The Los Angeles Lakers had their backs against the wall heading into Game Six of the 2010 NBA Finals. Facing elimination, they played their best game of the series.
Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics played their worse. The end result was Lakers 89, Celtics 67.
Kobe Bryant didn't need to take over the game like he tried to do in Game Five. He had plenty of help. Pau Gasol had a brilliant all-around game, posting a line of 17-13-9. Ron Artest came out of his shooting slump and hit three three-pointers on six attempts.
Kobe's night was also made easier by getting to the basket.
He looked like Game-One Kobe, where he was determined to penetrate the defense and get layups and foul shots. Kobe can get his points every night, the question is always how many shots will he need to get them? Last night, he needed only 19 shots to score 26 points. When Kobe Bryant averages over a point per shot attempt, the Lakers are tough to beat.
The Lakers bench came alive in Los Angeles. After so much praise had been lauded upon the Celtics' reserves, the Lakers answered.
Lamar Odom played like a big man, grabbing 10 boards in addition to his eight points, while Sasha Vujacic made two shots from long range.
The most exciting player in the game was the Lakers' Shannon Brown.
He only had four points off the bench, but both baskets where phenomenal. The elevation on his first dunk off a fast break was ridiculous. His second dunk came as a result of poorly thrown ally-oop pass by Gasol. He had to reach behind him to grab the ball. After he got it in his hand, he threw the ball down with incredible force.
Seriously, is there a more exciting player in this series?
The Boston Celtics looked lethargic. They played like a team that could afford a loss. The reason for their brilliant postseason run has been defense. In Game Six, they failed to make the Lakers work hard for their points. As a result, the fast breaks and points off turnovers disappeared.
As if getting blown out wasn't painful enough, the Celtics lost their starting center, Kendrick Perkins. He went down in the first half and did not return. There is a good chance he will not be available for Game Seven. That would force Boston to protect the paint with Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, and Glen Davis. That's not a bad trio, but if increased minutes cause fatigue to set in late in the game, the Lakers could dominate the paint in Game Seven.
Going into Game Seven, a lot of people will believe the Lakers to be the favorite. They played well and looked to be the better team in Game Six. However, the Finals are a seven game series.
The Celtics had an off night, now they must bounce back in the last game of the season.