What does it need to close out the defending champs? Four letters K-O-B-E! The league’s MVP put an end to the reign of the San Antonio Spurs as he buried them in the fourth quarter with 17 of his game high 39 pts to lead the resurgent LA Lakers to a 100-92 win against the defending champions .The game is reminiscent of Game 1 in which the Spurs led by as much as 17 points this time, 33-16 in the 2nd quarter.Bryant led a 9-2 halftime close to narrow the gap and give a prelude of what was about to come.
The third quarter belonged to the Lakers as Bryant started his onslaught by scoring 9 points to catch up with the Spurs as Vladimir Radmanovic ended the quarter with a three pointer to give the Lakers the lead 64-63. The fourth quarter was definitely a show of offensive power by the Lakers as they buried the Spurs as soon as Bryant served notice with a three pointer to start that quarter.Everytime the Spurs would try to make a run, Kobe answered back while the rest of the team contributed in every little way.
Pau Gasol scored 12 pts, pulled down 19 rebounds, 9 on the offensive end plus four blocked shots. The supporting cast of the Lakers were a thing of beauty because they responded when the situation called for it. Lamar Odom scorched the nets with 13 points while Sasha Vujacic, Jordan Farmar and Radmanovic added 9, 8 & 8 points respectively.
Tim Duncan had a triple double with 19 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists but his individual brilliance was not enough to lift his team past the Lakers. Tony Parker netted 23 points and 4 assists while Michael Finley, Brent Barry & Kurt Thomas scored 13, 11 & 11 points respectively to offset the subpar offensive game of Manu Ginobli once again. Ginobli proved to be the barometer of the series since the only win that the Spurs had came when he scored 30 points.
The Lakers await the winner of the Boston and Detroit series and is primed up to meet the Celtics in most probably one of the most awaited encounters this year. Will the Lakers chalk up their 15th Championship ring? In the meantime, showtime takes a much needed rest.