2010 NBA Finals: One On Five Won't Work, Who's Got Kobe Bryant's Back Tonight?

Shaun WeissmanContributor IJune 15, 2010

BOSTON - JUNE 13:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives for a shot attempt against Kendrick Perkins #43 and Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics during Game Five of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 13, 2010 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The great Michael Jordan always had Scottie Pippen for his championship runs.

A side kick to the greatest player of all time, Pippen was a seven time All Star and eight time All-Defensive NBA First Teamer himself.

But team's win championships, not individuals.  

The Bulls had one of the greatest rebounding forwards in the game in Dennis Rodman and two great shooters in Steve Kerr and Toni Kukoc.

The list continues, but that will suffice for now.

The greatest playing now?  Kobe Bryant had Shaq (or Shaq had Kobe, depending on your opinion) for his three-peat, when the duo quickly became regarded as the best one-two punch in the league.

But those championship teams had great chemistry and were deep: Derrick Fisher, Brian Shaw, Rick Fox, Robert Horry, Horace Grant, Devean George, and of course the dancing legend, Mark Madsen.

Now Kobe's got Pau Gasol and...

I last wrote that the decision to sign Ron Artest and let Trevor Ariza go last season may end up costing the Lakers this series.

It would also cost Kobe (and Fish) a chance to tie Magic Johnson with five rings, and on top of all that do it against the Celtics, the team that beat the Lakers in the 2008 Finals.

To spare you the recount and cut the story short, both Artest and Ariza signed contracts earning both forwards the same salary for the 2009-2010 season.

They also gave Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic nice contracts.

Luke's playing like he doesn't care, and the self-proclaimed "machine" definitely needs more than an oil change (Jerry Buss probably has the closest junk yard on speed dial).

Lamar is playing too soft and too hesitantly; not playing close to his potential against a team that doesn't really have anybody that can guard him if he's aggressive. 

I'll give Andrew Bynum credit.  Last game he went for 9 points and 10 boards in 29 minutes and he's shown me a lot of toughness by playing.

Gasol is playing very well this series, but even he needs to be better for the Lakers to win Game Six and live on to have a chance in Game Seven.

The Mamba is playing out of his mind, and without him the Lakers would have no offense at all.  But the last two games have been of the variety that may reflect well in the points section of Kobe's box score, but not in the wins/loss column.

Tonight somebody on the Lakers, it doesn't matter who (I mean Nate Robinson and Big Baby carried the C's to a win in Game Four) needs to step their game up big time, just like Fisher did in Game Three and Gasol did in the opening game.

Right now the Celtics are able to play four on five defensively because of Artest's inability to do anything right on offense.  

Lamar Odom, Derrick Fisher, and everyone else not named Kobe or Pau need to find a way to execute to help out what I thought coming into the series was the best inside-outside tandem in the league.

If not, cheers Boston, the beantown bars will be busy tonight.


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