A strong effort from the bench propelled the Celtics to a 96-89 victory in Game 4 of the Finals. Glen Davis scored 18 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter, during a critical 12-2 run that put the C’s in the driver seat of a must-win game. Rajon Rondo resumed his role as a facilitator as Boston outscored Los Angeles 15-2 in fast break points.
Celtics captain, Paul Pierce quietly steered the Celtics towards victory, scoring a subtle 19 points while tallying six assists and five boards. Nate Robinson scored 12 points in 17 minutes and provided an emotional lift for a Celtics team that struggled through 3 quarters. Ray Allen rebounded from his disappointing performance in Game 3, scoring 12 points and adding five assists.
The Lakers were led by the dynamic duo of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Kobe poured in 33 points while Pau contributed 21 points and 6 boards. The rest of the team struggled–Lamar Odom was the only other Laker to reach double figures, scoring just 10 points in 39 minutes of action.
Less than a minute into the fourth quarter Pau Gasol made a shot to give the Lakers the lead. Almost immediately, however, the Celtics bench went on on a 12-2 run to taking control of the game. Glen Davis, Rasheed Wallace, Nate Robinson and Tony Allen sparked a Celtic surge that the Lakers would not recover from. The unit meshed beautifully, unfazed even after Rasheed Wallace and Nate Robinson both received technical fouls in a matter of minutes.
The game wasn’t pretty, but the Celtics won crucial categories that Doc Rivers has stressed all series. The Celtics pulled down 16 offensive rebounds that parlayed into 20 second chance points, while outscoring the Lakers 52-32 in the paint. Game 5 is on Sunday at the TD Garden. By winning the Celtics have tied the series at two games a piece, and guaranteed themselves a trip back to Los Angeles. They have also avoided the dreaded mission impossible, 3-1 series deficit–though I doubt anyone in this camp even considered that a possibility.