The latest in an ongoing series covering the NBA Finals with actor/comedian and Clippers fan Rondell Sheridan.
Jose Salviati: Rondell, that was as physical a game I've seen since the 80's.
Rondell Sheridan: Wow what a game tonight. It looked like it was going to be L.A. early on, but Boston rolled up their sleeves, ﬂipped up their blue collars and went to work.
JS: You really called this game, didn't you?
RS: After Game 3 I said if Boston was going to win they needed to do the following:
• Bring that hustle they showed in the beginning of Game 3.
• Big Baby was going to have to show up again, cause everybody else looked slow.
• Boston has to treat Game 4 like it’s a Game 7.
• Boston will have to outrebound the Lakers.
• Get to basket without getting blocked.
• Find alternate scorers.
• Spread the ﬂoor if they are expecting to win.
The only part I missed was saying that for Boston to win, Pierce, Allen and Garnett all
will need to show up to win. This was the second worst output by those three guys.
If it wasn’t for the young legs of Baby Davis and Nate Robinson, Boston should have
been left bleeding on the ﬂoor.
JS: Robinson has been a real catalyst for this team after being buried deep in the bench for much of the regular season.
RS: The ﬁrst half Boston got to the rack but they just couldn’t ﬁnish. Rondo missed five point-blank layups. The second half was no better for Rondo either, but its awful nice to have talent like Nate Robinson coming off the bench to replace you.
In the second half, the Lakers had no response to Nate.
With his ﬂoater dialed in, that little bug could go where ever he wanted. What was great for Boston, was that when Nate came in in the 4th, Boston didn’t have to change anything. It was the Lakers who needed to adjust. And neither Kobe or Fisher could keep up with him.
JS: Rondo came into this series looking like a future Hall of Famer, but hasn't really seen the same success against the Lakers he enjoyed in the earlier rounds.
RS: Though Boston was ﬂat in the second and third quarters, their hustle helped them stay close enough with L.A. to close out the third quarter and make it a two-point game.
Offensively it wasn’t Rondo’s night tonight, he just couldn’t ﬁnish. I give him credit for
not backing off or playing tentative. He still hustled and played defense. Plus he had a
great steal and breakaway basket in the fourth.
JS: What was the key for the Green Team tonight?
RS: The key tonight was offensive rebounding and bench play. Boston won 16-8 with Big Baby leading the way with four offensive boards. Points in the paint was a shellacking, 54-34 in favor of the Celtics. Bynum only playing 12 minutes tonight's fell right into Boston’s game plan. The Lakers truly missed the 7-footer in the paint.
JS: Reports now are that Bynum's knee is badly swollen. The Lakers really do need their big man.
RS: Once again Gasol and Kobe came to play, but with Bynum on the bench for 3/4 of the game, the Lakers just looked ﬂawed. Lamar was the only Laker in double ﬁgures with 10 points. Conversely after Pierce and Big Baby, Boston had four other players in double ﬁgures. In the fourth quarter Boston spread the ﬂoor. This was something hadn’t done at all during this series.
JS: Something else they hadn't done this series is get their bench this involved!
RS: Bench play was totally lopsided. 36-18 in favor of Boston.
JS: OK, let’s look forward; what are the keys for both teams as they battle to return to Los Angeles with a 3-2 lead?
RS: The key to Boston winning Sunday is simple. Boston needs to own the boards and the paint. They need to spread the ﬂoor and bring the energy. Boston’s biggest enemy is the three days rest that the Lakers are going to have. This will give Bynum an extra day of treatment, which is a luxury that the Lakers haven’t had since they left Los Angeles.
The Lakers can’t win with Bynum on the bench. As I said earlier, the Lakers length is their strength. Boston with Perkins, Garnett and Davis will stretch them too thin in the paint if Bynum doesn’t play valuable minutes.
Fisher was non-existent tonight. The Lakers will need a third scorer, if they are going to
win Sunday. However if Bynum is again limited sitting the bench, look for Kobe to go for 40. That’s the only way the Lakers can win without him
Hats off to Boston, they showed what they were made of tonight.
JS: Eh, I'm keeping my hat on. Final thoughts?
RS: Okay I gotta run. I just saw a rainbow. The question is, will I see a pot of gold too?
-- Jose Salviati
Photo: Rondell Sheridan. Credit: Rondell Sheridan.