Game 7 of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Magic rematch" target="_self">Boston Celtics compares to the Super Bowl – One game, winner takes all. We haven’t had a game 7 in the Finals since 2005 where the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons faced off with the Spurs coming out victorious.
That was eight months ago ; what are the five key battle points the Lakers must win in order to be victorious?
No. 5 Bynum’s Knee
Among conversations with friends and Lakers fans, I have questioned the toughness and durability of Andrew Bynum. I will say that he has proved to me and many others just how tough he is by playing with this knee injury.
Lamar Odom has two healthy knees, and most nights isn’t as affect as Bynum.
If Bynum can give the Lakers 20 – 25 solid minutes by scoring eight – 10 points and grabbing eight – 10 rebounds, it will give extreme benefit to the Lakers.
Bynum also needs to be active on the defensive end trying to keep Rajon Rondo out of the paint by stopping easy lay-ups and put-backs.
If the knee is feeling good, I would like to see Bynum make some aggressive moves to the basket in the attempt to draw early fouls on Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis, and Rasheed Wallace.
No. 4 Drawing Fouls on Boston’s Bigs
As I just mentioned Bynum being aggressive around the offensive hoop early, same goes for Pau Gasol and the rest of the Lakers.
With Kendrick Perkins out for tonight’s game after suffering a knee injury in Game 6, this leaves the Celtics short in the defensive block position.
Kobe, Artest, and Gasol need to look early for opportunities to attack the basket and get the Celts in early foul trouble.
This would force Doc Rivers to make adjustments and either use unskilled big men off the bench or go small which would favor the Lakers.
No. 3 Bench Points – Includes Artest
Obviously bench scoring is a must for both teams but having guys like Odom, Jordan Farmar, and Shannon Brown gives the Lakers the advantage in this category.
The only problem is these three often forget to show up. Some nights they settle for too many jump shots and don’t push the ball in fast break opportunities.
I included Artest in the bench scoring because his offensive contributions have been few and far between this season. His primary focus has been on defense – where it should be.
The Lakers don’t need to dominate bench scoring the way they did in Game 6. However, they must win this category, and for Lakers fans this forgetful foursome needs to remember there is no tomorrow.
No. 2 Match Defensive Intensity of Game 6
The defensive out put I saw in Game 6 was the most impressive defensive game I can recall since the ’04 Finals (Pistons team defense in that series was amazing).
They have to be on the floor for every lose ball, rebound, box-out, and most importantly force Rondo to be a jump shooter.
This is one area that I feel the Perkins injury favors Boston. On the offensive end this will allow for a more dynamic scorer, and possibly spread the floor creating better ball movement and lead to open three’s.
No. 1 Kobe’s Shooting Percentage
The biggest key to this Game 7 is how Kobe does shooting the ball. Even if they accomplish all the other points I have given they can still lose if Kobe shoots 35 percent from the floor.
I can almost guarantee you that Kobe will take 30 plus shots tonight and he needs to make at least 50 percent or better.
I have all ready predicted the best Game 7 Finals performance any of us have seen on my pod-cast show (60 percent shooting – 40-50 points – near triple double).
This is a game that will ultimately define Kobe’s career in the NBA and as a Laker. I expect to see rebounding, passing, and scoring in a rare form.
The bottom line is Kobe is going to shoot himself into the record books one way or another, and for the sake of himself and Lakers fans I hope my prediction is right.
Prediction: Lakers 93 – Celtics 89 - Series MVP Kobe Bryant
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