Originally published June 17, 2010
The season had come down to one game, 48 minutes of basketball would decide an NBA champion. The Lakers won Game 6 with their effort and energy in order to have a chance to win it all on their home court. The Staples Center was ready to see the Lakers battle the Celtics for a Larry O’Brien trophy. It would be the first time Kobe and Phil played in a Game 7 of the Finals, and they were looking to finally beat the Celtics.
The crowd was active and loud before the game even started, and the Lakers fed off them. Things looked good for the Lakers when Derek hit an opening three, which was his first of the Finals. The Laker bigs were also very effective in the opening minutes of the game, as Pau and ‘Drew got to many offensive rebounds. At one point the Lakers had the offensive rebounding margin 7-0. Both teams were hitting shot after shot and with 5:55 left in the first, the Celtics were up 10-9. It was clear that the Lakers’ height was bothering the Celtics, thus the rebounding margin. Bynum was playing great early on, as he was running up-and-down the court without pain. The Lakers were making effort plays and were definitely crashing the boards well. However, the Celtics still led 17-13 with fewer than three minutes left in the first. The momentum began to shift toward the Celtics, which was something the Lakers didn’t want. The crowd tried to encourage their team, but it didn’t work. The opening period ended with the Celtics leading 23-14. The Lakers shot a horrible 22% from the field, while the Celtics shot 58%. The Lakers did however win the rebounding margin, 15-10. Fisher led the Lakers in scoring with 5, while Glen Davis had a quick 6 points off the bench. The Lakers had to pick up their game—fast!
The Lakers started the second quarter with the same lineup they started with in Game 6. Phil was looking for energy and hopefully a run that will re-take the lead. The Lakers opened up the period on a 5-0 run and cut the lead to 23-19. The Lakers continued their surge and eventually rallied to take the lead, 25-23. They played with energy and absolutely killed the Celtics on the offensive boards. The Lakers got many second-shot opportunities and they took advantage of it; they went on an 11-2 run and with 5:39 left in the half, the score was tied at 25. The teams kept on battling and neither team lost their focus or energy. It was punch after punch, the Lakers and Celtics matched each other’s every move. With fewer than three minutes left in the half, the Celtics were leading the Lakers by 2, 31-29. Boston, however, would hold on to their lead going into the half. With two quarters in the book, the Lakers were trailing 40-34. The Lakers played a much better second quarter, but still, let Boston shoot 44% from the field. Ron Artest was the Lakers’ leading scorer, with 12. He also grabbed 3 of the Lakers’ 29 rebounds. The Lakers had to find a way to score the ball while dominating the glass if they wanted to win the game.
The Lakers did not open up the second half as they wanted; there was little to no energy and their offense was very stagnant. The Celtics took advantage and opened up an 11 point lead with 9:45 left in the third, 47-36. The Lakers were playing sloppy basketball and things were not looking good. They were taking good shots but just couldn’t knock them down. However, things quickly changed and the Lakers cranked up their effort. With Lamar and Kobe leading the way, the Lakers turned an 11 point deficit down to four by the end of the third. Going into the final period, the Lakers were only down 57-53. Their leading scorers were Ron with 14 and Kobe with 13. The Lakers had to play the best quarter of their lives in order to win the title.
The final period started with the Lakers quickly cutting the lead down to 2. After that point, neither team could buy a bucket. There would be great defensive stops, but on the other end, there was no success. With three minutes into the fourth, the Celtics led 59-55. The Lakers played much better in the latter half of the final period. Thanks to Ron’s and-one the Lakers were able to tie the game at 61. The momentum was shifting toward the Lakers, and the crowd was in a complete frenzy. Derek entered the game after an apparent injury and once again hit a huge three. With 5:56 left in the quarter, the score was tied at 64, and Kobe was going to the line to shoot two. Bryant hit both free throws and gave the Lakers a 66-64 lead. Kobe had been struggling the whole game but stepped up late. After his pair of free throws, Kobe nailed a jumper on the next play; the Lakers led 68-64 with only 5:21 left in the fourth. The Lakers kept on pounding the ball inside and it was paying off. On multiple possession, the Lakers were bailed out and were allowed the shoot free throws. At the 1:30 mark of the fourth, the Lakers were leading by 6, 76-70. Most people expected Kobe to be the person that would make big plays for the Lakers, but it was actually Pau Gasol. He either finished down low over multiple defenders, or he would get to the line and extend the lead. The Lakers had to play one more minute, one more minute to clinch their second consecutive title. The final buzzer rang and the scoreboard read, “Lakers 83, Celtics 79.” The Lakers finally beat the Boston Celtics in a Game 7, the Lakers are the 2010 NBA Champions.
The Lakers have completed the season with an NBA championship. They have repeated as champions after beating the Celtics, sweet revenge after they lost in 2008. Every Laker player stepped up and now Kobe and Derek are 5-time champions. Kobe also received his second Finals MVP, and now the Lakers franchise has won 16 titles. We had a great season, we beat Boston and now we have to plan for a three-peat!