I looked at my previous post "keys to the championships" bullet points, and wanted to see how much of it was true now that the series is tied 2-2
1) False AND True - Rajon Rondo hasn't been limited by Kobe or Gasol/Bynum's toughness, but how smart they are playing on defense. Instead of hacking the penetrating guard (as Boston does) we force them into charges and blocks. Game 2 was magnificent defense by the Lakers, setting a Finals-record 14 blocks. Unfortunately Ray Allen was NBA JAM ON FIRE times ten.
2) Fisher has played good defense on Ray Allen as much as I can humanly expect. Ray Allen only had one outbreak game, the rest were subpar. And I was correct that Fisher is forcing turnovers with his great acting!
3) Ron Artest has done a great job defending Paul Pierce, enough to make up for his non-existant offense.
4) Garnett's emotional beast finally woke up in Game 4. You can tell when he starts pounding the floor and clapping at people he's defending. Still, I think the Lakers should give him single coverage in most situations.
1) Kobe has been taking smart shots (for Kobe) most of this series. Some of them are egregiously bad selections, but there hasn't been a game yet where the Lakers lost due to Kobe's hogging in the clutch. Game 3 showed Kobe's willingness to facilitate. He was a screener for Fisher! Seriously? Kobe setting screens for someone else to shoot in the NBA Finals? The NBA: where amazing happens.
2) Gasol has been great on offense. He seems to knock down all his mid range jumpshots, and in the low post he has proven to the NBA world that talent is more important than strength. Dwight Howard couldn't score against this Boston team, Gasol is averaging like 20 points. (Well with the exception of 2001 Shaq, who would dunk on Perkins and Davis hanging on his biceps)
3) Fisher has been making open shots. I wish Artest would start nailing open shots too.
4) Our bench has been doing great! I thought Farmar and Brown would be worse, but they're pretty solid so far. A major reason Lakers lost Game 4 is because Phil Jackson decided to play his starters the entire second half. He really should have trusted the bench more. The Lakers entered the fourth quarter down by only two, the bench could have held the fort. But instead the Celtic's bench of Nate "I teabag yo face" Robinson and Glen "Big Baby" Davis owned the Lakers starters due to the difference in energy levels. Fisher was tired chasing Ray Allen all game, he had no legs to go after Robinson. Lamar needed a break too, after playing the entire half, he was getting pushed around by Davis. Phil Jackson should have put in Shannon Brown while Nate was in. Also he should have put in Mbenga. Does anything think Glen Davis can push Mbenga around? Nooo mon'
5) I thought Lamar Odom was the X-factor but I was wrong. However, Odom is still not producing like how I expected him to produce. Anyway, he isn't nearly as important as Andrew Bynum. Even Bynum is playing with a knee injury, his long arms as been enough to stop Rondo's drives to the paint, and the Celtics' big men from posting up. His knee was really bad in Game 4 and he only played in the first quarter. Hence, Game 4 was the first game that Boston outscored the Lakers in the paint.
Other previous predictions: I knew this series would be close enough that Chris would jump off the band-wagon. People jump off the bandwagon so they won't be hurt if the team loses. A true sports fan goes with the ship!
Outlook: I am more confident now than I was when the series was 0-0. It's a tied series and you have to win 2 out of 3. Luckily, those two out of three games are at home. Although you can argue that home court advantage doesn't mean much to these two veteran teams, statistics show that it does matter. Also in most playoff games, the home bench outplays the road bench.