In a game in which Kobe Bryant shot just 6-24 from the field, and in a game in which the Lakers as a whole went 25-37 from the free throw line, they were able to hold on to secure their second championship in a row.
Kobe's shot was not falling all night, but he was productive in other ways. At the end of the day, Bryant managed to score 23 points, with 11 of those coming at the free throw line. However, it was not his scoring that did the talking— it was the other things, like rebounding. Bryant grabbed 15 key boards.
Game Seven of the NBA Finals was played like a true win-or-go-home game, with both teams refusing to back down. It was not the prettiest game on the offensive side of the ball, but the Lakers did what they needed to do to get the job done.
The Celtics had their chances, though.
After leading by six at halftime, the Celtics came out strong in the third quarter, building up a 13-point lead. The Lakers looked out of sync, and it took a Bryant jump shot that made it 49-39 to start the run. After that, the lead never got above 10 points, and by the end of the 3rd quarter, the Celtics led by four.
What else could you ask for heading into the fourth quarter of Game Seven of the NBA Finals?
In the fourth quarter, things just got better. Both teams came out struggling to score, and Kobe still could not get going. However, with Boston up 64-61, Derek Fisher hit a three that proved to change the game. Just as he has been doing his entire career, Fisher came up with a big-time shot.
After the Fisher three, the Lakers did not trail for the rest of the game. There was a wild finish with both teams firing in three pointers during the final minute but, in the end, it was the Lakers who came away victorious, 83-79.
For those complaining about Ron Artest earlier in the series and wishing they had Trevor Ariza back— how do you feel now? Artest saved his best game for last, as he finished with 20 points and five steals. He kept his team in the game in the first half.
Celtics fans will be disappointed after this one, as they came so close to their second championship in three years. If Kendrick Perkins had played, would they have won? It certainly would have helped, as Gasol and Bryant combined for 33 rebounds.
Is this the end of the road for Ray Allen and Doc Rivers in Boston? Allen, aside from a huge Game Two, struggled mightily in this series with his shot. Will Boston decide to bring the soon-to-be-free-agent back?
I do not expect Doc Rivers to return next season. It's time. I give him credit, though— the man is a great coach.
Phil Jackson? Will he be back? You better believe the Zen Master wants to get another three-peat.