In what looked to be a blow out loss for the Celtics for 3 quarters, the Celtics showed a lot of heart and came back from 24 down to win the game 97-91. The Lakers got off to a fast start and at the end of one quarter, they trailed 35-14, which was the largest first quarter lead lead in Finals history. The Celtics shot only 27% in the first quarter while allowing the Lakers to shoot 65%.
The Second quarter started much like the first quarter ended as the Celtics allowed the Lakers easy shots and struggled with their own offense. The Celtics went on a 12-0 run and cut the lead to 12 with 2:50 to go but the Lakers came back strong and took a 58-40 lead going into the have on a Farmar 3 pointer at the buzzer. At the half, the Lakers were shooting 50% to just 35% for the Celtics. They were out rebounding the Celtics 26-16 and had 15 assists to just 4 for the Celtics.
Pierce showed that he was going to be more aggressive as he drove to the hoop and was fouled on the first play. He also took over defending Kobe and made him work for every shot he got. The Celtics cut the lead to 12 once againg with 9:53 left in the third. On the next play, the Celtics were once again hit by an injury as Odom drove to the hoop and caught Perk's arm as he tried to block the shot. Perk immediately grabbed his shoulder and went back to the locker room and didn't return. The Celtics kept chipping away at the lead and ended the third quarter on a 21-3 run to pull to 73-71 at the end of 3.
The Celtics tied the game at 73 on a bank shot by Powe with 10:07 left in the fourth. They had several chances to take the lead but couldn't get over the hump as the Lakers would go up and then the Celtics would tie it 8 times before the Celtics finally took their first lead at 84-83 on an Eddie House jumper with 3:53 left. The Celtics never looked back as went on to win the game 97-91. The difference once again was the Celtics defense. They stepped it up in the third quarter and got the stops.
Pierce bounced back from his poor game 3 and took over in the second half. He shot 6-13 for 20 points along with 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 steal. His defense on Kobe was huge in the second half as it allowed the Celtics to play him with single coverage and keep a man on the Lakers' 3 point shooters. KG also bounced back and true to his word, played inside more, finishing with 16 points (7-14), 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in 37 minutes.
Ray Allen was once again incredible. He played all 48 minutes of the game and finished with 19 points (6-11), 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. After playing the whole game, he was still able to get to the rim for a layup with 15.7 seconds left. Rondo started the game and played 17 minutes but struggled somewhat. Doc went with Sam at first and after 6 minutes with no points, 2 fouls and 1 turnover, Doc turned to Eddie House who once again came through with 11 points on 4-9 shooting to go with 4 rebounds, and 1 assist in 24 minutes.
Perk played just 13 minutes before going out with the shoulder injury. After the game, Perk said that it was the same shoulder that he had surgery on a couple of years ago. He said it was just a strain and not a dislocation and that he would be ready to play on Sunday. PJ Brown played 14 minutes and had 3 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal. Doc chose to go small for much of the game and Posey got the bulk of the minutes and hit some huge shots down the stretch finishing with 18 pionts, and 2 rebounds. Leon Powe played 9 solid minutes finishing with 3 points and 5 rebounds. Tony Allen saw his first Finals action as he pulled down 1 rebound in just over 2 minutes.
After shooting just 35% in the first half, the Celtics shot 55% in the second while holding the Lakers to just 34% in the second half. The Lakers out rebounded the Celtics by 1 for the game, but in the second half, the Celtics won the rebounding battle 24-15. The Lakers had 5 players in double figures with Lamar Odom leading the way with 19 points on 8-11 shooting. Kobe had 17 points and 10 rebounds but shot just 6-19 from the floor. Sasha Vujacic, who burned the Celtics in game 3, finished with just 3 points on 1-9 shooting.
The Celtics showed tremendous heart in coming back from the 24 point deficit and closing out the game with a win. The Lakers can't complain about the officiating in this game. They got off to an early 15-2 free throw advantage in the first quarter when they were being very aggressive going to the basket. But, as the Celtics picked up their defense and kept the Lakers out of the paint and at the same time, they were more aggressive on the offensive end, the free throws evened out. In the end, the Lakers shot 29 free throws and the Celtics shot 28.
The Celtics now have 3 tries to win one game. No team has ever come back from being down 3-1 in the finals to win it. The Celtics are in control of the series and it is theirs now to win or lose. They showed tonight that they have the heart and toughness to win it all. Just 48 more minutes of Celtics defense and #17 will be a reality.