It wasn’t the prettiest game 7 ever, but it will go down as an absolute classic. We knew it was going to be a war and we knew each team was going to grind it out, but no one could have predicted the way it would play out. If you were told that Kobe Bryant would have one of his worst playoff games of his career, you would never expect the Lakers to beat the Celtics in game 7. For much of the series it had been Kobe that couldn’t rely on his teammates to play well when it mattered but in game 7 when it truly mattered most, it was Kobe’s teammates who came to his rescue.
Bryant admittedly wanted it a little too badly and he let it affect his game. Bryant was forcing shots all over the place, taking difficult contested shots, and monopolizing the ball on offense. He shot terribly from the field, but grabbed 15 rebounds and found his offense late when the Lakers needed to close out the game. His relentless attack and his will to win was Kobe Bryant in a nutshell. It’s one of the reasons people like to talk about him in conference with greats of the game and why Michael Jordan, the greatest player ever to play is often spoke about in the same sentence as Bryant. So where does this put Kobe’s legacy? I’ll let PTI’s Michael Wilbon let you know what time it is. Read more.
The Lakers’ sixteenth championship was won by defense. Game 7 was one of the lowest combined scoring outputs in NBA history and Ron Artest had plenty to do with that. The Lakers acquired Ron Artest in the offseason to play the role of stopper against the opponent’s best player. Ron Artest proved his worth in Game 7 with his suffocating defense on Paul Pierce and his clutch three pointer late in the fourth quarter. Pau Gasol, has finally silenced his critics with his play. Without Perkins in the game, Pau Gasol was able to dominate the paint and provide scoring in a game where points were hard to come by. You have to feel good for guys like Derek Fisher who play the game with class and heart and deserve to be standing on the champion’s podium when it’s all said and done. For Phil Jackson, we all know how he likes to win championships, in three’s, does that mean he’ll be back next year?
As for the Celtics, we may have seen the end of an era. After a strong first half, the Celtics simply ran out of gas. The Celtics seemed unable to score if their lives depended on it, part of that can be credited to Lakers defense but for the most part, Boston just missed open shots, not that either team shot well, but the offensive wasn’t there when the Celtics needed it. Ray Allen will certainly have sleepless nights after all the shots he missed and Paul Pierce is probably still seeing Ron Artest in his nightmares. I know there’s no comfort in second place, but for Boston this season has to be seen as a success considering the way it began. Rasheed Wallace contributed when the Celtics needed him the most and despite all of the setbacks during the year, the Celtics were only a good quarter away from a championship. But in the world of sports, being close, isn’t good enough, and that team may be facing major rebuilding for next year.
It’s a fitting end to an the NBA playoffs. The two best teams going head to head for 7 games to decide a champion is all anybody could ask for. In the end the best team won, and the best player in the NBA won his second NBA Finals MVP. Hats off to Kobe Bryant , the Los Angeles Lakers and the Bus family on winning the franchise’s sixteenth NBA championship.