Backup Glen "Big Baby" Davis scored half of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Celtics bench as it pulled away from the Los Angeles Lakers to win 96-89 on Thursday night and even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
Game 5 is Sunday night in Boston. The Celtics' win guaranteed them a trip back to Los Angeles and averted a 3-1 deficit that has never been overcome in NBA history.
Kobe Bryant scored 33 points and Pau Gasol had 21 for the Lakers.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Down the stretch, the Boston Celtics needed a spark. And their bench answered the call, winning game four for the green-and-white.
With starters Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo struggling, coach Doc Rivers went with four reserves and first-stringer Ray Allen for most of the fourth quarter.
And this makeshift unit responded in the final frame: Glen Davis tallied 9 of his 18 points; Nate Robinson scored and set up others; Tony Allen forced Kobe Bryant left and made the game's best player work for every point; and Rasheed Wallace's length and physicality eventually wore on Pau Gasol.
Best of all, Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Davis, Robinson, and Wallace brought an energy that Boston was missing for most of the game.
The news gets worse for the Los Angeles Lakers: Andrew Bynum sat out the entire second half and only played 12 minutes because of his injured knee.
Bynum's numbers have been mediocre due to his poor health; however, his height and length has given the Celtics problems. Also, with Bynum on-court, Gasol can shift to the four-spot, his natural position.
However, give the Celtics credit. They capitalized on Bynum's absence. And their bench came through in the clutch.
Got thoughts on game four?