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Lakers sought an edge and got even instead

They could have gone up 3-1 against Boston in the NBA Finals, but a subpar fourth quarter left them tied with the Celtics heading into Game 5. They still have the home-court advantage, but …

June 11, 2010|By Broderick Turner

Reporting from Boston — He paused for a few seconds, slowly gathering his thoughts about the Lakers' plight in the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.

Suddenly, his deep voice let loose with a booming laugh.

"It sure would be a lot nicer to be 3-1 than 2-2," Lakers assistant coach Frank Hamblen said Friday, chuckling.

That opportunity was there for the Lakers after they won Game 3. But they faltered in the fourth quarter of Game 4 on Thursday, and now they are tied at 2-2 with Game 5 scheduled for Sunday night at TD Garden.

"We still have home-court advantage," Hamblen said. "Obviously, Game 5 is going to be a head-knocker. They don't want to come back to L.A. down 3-2. Even though we're going home, we don't want to have to go home and have to win two games on our home court against this team."

The Lakers know there will be a Game 6 and that it will be at Staples Center on Tuesday night. If there is a Game 7, it also will be played in Los Angeles on Thursday night.

For now, the Lakers are concerned about the Celtics for Game 5 and even more concerned about the health of center Andrew Bynum.

Bynum played just 12 minutes in Game 4, just 1:50 in the second half, because of swelling in his right knee. He plans on playing Sunday.

"I give him a lot of credit for trying," Hamblen said. "He just wasn't able to go [Thursday] night. But with two days' rest, hopefully he'll be able to bounce back."

Hamblen, in charge of putting the Lakers' game plan together against the Celtics, said not much has changed as far as what the Lakers must do to be successful Sunday.

Win trench game

In both losses, the Lakers lost the rebound game. Boston out-rebounded the Lakers, 41-34, in Game 4. The Celtics had 16 offensive rebounds, four in the fourth quarter. The Celtics had 54 points in the paint, the Lakers 34. The Celtics had 20 second-chance points, the Lakers 10.

Offensive efficiency

The Lakers had just 13 assists and 16 turnovers Thursday. At times, they dribbled the basketball too much.

Improved bench play

The Lakers bench was outscored, 36-18.

Glen Davis (18 points) and Nate Robinson (12 points) dominated off the bench for Boston.

"They did a heck of a job," Hamblen said. "We have to do a better job against their bench."

For the Lakers, that starts with Lamar Odom, who has had a poor Finals so far.

Boston Coach Doc Rivers outlined a few things his team needs to accomplish to succeed in the next game.

Transition game

The Celtics had 15 fast-break points in Game 4, the Lakers just two. Rivers wants to put the ball into the hands of point guard Rajon Rondo and let him attack the Lakers.

"We want to get out on the break," Rivers said Friday. "I think we have to run."

Be efficient offensively

"Offensively, I don't like some of our empty possessions," Rivers said. "I don't mind missed shots, but the last two games we've had a ton of empty possessions."

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