There comes a point in a seven-game series when the games get ugly. Teams have watched the film, lived the other team for a few games and they now anticipate everything. They know where the next pass is headed, the next cut is going. They can stop things before they happen.
We are there in the NBA finals. The first half of Game 4 was not pretty basketball.
The Lakers lead 45-42 at the half.
At this point it’s about which team can hit the contested shots, which team can win the scrambles. So far the Lakers have gotten good games from who you expect: Kobe Bryant has 12 points (on 5 of 8) and Pau Gasol with 12 (3 of 6).
The Celtics have had Paul Pierce, who has had his best game of the finals, with 12 points on 5 on 9 shooting.
The team that does the little things — wins on the boards, gets the loose balls, hits the tough shots. The Celtics need to play with some desperation and do that; they cannot afford to go down 3-1.