at Los Angeles Lakers (2-1, 14-5) at Boston Celtics (1-2, 13-7)
Postseason Game #21 – Home Game #11
Thursday, June 10
9:00 PM ET
Referees: Scott Foster, Eddie F Rush, Greg Willard The Celtics come into game 4 looking to once again pull even in the series. They have been here before. In the Conference finals, the Celtics took game 2 in Cleveland, only to be blown out in game 3 on their home court. Many were quick to write their obituary after that loss, but they came back to win the next 3 and close out the series.
The Celtics are capable of beating the Lakers 3 in a row also. But, they must play Celtics defense and they need both Pierce and Ray Allen to pick up their games. The Celtics can't win with just one of the 3 having a good game. Rondo must also go into hyperdrive to lead the team.
As in game 3 of the Cavs series, game 3 in this series was very poorly officiated. Games 4, 5 and 6 in the Cavs' series were called evenly but given the officiating so far in the Finals, I'm not so sure we can expect the same in this series. The Celtics will need to fight through bad calls and not allow the refs to take them out of their game.
The Celtics have played well in must win games and their backs are to the wall once again as if they go down 1-3, their chances of winning the series go way down. They must win game 4 and when they have faced must win games before they have come through with a win. Let's hope that trend continues.
Point Guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting Guard: Ray Allen
Small Forward - Paul Pierce
Power Forward - Kevin Garnett
Center - Kendrick Perkins
Point Guard - Derek Fisher
Shooting Guard - Kobe Bryant
Small Forward - Ron Artest
Power Forward - Pau Gasol
Center- Andrew Bynum
Rajon Rondo vs Derek Fisher
As Rondo goes, so go the Celtics. Rondo must be aggressive on both ends of the court. He must keep the offense moving along with being aggressive in going to the basket. He must also keep Derek Fisher from going off again in this game.
Kevin Garnett vs Pau Gasol
KG finally got his game going in game 3 and he was able to keep Gasol contained as well. The Celtics will need the aggressive KG going to the basket and leading the defense once again.
Paul Pierce vs Ron Artest
Paul Pierce has been a non factor in the last two games. The Celtics need the Captain to take control and go to the basket early and often and get to the line. Pierce needs to up his game if the Celtics are going to win this series.
Keys to the Game
Rebounding - In game 1, the Celtics were out rebounded 42-31. In game 2, the Celtics won the battle of the boards 44-39. In game 3, the Lakers once again out rebounded the Celtics 43-35. It is no coincidence that the team that won the rebounding battle also won the game. The Celtics must battle for every rebound to limit the Lakers 2nd chance points. The fact that Rondo, the smallest guy on the court (other than Nate Robinson) pulled down 12 rebounds in game 2 shows that most of rebounding is effort and desire and the Celtics must show both effort and desire and they must out work the Lakers on the boards if they want to win this game.
Defense - The Celtics played good defense for most of game 3 but had a few lapses that led to the Lakers victory. The Celtics must play their lock down team defense for all 48 minutes. They can't have any lapses because the Lakers will take advantage of them.
Play Team Ball - The Celtics must play as a team. They have to run the offense and move the ball to find the open man. They can't lapse into hero ball. They have to play team defense also and each player has to fill his role.
Play Smart - The Celtics have to take care of the ball and avoid turnovers as the Lakers will capitalize on them. They have to try to avoid silly fouls and as the same time, attack the basket to try to draw fouls on the Lakers. They also must play as a team and keep their focus.
Bench Play - The Bench must continue to give the team a boost when they come in. Sheed is very important and hopefully he will be able to play effectively with his bad back. Big Baby has to continue to bring energy and effort. Tony hopefully will be over his kick to the neck from Kobe and the stitches in his lip and he must continue to bring the tough defense that he has been playing.
Hit their shots - The Celtics must hit their shots when they get open. Shots that they normally make were rimming out in game 3. Ray and Paul must get their offense on track especially.
X-Factors Officiating and Fatigue
The Celtics are once again playing on just one day's rest. They are battling a few injuries which won't have a lot of time to rest and heal. Hopefully they can regroup and come out strong regardless of the short turnaround between games.
The refs been the story in the first 3 games of this series. The officiating has been terrible so far. The refs have been inconsistent, calling ticky tack fouls on one end while letting them play on the other end. In every game several players have gotten into early foul trouble and the games have been very choppy with foul after foul after foul. We have to hope that they let them play and call the game fairly. If not, the Celtics must just play their game like they did in game 2 and not let the bad calls and no calls and foul trouble get into their heads.