Hawks to hire Larry Drew as coach

Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) reports:

The Hawks have decided to hire Larry Drew as their next head coach, people with knowledge of the decision said today.

Drew was Atlanta’s lead assistant for six years under Mike Woodson, who was let go following the season. Drew and the team are working out the details of a contract this evening.

Drew, 52, emerged from a group of finalists that also included Avery Johnson, Dwane Casey and Mark Jackson. Once Johnson agreed to coach the Nets early in the week, that left Atlanta’s ownership group and GM Rick Sund to choose from among the other three candidates.

Davis, Robinson provide spark for Celtics in NBA Finals

Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald reports:

Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Nate “Little Baby” Robinson made for quite a tandem last night at the Garden.

The teamwork … the chemistry … the pacing.

The timing.

And that was just during the postgame press conference. During the actual game – that is, Game 4, NBA Finals, in which the Celtics [team stats] claimed a 96-89 victory over the Lakers – well, yeah, sure, Big Baby and Little Baby were pretty good there, too. Taking over the floor in the fourth period, Davis wound up with 18 points in 22 total minutes. Robinson scored 12 points, including a pair of treys. They rocked the joint.

Now it should be understood that Davis and Robinson never much knew each other before the late-season trade that liberated Robinson from the New York Knicks, the Celtics parting with the popular Eddie House, a hero of the ’08 championship run. Davis and Robinson were never college teammates, and never paired up in one of those glitzy, all-star high school tournaments. They never were cabin mates at the Five-Star, All-Around-the-World, You-Can-Be-a-Star Basketball Camp.

Yet when Robinson, ex-Knick, showed up in the room and the people in charge of these things stuck him next to Davis, it was box-office magic.

Glen Davis shines, Celtics beat Lakers in Finals Game 4

The AP reports:

Glen Davis shines, Celtics beat Lakers in Finals Game 4

Glen “Big Baby” Davis led the Celtics bench on a game-changing run Thursday night, scoring half of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as Boston pulled away from the Los Angeles Lakers to win 96-89 and knot the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

“This is what legends are made of, this is where you grasp the moment,” Davis said. “Just play in the moment.” …

“We know what to do. We know how to play. We know how to get it done,” said Lakers forward Pau Gasol, who scored 21 points to go with a game-high 33 for Kobe Bryant. “And we know how important Game 5 will be, so we’ve just got to get ourselves mentally and physically ready … to accomplish our mission.”

Pierce scored 19 points, Kevin Garnett had 13 and Ray Allen bounced back from a seven-quarter shooting slump to score 12 points for Boston. But the new Big Three that led the Celtics to their unprecedented 17th NBA title in 2008— beating the Lakers in the finals—was on the bench for much of the fourth-quarter run that gave Boston the lead for good…

Nate Robinson scored 12 points in 17 minutes as the Celtics’ bench outscored the Lakers’ 36-18. Ten of L.A.’s bench points came from Lamar Odom, who played 39 minutes after starting center Andrew Bynum tested his sore knee but did not play in the second half…

Ray Allen finished 4 for 11 from the field—missing all four 3-pointers, but scored 10 points in the second half.

The Boston Globe blog reports:

“I just felt like a beast,’’ Davis said. “Really, I’m going to be honest with you. I just felt like I couldn’t be denied — rebound. If a rebound was in my vicinity, or like if the ball was going to be held up, you know, I just felt like I just couldn’t be denied.

“There’s not too many times you get a chance to be in the Finals and be a part of something so great that you can never really imagine yourself even being here. I just couldn’t be denied today.’’

Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe reports:

Rasheed Wallace was one of the catalysts in the fourth-quarter charge that helped the Celtics tie the NBA Finals at 2-2 with a 96-89 win over the Lakers last night, but he walked away from the win with his sixth technical foul of the playoffs, leaving him one shy of an automatic one-game suspension.

He picked up the technical with 7:25 to go in the fourth, exaggeratedly shocked at being called for a foul on Kobe Bryant under the basket. There have been times in the Finals when Wallace was so shocked by calls that his face lit up in equal parts surprise and outrage, high-stepping and dancing away from both the play and the officials.

Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe reports:

Bryant nearly found a way to carry the Lakers to victory last night, using long, contested 3-pointers as his weapon, but it wasn’t his preferred weapon. Bryant, of course, would rather dash to the basket for acrobatic layups, or drive, stop, and lean back for fadeaways.

The Celtics have to allow Kobe to score; they have no choice because he remains unstoppable. But they are using stifling defense to force Bryant into an uncomfortable zone. He looks irritated. He looks frustrated, just as he was when Artest missed his pass two consecutive times.

Bryant scored 33 points in the Celtics’ 96-89 Game 4 victory, but 18 came on 3-pointers. Bryant converted no layups; his closest field goal was from 9 feet. He is not creating baskets with his quickness and array of moves. The Celtics are sending two defenders at him and he is attempting shots in those small windows, such as the ones Artest missed in the second half.

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports:

The Lakers found out Thursday how much Andrew Bynum meant to them, fading in the second half against the more physical Celtics, 96-89, and finding themselves pulled into a 2-2 deadlock in the Finals.

The Lakers’ center had only two points and three rebounds in 12 injury-shortened minutes, the 22-year-old unable to muster much because of a swollen right knee.

It didn’t help that the Celtics’ reserves thoroughly outplayed those of the Lakers, that Lamar Odom did next to nothing and Kobe Bryant looked fatigued, according to Coach Phil Jackson.

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Beyond Bryant and Gasol, Odom was the only other player in double figure-scoring for the Lakers, finishing with 10 points but taking only one rebound in 22 minutes in the second half.

The Lakers held a 45-42 edge at halftime but were eventually undone by scoring only 17 points in the third quarter and giving up 36 points in the fourth.

“They got all the energy points, the hustle points, second-chance points, points in the paint, beat us to the loose balls,” Bryant said. “I mean, that’s how the game turned around.”

Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Times reports:

There was nothing subtle about it. The Celtics were more physical and played harder.

The Lakers went back into bug-on-the-Celtics-windshield mode.

With Bynum gone, Kendrick Perkins went back to pounding on Pau Gasol, who went into flamingo-in-a-cement-mixer mode with Lamar Odom in deer-in-headlights mode.

“I just felt like a beast,” said Davis. “I’ll be honest with you, I felt like I couldn’t be denied.”

The Celtics led, 85-77, when Boston Coach Doc Rivers put the regulars back in, by which time Wallace and Robinson had also drawn technical fouls for their unmatchable histrionics.