2010 NBA Finals: A First, A Fifth, and the Illusion of Game Seven

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2010 NBA Finals: A First, A Fifth, and the Illusion of Game Seven
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

He's one of the best players, closers, and talents that the game of basketball has ever seen, but Game Seven tomorrow night presents a first for Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

It will be his first Game Seven in an NBA Finals series.

Lucky for Kobe, who seems to thrive most in the spotlight, the ramifications of this game are about as high for the Lakers leader as they can be.

A win would give the storied guard out of Lower Merion High School his fifth NBA championship and more importantly, his first against the Celtics.

Kobe could walk around with a ring on each finger, enough gold and gems for a king to be proud of. As former five time champions would say, Kobe will have one for the thumb.

A win tomorrow also probably cements Kobe as a top seven player of all time, ties him with Magic with five rings and puts him one championship behind Jordan.

The Lakers handed the Celtics a beatdown in Game Six, blowing them out by 22.  The defending champs are also heading into the final game of this series as the healthier team for the first time.

Rondo caught an elbow to the jaw courtesy of Ron Artest and the C's watched their starting center be helped off the court.  

Bynum can give the Lakers some minutes, but Perkins will miss Game Seven as a result of his awkward fall on Tuesday.

The Lakers bench outscored the C's reserves 25-13, Ron Artest shot great from outside and Pau Gasol was an assist shy of a triple-double.

For the Lakers to win they'll need another strong game from Ron Ron, continued production from their bench (which played with great energy collectively in their last outing) and will have to play the type of championship defense that they had on display in Game Six.

For the Celtics, they'll need the bench that carried them in beantown to come out with energy and aggressiveness at both sides of the ball.  

The C's will need more out of their big four: Rondo wasn't able to control the tempo like he did in Boston, Pierce will need to elevate his game the way he did two years ago, KG needs to play much more physical down low (zero blocks and just six boards last game) and Ray Allen needs to keep his good shooting going.

Win or go home, this is the type of game where legends are born, leaving one side victorious and the other heart-broken.

Game Seven, Lakers vs. Boston, this is what the NBA and sports are all about.  

Pierce and Bryant, two of the best closers in the game.  Will the smooth Celtics great play smooth criminal, or will the Mamba strike first with the death blow?

This may be the last opportunity Kobe has at conquering the Celtics, a feat done only by Magic Johnson and his teammates on two occasions.

Regardless of who wins, tomorrow should not disappoint the rivalry or the sport of basketball.

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