The Boston Celtics entered Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers with a road record of 2-8 in the postseason. The Celtics overcame that with a 97-91 victory, which is one of the most iconic games in franchise history, and the 24-point comeback is arguably one of the greatest in NBA playoff history.
We at Hardwood Houdini thought there would be no better game to continue our rewatch series than Game 4, where the Celtics conquered their road demons and got a stranglehold on the Finals.
Some background heading into the game is that the Celtics had struggled on the road all postseason, and they had lost Game 3 in Los Angeles 87-81. The Celtics were desperate to win Game 4 because then there would have been a chance of them potentially being down 3-2 heading back to Boston for Game 6.
The Cs got off to a dreadful start in Game 4 as they trailed by 21 points at the end of the first quarter, which was the largest deficit in the first quarter of an NBA Finals game at the time. The Celtics didn’t find their footing until late in the third quarter when Ray Allen and Paul Pierce took over. The duo combined for 39 points to help the Celtics complete the comeback.
Allen and Pierce also did stellar jobs defensively on Kobe Bryant, who finished with 17 points on 6/19 shooting from the field. During the comeback, the Boston Celtics also received great play from James Posey and Eddie House, who combined for 27 points. The Cs suffocating defense and timely buckets propelled them to a commanding 3-1 series lead. The comeback was the largest in NBA history when trailing after the first quarter. Now let’s dive into the main categories of our rewatch series.
Biggest moment of the game: Ray Allen’s Layup
Ray Allen was outstanding for the Celtics in the NBA Finals in 2008, and Game 4 was his masterpiece. Allen played the entire game, and he finished with 19 points, nine rebounds, three steals, and a block. He was the only Celtic to play the entire game.
The biggest moment of the game came from Allen as he had a clutch layup with 16 seconds left to put the Celtics up five. He sized up Sasha Vujačić before driving to the basket and finishing a tough layup. Allen made a strong case for Finals MVP, as this game was a big reason why.
Star of the game: Ray Allen
Allen is the star of this game because he put the Boston Celtics on his back. The numbers speak for themselves in this game and I think there is a case to be made for him being robbed of Finals MVP.
Allen averaged just one point fewer than Pierce in the series, and he shot an absurd 52% from three. Game 4 was an MVP performance from Allen, which shows why Celtics fans should show him more love.
Winners of the game: Paul Pierce/James Posey/Eddie House
Besides Allen, Paul Pierce deserves credit for the comeback win. Pierce shut down Bryant in the second half, and he added 20 points and seven assists. The Celtics legend took his game to new heights against other all-time greats in 2008.
Posey and House also deserve major credit for the comeback as their 27 combined points fueled the comeback. Posey hit clutch shots in the fourth quarter, and House brought tremendous energy off the bench.
Losers: Phil Jackson/Rajon Rondo
Phil Jackson is a loser in this game because he got outcoached by Doc Rivers. He was unable to make the necessary adjustments in the second half. Rajon Rondo is also a loser because the Lakers were effectively not guarding him. Rondo finished with five points, and he only played 17 minutes. He was benched for House in the fourth quarter.
Impact of the game for the Boston Celtics
The impact of this historic win for the Boston Celtics is that it broke the Laker’s spirit. Although the Lakers were able to win Game 5, the Cs comfortably won Game 6 and got their 17th championship.