1. Foes Combine To Miss Last 21 3-Point Shots
ESPN Stats & Information
Ray Allen was 0-for-4 from 3-point range in Game 4 and has now missed 14 consecutive attempts from behind the arc. Allen's last made 3-pointer came with 4:39 left in the third quarter in Game 2, a span of 112:39 of game action.
Also of note:
• In the 2-3-2 format, when teams with home-court advantage at the start of the series have a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals, they go on to win the series 100 percent of the time (9-0). So, if the Lakers win Game 5, chances are pretty good that they will win the series.
• In NBA history, when the NBA Finals is tied at 2, the Game 5 winner goes on to win the series 76 percent of the time.
• In the 2-3-2 format, the winner of Game 5 wins the NBA Finals 75 percent of the time (6-2). The only two teams to win Game 5, take a 3-2 lead and then lose the series were the 1988 Pistons (against the Lakers) and 1994 Knicks (against the Rockets).
• Kobe Bryant and Fisher are playing in their seventh NBA Finals. Among players whose careers began in 1970-71 or later, only two players have played in more Finals: Magic Johnson (9) and Michael Cooper (8).
• If they win the NBA Finals, the Lakers will have to do it in Los Angeles. Each of the last five series-clinching victories for the Lakers has come on the road. The last time the Lakers had a series-clinching victory at home was in the 2009 West semifinals against the Rockets.
• One easy gauge of the Lakers is Gasol. In the 2010 postseason, the Lakers are 10-1 when Gasol has 10 or more rebounds in a game, including 2-0 in the Finals. When Gasol has nine or less rebounds in a game, the Lakers are 4-5, including 0-2 in the Finals.
• The Celtics entered Game 4 shooting 27-of-71 (38 percent) on shots near the basket. In Game 4, the Celtics didn't overwhelm, but they did a much better job of finishing, going 10-of-21 (47.6 percent) on shots near the basket.
Peter Newmann is a regular contributor to the Daily Dime.
2. Is This Ray Allen's Last Game In Boston?
BOSTON -- Celtics guard Ray Allen has watched plenty of game film the past few days trying to identify exactly why he's struggling from the perimeter just days after setting an NBA Finals record for 3-pointers in a game with eight.
But in boiling down his recent shooting woes, Allen insists he wouldn't let the moment overtake him.
"I've been in this situation before, plenty of times," said Allen. "It's the Finals, the biggest stage I'll play on in my life, but the game is still the same. I try to look at it that way, minimize it."
Good thing Allen has blinders on, because there's a whole new batch of hoopla rushing his way in time for Sunday's Game 5, which could be his final home game in a Boston uniform.
With Allen set to be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason and no public indication from the Celtics' front office about a desire to bring him back, Sunday's tilt could well be the end of the latest Big Three era in Boston.
Allen hasn't commented on his future since late January, when, at the center of numerous trade rumors, he expressed a desire to stay in Boston not only the remainder of the 2009-10 season but beyond.
"I'd like to be here," Allen said at the time. "There's no reason to be any other place. I'd love to retire with this organization. [But] that's up to the team. I want to be here. This team has proven over the decades to be a winner, one of the best in sports, and that's what this organization plans to do. I'm committed to it."
To read the entire column, click here
3. Jackson: No Baiting The Tech-Oriented
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Friday his team would do nothing out of the ordinary to goad Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace into their seventh technical fouls of the postseason, which would earn each player a one-game suspension for their next infraction.
"That's not fair play. That's not the way to play games," said Jackson. "You can be provocative and get out there and act kind of like they do, if you want to, and get in people's faces and do that. But that's not the way I like to coach a team. That's not what I consider positive coaching, and that's what I like to think is the right way to do things."
To read the entire blog item, click here
5. The Bynum Watch
In making my Finals prediction in 2008 I focused too much on momentum and L.A.'s seemingly overwhelming offensive machine, but three games into the series it became clear the Lakers had a problem on their hands. The matchups didn't set up well.
Three games into this year's Finals, I thought the opposite. This time around, the matchups favored the purple and gold, thanks to the presence of Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum, an improved Pau Gasol, and a Celtics squad not quite as potent as it was in 2008. As it was then, Boston was certainly capable of winning, but it would have to do so from a position of disadvantage. The Celtics had to work so much harder to generate the same output as the Lakers.
But as was the case in 2008, neither team this year is so much better than the other that a shift in circumstances, intense swelling of a certain 7-footer's right knee for example, couldn't turn everything on its head.
Should Bynum's knee limit his presence over the remaining games, the Lakers will certainly feel the pain. It's not necessarily a question of losing his statistical output (though that doesn't help) but just as it was in Game 2, when Lamar Odom may as well have been in street clothes thanks to persistent foul trouble, Bynum's absence has a ripple effect, about as unpleasant for Lakers fans as your average Ashton Kutcher movie exploring similar topics.To read the entire blog post, click here
6. Lengthy Struggle
7. Kobe Stopper?
Tony Allen has done a great job slowing Kobe Bryant, particularly with defense against Bryant off the ball. Allen has limited Bryant's touches, and when Bryant has gotten shots off, Allen has gotten a hand in his face, contesting all 19 shots attempted against him. Bryant is 5-of-19 from the field against Allen in the series.
Kobe Bryant By Primary Defender, NBA Finals
|Category||v. T Allen||vs Others|
|Pct poss. w/ touch||79.5||88.0|
8.Sheridan On NBA Finals
ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan talks NBA Finals with 1050ESPN New York's Bill Daughtry and the great Game 5 swing games of recent NBA Finals. The momentum has swung Boston's way with Andrew Bynum's knee problems, and Sheridan proposes seldom-used Laker D.J. Mbenga stepping in.
Jeff Van Gundy reacts to Game 4 of the NBA Finals, talks about watching Glen Davis go crazy on Thursday night and explains why the Lakers need to get something out of Andrew Bynum in order to win the title.