In terms of analysis and debate surrounding Game 7, much of it can be thrown right out the window. Nobody on either team has played or will play another game as big as the one looming on Thursday night. For Kobe Bryant, this is the biggest game of his career. While he is a sure-fire Hall of Fame player who may go down as a Top 5 NBA player by the time he’s done, if Bryant fails to pull his team to victory one last time in 2010 he will never be in the same sentence as his idol, Michael Jordan.
In many cases this game is a complete crap-shoot. The previous six games mean nothing, as both teams are just focusing on the one game still in front of them. Who will play well and who will not? Since the game will be played at Staples Center you would think the Lakers have the advantage, but that doesn’t mean Boston is going to roll over. The most crucial element to Game 7 will be the statistic that decided the previous six games, rebounding. If Perkins is unable to contribute much for Boston, the Lakers will have an extreme height advantage with Bynum and Gasol in the paint that they must use to their advantage.
The other important factor to this game is the bench. Before Game 6 I stated that bench play is usually drastically improved at home compared to on the road, and that rang very true on Tuesday when the Lakers bench outscored the Boston reserves 24-0 through three quarters. In Game 7 the Lakers bench must bring the same level of intensity and ferocity that they brought on Tuesday night, if not the Celtics are going to have a very good chance of taking this game.