2008 NBA Playoffs: Conference Finals, Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs, Game 4
Information about game 4 of the L.A. Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs series in the 2008 NBA Playoffs, with score, recap, pictures, stats, highlights, quotes and Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol performance.
2008 NBA Playoffs Conference Finals
GAME 4: L.A. Lakers 93 - San Antonio Spurs 91
Lakers suffered at the end but got closer to another NBA Finals.
May 27, 2008 - AT&T CENTER, SAN ANTONIO. It was a strange game, so strange that L.A. looked overwhelmingly superior but could never build a solid lead. And at the end San Antonio even had a chance to win with a 3-point attempt by Brent Barry in a play where the referees could have call a foul, but the Lakers won it 93-91 for a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals.
For the fourth time in the last 6 games, the Lakers never trailed. Kobe Bryant had 28 points and 10 rebounds while Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol rebounded from poor performances in game 3. Odom had 16 points and 9 rebounds. Gasol had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. The whole team did a great effort on the boards where they outrebounded the Spurs 46-37. In the first half the Lakers took 11 offensive rebounds and got 20 points from them, which resulted in coach Gregg Popovich furiously yelling at his players on every timeout.
In the first quarter the Lakers led by as many as 14 but then it became a free throw contest, the Spurs were rewarded with free-throws on every touch and were 17-for-17 from the line. Odom, Fisher, Farmar and Vujacic all picked up their third fouls in the half while the Spurs got to tie it at 45 with 2:10 left. But Kobe Bryant had an answer every time San Antonio got close. A jump shot took with calm, a fastbreak dunk or an open teammate, Kobe set the tone for his team, who until the final minute was always in control despite having a small margin.
The Spurs tied it three more times in the third quarter, but it looked as if the game was already decided with 56 seconds to play in the fourth, when two free throws by Odom made it 93-86. But suddenly the Lakers collapsed. Ginobili made his only 3-pointer of the game, Gasol missed two free throws, Bryant missed a layup without running the clock too much, and Odom was called for goaltending on Tony Parker's layup attempt. It was 93-91 with 28 seconds to go.
Then the referees took protagonism with a couple of mistakes. With 6.9 left Fisher attempted a 17-footer that hit the rim, then Duncan's leg and went out of bounds. The Lakers should have got another 24 seconds on new shot clock. Instead the officials said the ball didn't touch the rim meaning the Lakers were left with two seconds on the shot clock. Kobe took a 16-foot fadeaway but was short, giving the Spurs the ball with 2.1 seconds left. It was inbounded to Barry, there was a lot of contact between him and Fisher but no whistle, Barry desperately attempted a 3-pointer, missed and the Lakers came back to life.
After being the key for his team in game 3 with 30 points, Ginobili got his first points of the game with 1:32 left in the third quarter on two free throws. He finished with 7 points. Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 29 points and 17 rebounds, while reserve Brent Barry provided 23 points that included 5 of 12 three-pointers.
Kobe took 29 shots (made 14) but shot zero free throws despite being defended by Bruce "Edward Scissorhands" Bowen most of the time. He was awarded with 4 free throws in game 1, just one in game 2, and also one in game 3 for a total of 6 free throws in 4 games, pretty unusual for a player who constantly attacks the basket, averaged 9.0 in the regular season and 13.4 in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The Lakers are headed home in command of the series and need just one more victory to made the NBA Finals again.
Phil Jackson (LAL Coach): "It is impossible to take 29 shots and not be fouled, but tonight was one of those exceptions, I guess."
Kobe Bryant (Lakers): about fouls not called on him: "Nothing I can say without getting fined, no"... "Just let it go, nothing you can do about it, you try to shoot through it and see if you can't make a couple of them."
Tony Parker (Spurs): "Every time we had a chance to get close, they hit a big three or get a big rebound and they just kept scoring."
Tim Duncan (Spurs): "Obviously we’re in a hole and it’s 3-1, It’s one loss and an elimination, but we really feel that if we clean a lot of this stuff up we have an opportunity to get right back in this series."
Gregg Popovich (Spurs Coach): “If I was the official I wouldn't have called that a foul.”
Derek Fisher (Lakers): "I never thought they would blow a whistle, I think we met simultaneously, and there was contact for sure, but I don’t think I ran through him.”