The Lakers have been criticized all year in if they have heart or not. The media and fans alike have wondered, do they really want to win or not?
They defeated the Jazz, but still had a monkey on their back when it comes to motivation because of their loss in Game 3.
The Lakers then struggled with a Game One loss at home to the Rockets. They battled and struggled playing in Houston and barely survived before a blowout in Game Seven moved them onto the next round.
After that, they faced an overachieving Denver Nuggets team who few thought would even upset the Lakers. They split the opening two games at home.
Then the Lakers come out in Game Six and silenced all critics. They defeated the Nuggets in dominating fashion.
It has been a long season of wondering if Kobe can win without Shaq? Can Gasol be a good compliment to Kobe? Are the Lakers too soft?
Are they overrated?
No they aren't. Throughout these finals, they showed they were the better team. Good teams can win those close games, even if there are struggles. Whether you win ugly or big, a win is a win and that is what they did.
The Lake-show is not the Kobe Bryant Show. The role players of the Lakers stepped it up when it mattered most.
Kobe wouldn't have his fourth ring if it weren't for the supporting cast.
Trevor Ariza put his place in Laker history in making game-saving steals and clutch three-point shots.
Derek Fisher made two key three-pointers in Game Four.
Pau Gasol played lots of good defense and rebounded the ball well, and also was a second option for Kobe to pass to.
Lamar Odom had versatility in rebounding and shooting.
Odom may be an inconsistent player with talent, but he came through for this Game Five. He hit his three-point shots to stop any Magic runs.
This was a great team effort by the Lakers and the supporting cast came through complimenting Kobe Bryant from when they started the season against the Portland Trail Blazers, until the final seconds of Game Five of this NBA Finals in Orlando.
There were troubles of losing here and there during the season, but it was all the better to build them up for the NBA Finals.
That series against Houston turned the Lakers around. They finally played to their potential.
This series finally takes the monkey off the Lakers back of winning without Shaq. Kobe has his fourth ring and now he will be able to smile forever when looking back on this moment.
Lastly, Phil Jackson can say he is the greatest basketball coach in the NBA for his 10th NBA title as a coach.
The Lakers may not win in a long time if they lose Odom and Ariza this offseason, but for now and this summer, everyone who is a fan of the Lakers can be happy for this franchise's 15th NBA title.
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