The series is now tied up 2-2.
We're heading back to the infamous Garden once again for the final road game.
Now let me be the first to tell you that I'm surprised in a sense that I didn't truly believe this series was going to be this tough for the Lakers.
Even after game two's loss at home, I still had high expectation for the Lakers.
Andrew Bynum, that's why.
Is it me or does Boston seem to play timid when Bynum's in the game?
The fact is, that they do, and for a good reason.
Boston isn't stubborn, they know that Andrew Bynum's presence down low is nothing to reckon with.
But why can't Bynum stay healthy for the important series' such as the NBA Finals?
Before we get into that, lets look at Bynum's stats and how he affects the series as a whole.
2010 NBA Finals Statistics:
Game One: 10 (PTS), 6 (REB), 4-6 (FGM-A).
Game Two: 21 (PTS), 7 (BLK), 6 (REB), 6-10 (FGM-A).
Game Three: 9 (PTS), 1 (BLK), 10 (REB), 3-9 (FGM-A).
Game Four: 2 (PTS), 3 (REB), 1-2 (FGM-A).
Considering Bynum has been dealing with his bad knee, these numbers are very impressive.
Imagine having to run up and down full speed on a bad knee, with a skin-tight brace on.
I can't run when my knee is swollen can you?
The more important aspect about Bynum is his mere physical presence in the paint.
He could go scoreless and the Lakers would still be competitive.
Like the say, "you can't teach size."
Bynum was born with unmeasurable talent and a "tank-like" body.
This is why Bynum is the key to every series and especially this series against a very physical Boston team.
The advantage the Celtics have over the Lakers is simple:
They play physical and "dirty basketball" to intimidate the Lakers.
Who can blame them?
I mean, they have already won a championship against the Lakers merely by pushing them around and hustling.
The Lakers are blessed to have such a talented team that has size and strength, they just have to harness this weapon and utilize it to full strength.
When I say this, I am talking to Bynum and Gasol and especially to Bynum.
One would be a fool to say that the series is the same when Bynum isn't playing.
Last game was a prime example.
Glen Davis and the whole Celtics team merely out-rebounded and out-muscled the Lakers, and if Bynum had played anywhere from 20-30 minuets, the game would have been completely different.
When a seven-foot athlete such as Bynum is in the paint waiting to hurt you, one rethinks his/her thought process.
Glen Davis wouldn't dare try and power his way in anymore, Perkins would have to work harder on both ends, and all the perimeter plays would have to think twice before going into the paint.
Isn't this all that the Celtics are doing?
They attack the gaps and power their way into the soft paint, and when they miss, they easily rebound the ball and put it back up.
Without Bynum, the Lakers are merely the same '08 team playing scared against the high school bullies.
If Bynum isn't back for game 5 then this series is most likely going to be the same outcome as two years ago.
Rajon Rondo will get his usual numbers, Pierce will attack more often, and the Celtics' bench will muscle its way to victory.
So all you Laker fans, pray that Bynum is back at least partially, because if he doesn't, the light at the end of the tunnel is looking dim.