they owe to themselves and to their tremendous resilience.

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