Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lakers Put Spurs Against Wall With Game 4 Win

It was a game which probably gave many Los Angeles Lakers fans a heart attack. The Lakers jumped to a quick 22-8 lead in Game 4 of their best-of-seven playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs tonight at the Alamodome, and then watched almost helplessly as some very poor officiating helped bring the Spurs back into the game and (almost) the series. It was tied 45-45 with 2:10 to go in the second quarter before an 8-2 Laker run gave the visitors a 53-47 halftime lead.

The game remained close in the second half as the Spurs drew within a point at 71-70 with 1:32 to play in the third quarter. Kobe Bryant then made a dunk and Sasha Vujacic hit a 3-pointer from the left wing and was fouled with 49 seconds to play. Vujacic converted on the rare 4-point play and the Lakers led 77-70 entering the fourth quarter.

Both teams stepped up the defense early in the fourth quarter, and the Spurs managed to outscore (if you want to call it that) the Lakers 9-4 through the first 7:20 to trim the margin to 81-79. The Lakers then seemingly almost put the game away as Lamar Odom dunked and converted a 3-point play on successive possessions and Kobe added a slam of his own to make the margin 88-79 with only 3:26 to play. The Lakers held a 93-86 lead with 56 seconds to play. Pau Gasol was fouled as the Spurs missed on their next attempt, but he inexplicably missed both free throws. A Manu Ginobili 3-pointer trimmed the margin to just four points with 42 seconds to play. A Tony Parker layup with 28 seconds left cut the Lakers lead to 93-91. The Lakers used up all of the clock in their next possession with Kobe missing a long fall away jumper as time expired. Tim Duncan grabbed the rebound with 2.1 seconds to play and the Spurs called time-out. The Spurs had one last shot to win, but Brent Barry's desperation 3-pointer was well off the mark and the Lakers escaped with a 93-91 win to take a commanding three games to one lead in the series. Ironically, the Lakers finally caught a break from the officials as it appeared that Derek Fisher may have fouled Barry on the play.

After personally shouldering the blame for the Game three loss, Lamar Odom more than made up for it, scoring 16 points (hitting 8-for-9 free throws) and grabbing nine boards. Kobe had another nice performance, scoring 28 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Gasol, despite his missed free throws at the end, had another strong game scoring 10 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and leading the Lakers with six assists and two more blocks. The usually reliable Lakers bench was largely absent tonight though scoring 19 points total, making only 28% (7 for 25) of their field goal attempts. Fortunately, the five Lakers starters combined to make 31 of their 60 shot attempts - a robust 52%.

Game five of the series will be at Staples Center on Thursday night starting at 9 ET/6 PT on TNT. Go Lakers!


1 comment:

John said...

Oh No!!! My worst fear when this series started has now become a reality.

I had my fair share of concern on whether Spurs old bodies were willing to give in for another tough series.

Manu was extremely aweful and I feel very sorry for him that he can't do much to avoid this defeat.

It's not over yet and almost looks like it, unless as true Champions they can bounce back from this.

I will question the team morale at the moment. After all they did had Game 1 in their hands and they lost it!!!

We'll just have to see how.

Anyway, your thought on the game....