2010 NBA Finals, Game 4: Boston, Chest-Thumping and Posing Will Not Beat L.A.

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IJune 10, 2010

BOSTON - JUNE 08:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics lays on the court after getting fouled in Game Three of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on June 8, 2010 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

There was a moment in Game Three of the 2010 NBA Finals when Kevin Garnett was fouled hard by Andrew Bynum and, while sprawled out on the court, he beat his right hand on his chest to demonstrate the size of his heart.

There was another moment when Glen "Big Baby" Davis was also fouled, while converting a field goal at the rim, and he turned to face the Boston faithful and let forth a spittle-laced, guttural growl.

Never mind that neither play was instrumental in the outcome of the Celtics' loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Three, nor did either play allow Boston to draw even on the scoreboard.

In fact, the Lakers scored on each of their subsequent possessions after the Garnett and Davis gestures, and instead of being moved by Boston's emotion, the Lakers used it to help them clinch the crucial victory on the road.

This 2010 Finals series' has been defined by superior defense from both teams, occasional brilliance from Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, Derek Fisher, and Rajon Rondo—and of course, the horrible officiating on both sides.

But, the Celtics' have also offered their own signature moments, including Paul Pierce's false bravado after Game Two, and the many scowls, poses, grunts, and icy stares which accompany nearly every Celtic play.

The Celtics have been a team which wears their emotion on their sleeves since Allen and Garnett joined the roster in 2008, but, in the past, their gestures have been backed with dominant play on both ends of the court.

Garnett is known for his fierce scowls after grabbing momentum-changing rebounds, but, even though the scowl remains, the rebounds have been hard to come by against the Lakers' dominant frontline.

The hustle which used to accompany the Celtics' fierce attitude has been muted by the Lakers, who have been quicker to loose balls, fought harder for rebounds, and in Game Three, they made all of the plays that were truly deserving of a possession-ending scowl.

Davis had his moments in the fourth quarter of Game Three, as did Rondo, but the Lakers made the biggest plays at the biggest moments, and instead of celebrating their individuality, they buckled down for the next defensive possession.

Some Boston fans wonder what all the fuss is about, concerning Pierce and his statements regarding a return to Los Angeles, but the arrogance of his statements are validated by the cluelessness of the people asking the questions.

Every NBA player needs a certain degree of arrogance or cockiness in order to be successful, but there is a fine line between competitive arrogance and outright stupidity.

Pierce's comments drifted towards the latter because they were made with no thought at all about the possible consequences, similar to his "sweep" comments made after Game Two of Boston's series with Orlando.

It's okay to be confident in your team and their abilities, but making remarks which could be considered disparaging to your opponent means the onus is on you to back your statements up.

Pierce's performance in Game Three didn't match his comments, as Ron Artest once again played shut-down defense, and Pierce's failure became his team's, for the Celtics will be forced to return to Los Angeles.

Pierce's attitude is shared by his team, and it's okay to walk with swagger in your step, but you have to reinforce that approach with solid, determined play, and thus far, the Celtics have not.

The series is far from over, and there is still a chance Boston could return to Los Angeles with a one game lead, but it won't be accomplished by pounding their chests and staring the Lakers down.

The tactic doesn't work, and unless the Celtics realize they are facing an opponent who refuses to be intimidated, Pierce could validate his own comment in the worst way imaginable.


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