Morning shootaround: Baby & the bench
BOSTON -- A glimpse at some of our featured content after the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals Thursday at the TD Garden:
Forsberg: Davis' energy charges up Celtics
Celtics forward Glen Davis stood barking at midcourt, spewing drool in every direction like some sort of rabid dog -- or maybe the teething version of his popular monicker -- and whipping the crowd into a frenzy after initiating an and-one sequence with a putback that gave the Celtics a six-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
Guard Nate Robinson came running from behind Davis and vaulted onto his back as Big Baby flexed toward the crowd.
"You were on my back?" Davis asked Robinson as they sat next to each other at their joint postgame press conference.
"You didn't even notice," replied Robinson. "We're like Shrek and Donkey. You can't separate us."
Davis smiled broadly and added, "You shouldn't have let us two get up here."
It was an improbable postgame scene after an improbable in-game scene. In the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the NBA Finals -- what Boston players later acknowledged was an absolute must-win -- there were Davis and Robinson, flanked by fellow reserves Rasheed Wallace and Tony Allen, with Ray Allen the only starter on the floor.
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* May: Pierce comes through as starter and closer: Welcome back, Paul. The Celtics are glad you're back. Oh, and by the way, you are going back to Los Angeles. That's a good thing, right? Paul Pierce, the Celtics captain, ruffled a few L.A. boas with his boast after Game 2 that the Celtics would not be coming back to the Staples Center, the clear inference being that Boston would sweep Games 3-5 at home and win the NBA championship in five games. Oh well. Entering the fourth quarter in Game 4, it did look like the Celtics actually might not get back to Los Angeles, as they trailed 62-60 after having dropped Game 3.
* McMenamin: Tony Allen has Kobe's number: Looks like the Celtics have themselves a Kobe Stopper. Celtics guard Tony Allen racked up three DNP-CDs in three games to start the 2008 Finals and played just 19:02 total over the final three games of the series. Thursday night in the Celtics' crucial 96-89 win over the Lakers to tie up the 2010 Finals 2-2, Allen played 18:27 and may have changed who will win the championship. When the Celtics switched to Tony Allen sticking Kobe Bryant for the second half of Game 4 instead of Ray Allen who checked him in the first, it was a different ballgame.
* Daily Dime: Three of his starters were all kneeling there at the scorer's table with just over four minutes left, their cheering duties apparently finished for the night as Doc Rivers prepared to put Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett back into the game. And then ... Like a master waving to a well-trained pet, or like Joey Crawford waving in a sub, Rivers yelled to the three and motioned with his arm cocked at the elbow: Get back here!
* Hollinger: Celtics get ugly in Game 4 win: Kevin Garnett clapped his hands and barked and screamed at Lamar Odom ... while defending him off the dribble. Nate Robinson hollered in Odom's face after a hard foul. Glen Davis showboated after baskets, making faces previously seen only on Maori warriors dancing the Haka and spewing enough drool to warp the court. It wasn't always pretty, but it was as raw a display of emotion as you'll see on a basketball court, by a club that was in desperation mode heading into Game 4. Boston rode that emotional wave in front of a raucous home crowd to beat the Lakers 96-89, evening the NBA Finals at two games apiece.
* Markazi: Lakers let C's reserves win it: The most misleading statistic often cited during these playoffs has been comparing the bench play of the Los Angeles Lakers to that of their opponents, whether it be the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals or the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. It's convenient to simply tally up the number of points the Lakers' reserves have and the number their opponent's reserves have and (often times) marvel at the disparity. The problem with that math is it fails to tell the whole story of the game.
Play Podcast Grantland's Bill Simmons discusses the state of the Lakers, Phil Jackson's future, the perception of Rajon Rondo, Doc Rivers' impact on the Clippers and more.
Play Podcast Red Sox manager John Farrell talks about whether he expected his team to make such a turnaround in one season, his relationship with his players, fans' expectations for the squad and more.