Lakers Finish Strong, Win NBA Title In Convincing Fashion

Matt King@TheRealMattKingFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 11:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on with a smile in Game Four of the 2009 NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena on June 11, 2009 in Orlando, Florida.  The Lakers won 99-91 in overtime and lead the series 3-1.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The questions can finally stop.

With their victory over the Orlando Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant finally have the answer they have been looking for all season.

Yes.

Yes, they are tough enough to win a championship.

Yes, they are the best team in the NBA.

And yes, Kobe can win it all without a certain rapping center by his side.

The Lakers’ star punctuated his amazing series with a 30 point, five assist performance in the deciding game.

After falling behind by nine early in the game, L.A. worked their way back into the game, then used a furious 20-6 run in the last six minutes of the first half to head into the locker room up 10.

For the rest of the game, the outcome was never really in question. The Lakers took command and they did not let up.  Orlando went cold in the second half and the game was well out of reach before they hit a few threes at the end of the game to make the final score a little more respectable.

Lamar Odom came up big, putting up 17 points and going 3-for-3 from downtown.  Pau Gasol and Trevor Ariza chipped in 14 and 15 respectively for L.A. as well.

It’s ironic that in what will ultimately be labeled “Kobe’s championship,” it was the one where he needed his teammates the most.

Derek Fisher hit the biggest two shots of the series when he sent Game 4 into overtime with four seconds to go, then hit another three to put the game and the series squarely in the Lakers’ hands.

Gasol and Odom were more than happy to take over games when Bryant deferred to them.

Trevor Ariza even made himself a ton of money this summer by coming up with big steals and threes all postseason.

Yet, in the end, everything for the Lakers began and ended with Bryant. His 40 point performance in Game 1 set the tone for the entire series. He averaged just under eight assists in the series, showing that he trusted his teammates and they thanked him by converting.

The idea that Kobe wasn’t able to win a championship without Shaq cast a giant shadow over his career. With his fourth ring, the veil gets pulled back and revealed what we always knew was there, but somehow didn’t recognize until now – a brilliant career.

Suddenly we realize just how big four championships is. That’s just two less than Jordan. One more than Duncan. Regardless of who Kobe won with, it is an accomplishment that is impossible to ignore.

With this victory, Bryant etches his name in history as one of the greatest players ever to play the game.

This time, there are no questions.