Ticker reports: Paul Pierce scored 20 points as the Celtics used one of the most remarkable turnarounds in league history to come away with a 97-91 victory over the Lakers in Game Four of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. Kevin Garnett added 16 points and 11 rebounds for Boston, which climbed out of a 24-point, first-quarter hole to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. No team in Finals history has recovered from such a deficit, making the Celtics an odds-on favorite to hoist its NBA-best 17th championship trophy.
InsideHoops.com reports: James Posey was a huge star for the Celtics, nailing big buckets, including 4-of-8 threes, for 18 off the bench and providing tons of great hustle plays, as he’s known to do. Also, aside from Kobe not stepping up on offense, the Lakers bench was terrible: Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar combined to shoot 2-of-15.
The AP reports: The Celtics rallied from a 24-point deficit and beat the Los Angeles Lakers 97-91 on Thursday night to take a commanding 3-1 lead in this history-rich series and move within one victory of a 17th championship that seemed impossible a year ago… No team had ever overcome more than a 15-point deficit after the first quarter, and Elias Sports Bureau said it was the largest comeback in the finals since 1971. One thing’s for sure, it will forever be remembered in the annals of Celtics-Lakers lore… Kobe Bryant scored 19 points on 6-of-19 shooting but the league’s MVP couldn’t rescue the Lakers when they needed him most. Lamar Odom had 19 points— 15 in the first half—and Pau Gasol, whose addition in a midseason trade was supposed to give the Lakers their final piece to complement Bryant, had 17 points and 10 rebounds… Trailing by 18 points at halftime and seemingly done when they fell behind by 20 with 6:04 left in the third quarter, the Celtics outscored the Lakers 31-15 in the third quarter to pull within 73-71 going into the fourth.
Ticker reports: Boston took its first lead of the game at 84-83 on reserve Eddie House’s jumper with 4:05 remaining. Less than two minutes later, Garnett’s short jumper completed an 8-0 run and gave the Celtics a five-point advantage with 2:11 to go. After Pierce went 1-of-2 from the line, Bryant hit two free throws and a jumper to cut the Lakers’ deficit to two with 1:30 left, setting up the wild final sequence. Los Angeles came out flying after a sluggish Game Three for both teams, running out to a 26-7 lead with 3:15 left in the first quarter on a 20-foot jumper by the slumping Odom, who had an extraordinary opening period.
InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Celtics shot 45.2%, the Lakers 41.6%. The Celtics hit 8-of-22 three-pointers (James Posey hit 4), the Lakers just 6-of-21. Both teams shot just under 30 free throws, but Boston was a bit better. Rebounding was close. The Lakers had 23 assists, the Celtics 15. Turnovers and steals were close.
For the Celtics: Pierce (6-of-13) had 20 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists (4 turnovers). Ray Allen (6-of-11) had 19 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals. James Posey (5-of-10, 4-of-8 threes) had 18 points and very few other stats but did far more than just score. Kevin Garnett (7-of-14) had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 2 steals. Eddie House on 9 shots scored 11. Rajon Rondo played little and did little.
For the Lakers: Lamar Odom (8-of-11) had 19 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Kobe Bryant (just 6-of-19) had 17 points, 10 assists and 4 steals. Pau Gasol (6-of-13) had 17 points, 10 rebounds but more turnovers than assists. Derek Fisher (4-of-5) had 13 points but equal turnovers/assists. Vladimir Radmanovic (3-of-8) had 10 points and 5 rebounds. Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar combined to shoot 2-of-15 off the bench.