Sweet Repeat: Bryant and Lakers win game seven and defend NBA Title
Beating Boston for the first time in a Game 7, the Lakers came up champions again after trailing in the last quarter of the last game of their season.
Kobe Bryant, the finals MVP, scored 23 points despite 6-of-24 shooting and the Lakers won their 16th NBA championship Thursday night, dramatically rallying to beat the Boston Celtics 83-79 in Game 7 of the NBA finals.
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: In game-seven of the NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers showed that defense wins championships.
After all, tonight’s game was supposed to be a dream match-up between the Celtics and Lakers, but – at least on the offensive end – it resembled a bit of nightmare.
Both teams couldn’t execute their offensive sets. Both teams couldn’t hit shots. So both teams dug-in, defended, and battled.
Take the victorious Lakers: Kobe Bryant, the Finals MVP, shot a horrendous 6-for-24 from the floor, but grabbed 15 huge rebounds; Pau Gasol pulled in 18 tough rebounds, which offset his missed chippies and free throws; and Ron Artest – who thanked his psychiatrist in a classic Ron-Ron post-game interview – hit clutch shots, however, his greatest contribution was battling Celtic superstar Paul Pierce.
As a group, the purple-and-gold overcame a 13-point second-half deficit and won their second consecutive championship by getting stops. For instance, they held the Celtics to just 79 points on 40% shooting from the floor.
Lamar Odom sparked the turnaround. The forward entered the game in the third quarter with the Lakers trailing 49-37 and looking desperate.
Odom used his considerable length and versatility to score, rebound, and most importantly, provide energy. And his contribution was far greater than his modest stat line of 7 points and 7 rebounds.
Boston led for most of the game and looked capable of pulling off the upset to win their second championship in three years.
Their offense went cold for long stretches of the second half. For instance, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, the Celtics’ top scorers, were a combined 8-for-29 from the floor.
And the talented bench – which so often provided a lift when the starters struggled – had little impact. Of course, the reserves were short-handed with Rasheed Wallace replacing the injured Kendrick Perkins in the starting-five.
Tonight, Bryant’s Lakers defeated the Celtics for the first time in a game-seven duel, something greats like Jerry West and Magic Johnson failed to accomplish.
Winning back-to-back championships cements this team’s place in history. And their leader and best player, Bryant, keeps solidifying his standing as an all-time great.
And the Lakers, the NBA’s glamour team, achieved this feat with grimy, blue-collar defense.
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