The 2008 NBA Championships: Finally Someone Put Kobe Bryant in His Place
If you are reading this, then I guess that means that Mr. MVP himself, Kobe Bryant, fell short of an NBA Championship and it is the Boston Celtics who are basking in a sea of excellence (as they should).
Kobe's showboating and over confidence didn’t reach as far as he has hoped.
Sure, it brought him this far—but it takes more then sheer confidence to take home an NBA title, especially against a team of such caliber as the Celtics. Did he really think that he could take this himself with not one, but THREE All-Star level competitors on the Celtics squad?
Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen will finally be known as the people to shut up and shut down Kobe Bryant—and I thank them, from the bottom of my little basketball-loving heart.
The Celtics and the Lakers have a spectacular NBA Playoff rivalry that will now be remembered for what it IS, not what it WAS. With so many great players on the court representing both teams this year, how could you compare it to anything else?
Paul Pierce, who sustained an injury in the first half of Game One, came out during the second half of that game and showed the world the kind of player he was—a champion.
Going three for four on three-point shots, and scoring 22 points for the game, he showed little to no discomfort resulting from the injury. He also got plenty of help from fellow teammates. Garnett and Allen put up a combined 43 points, resulting in a win for the boys in green.
I guess it wouldn’t be a good series if the bad guys didn’t win at least one of the games. Game Three was one for Bryant and his golden boys. Bryant put up 36 points in the win—and that was just enough to carry his team over the Celtics by six points.
If your top player scores 36 points, and you still just barely win the game, that can mean just one thing—your opponents are displaying absolutely amazing defensive skills. To quote perhaps my favorite movie of all time, Love and Basketball, “Offense sells tickets, defense wins games.”
More importantly—defense wins championships.
In Game Four, the Boston Celtics pulled off the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history—which is more then you can say for Kobe and his resume.
(To my surprise, as well as probably many other people who follow the NBA, Kobe came up with a whopping 10 assists. The boy can pass the rock, who knew?)
What happened during Game Four was something of epic proportions. It was something the guys on the Celtics dreamed about. And on this night, someone wished upon a star, because their dreams came true.
The Lakers, who led by 24 points at one point during Game Four, were up on the Celtics 35-14 by the end of the first quarter. From this point on, the Celtics had the greatest comeback viewed in NBA playoff history.
At half-time the score was 58-40 in favor of the Lakers, but the Celtics never lost the faith. It was said that “no team had ever overcome more than a 15-point deficit after the first quarter.” During the second half of the game, Boston went on to outscore Los Angeles 57-33.
All I have to say to that is WOW.
Now that everyone is flying high above the clouds, there was only one thing left for the Celtics to do. They just needed to finish off the Lakers in Game Five and they could call themselves the 2008 NBA Champions.
Prior to Game Five, the Lakers had quite a name for themselves at the Staples Center. In the playoffs, the Lakers were an impressive 9-1 at home. The Celtics would have to overcome all the hype, and shut the Lakers down in their own house.
The L.A. hype was too much for the Celtics in Game Five, as the Lakers won at home, 103-98. But now was not the time for Boston fans to lose hope.
It all came down to Game Six. If the Celtics came out on top with this game, they would be hanging banner No. 17.
Game Six being in Boston, the Lakers had to work extra hard against the Boston stands—and if you watched the final game, you saw them fell incredibly short, losing the game 131-92.
Legendary Celtic player Bill Russell joined in the celebration as the final buzzer sounded.
This was the largest margin of victory ever in a championship-clinching game. Shooting 27-64, with 19 turnovers, L.A. didn’t make a very good case for themselves as the better team.
Not only did the Celtics prove to be the elite team, they appeared also to be an equally talented team. They put up 33 assists compared to the Lakers’ 16.
PTI’s Michael Wilbon put it perfectly when he said, “By the end of Game Three in this series, it was evident to even people who picked the Lakers, like I did, in this series, Boston wasn’t just a better team, they were a MUCH better team.”
Kevin Garnett, clearly a star player this postseason as well as one of the most emotional of all the celebrants, scored 500 points this postseason. Finals MVP, Paul Pierce also scored 500 points in this postseason. Larry Bird is the only other Celtic to mark that accomplishment.
In perfect ending, with tears in his eyes, KG loudly announced his gratitude to those who mean most to him: “Mama, I made it.”
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