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Article:Thoughts on Game Four of the 2008 NBA Finals

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Missing Persons Report:

Name: Lamar Odom

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 230 pounds

Race/Ethnicity: African-American

Identifying Marks: Wears No. 7 jersey on his Los Angeles Lakers uniform

Missing since: Half time of game four of 2008 NBA Finals

Circumstances: Lamar was seen at Staples Center playing in first half of game four of

2008 NBA Finals where he scored 15 points, hitting all seven of his field goal attempts. He went into the club house with his teammates and has been missing since.

When the Lakers have faced the Boston Celtics for Game Four of the NBA Finals things have not gone well.

1969: At Boston Garden, with 0:03 remaining Sam Jones shoots a jumper which barely gets over the outstreched arm of Wilt Chamberlain. The shot hits the rim, rises over the basket, and falls back in for an 88-87 Boston victory, to tie the series at two games a piece, and the Celtics win the series in seven games.

1984: At the Forum, Kevin McHale clotheslines Kurt Rambis on a fast break and the series takes a dramatic shift. Magic Johnson and James Worthy miss crucial free throws in the game‘s final minutes and in overtime and the Celtics tie the series and proceed to take the game in seven games.

1985: At the Forum. Dennis Johnson buries a 21-foot jump shot at the buzzer to win the give Beantown the victory, although the Lake Show did manage to win the series in six games.

1987: This was the exception when Magic Johnson buries his junior-sky hook with two seconds left in the game, to cap a Lakers second half rally where they trailed by 17 points in the second half.

Of course last night, was perhaps the worst of all of those game four disasters after the Lakers go up 24 in the second quarter. And now Laker fans will have to hit the remote whenever ESPN Classic and the NBA channel re-air this nightmare.

But of course credit Doc Rivers for doing a superior job in making all the right adjustments last night--going to James Posey and Eddie House and keeping his squad in the game with the right mental attitude to start the second half.

The Celtics also had perfect floor spacing with their small lineup and getting good looks at the hoop for everyone. Which again is where the Lakers miss Andrew Bynum. Paul Gasol in the middle is not going to deter anyone on the Shamrocks from getting into the paint.

Of course, we all knew Pau Gasol wasn’t exactly Bill Russell and the Spaniard been great for the Lakers since they acquired him in February, they simply can’t bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy with him playing in the pivot. The Memphis Grizzlies drew all kinds of heat for giving Gasol away to the Lakers and they could have and should have gotten more for him but you can see why they decided to move him. In addition to wanting to unload his salary, they had decided they had gone about as far as they could with him the man who is redefining the definition for the soft big man. So in hindsight it was just unrealistic to assume the Lakers could hang on another banner with Andrew Bynum watching the game from the bench in street clothes. So perhaps the biggest play of the 2008 Finals happened on January 13 when Andrew Bynum dislocated his knee cap when trying to pull down a rebound which ironically occurred against the Grizzlies.

As opposed to Doc Rivers, Phil Jackson seems to be dozing on the bench this series. He needs to coach with a little more urgency. Last night he also should have replaced Lamar Odom who went AWOL in the second half with Vladamir Radmanovic and gone back to Derek Fisher back in place of Jordan Farmar much sooner then with 2:10 left remaining in the contest.

And again where is the side pick and roll that was so effective for his squad in Game Two? Why did Phil not use it when the offense fizzled out in the second half? Did I miss an announcement where David Stern make it illegal for the Lakers to run that offensive set?

Not to blame the loss on him, because there were several bad plays in the fourth quarter made by Kobe’s supporting cast but I thought Rony Turiaf missing those two free throws on the Lakers first possession of the fourth quarter really set the wrong tone for the rest of the game.

So let me be the first to congratulate the Boston Celtics on winning the seventeenth championship in the franchise’s history. Please make it back to the Finals next year when the Lakers have Andrew Bynum and the club’s youngsters have one extra year of Finals experience under their belts and the like the 85 Laker squad let them get their chance at revenge after coming up short in 84.


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