Friday, June 18, 2010

NBA 2010 Finals: Purple Reign Part 2

In a game of wills, the team that is aching to get back at their tormentors made the more difference. The LA Lakers overcame a 13 point third quarter deficit to beat 83 – 79 the only team that has tormented their franchise consistently, the Boston Celtics. Kobe Bryant led a balanced attack by the Lakers as he scored 23 points and also had 15 rebounds. Pau Gasol churned in monstrous numbers as he added 19 points and 18 rebounds with 9 of those coming from the offensive end. The other game 7 hero is Ron Artest who sank a pivotal three pointer in the last minute to quell the last rally staged by the Celtics. Derek Fisher added another 10 points.

Celtic legend Bill Russel congratulates Kobe Bryant

The Celtics started the game like they were a team on a mission as the green team opened up a 23 -14 first quarter lead as the Lakers started the first quarter with a 22% shooting clip on 4 of 18 shooting from the field and 4 of 7 from the line. Kobe only scored 3 points in the first quarter which is usually your gauge if he will score tons of points. The Celtics still managed to hang on till they erected a 49 – 36 lead with 8 minutes and 23 remaining in the third quarter. The Lakers refused to give up as they uncorked a blistering 17 – 8 run that cut the Boston deficit to four 57 – 53 at the end of the third. Bryant, Gasol and Lamar Odom helped hands to cut that lead. In the fourth, the Lakers went to Bryant and Gasol to take the lead 66 -64 with 5:56 left in the game and the Lakers never looked back.

Artest's defense prevented Pierce from brining
back his 2008 heroics in this series

It was a sorry loss for the beantown team since a lot of firsts were registered in this loss. It was the first time the Celtics lost to the Lakers in a games 7. It was also the first time multi-titled coach Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant beat the Celtics in the finals. As Kobe Bryant said “How can I become the greatest Laker ever if I don’t beat the Celtics!” Now it can be said….and they can do it again next year.

Davis and Artest battle for a rebound

Good defense prevailed this time as the Celtics vaunted All-Stars shot poorly with Paul Pierce shooting 5 of 15, Rajon Rondo 6 of 13 and Ray Allen a disappointing 3 of 14. After his record breaking game 2 shooting spree he was never the same as he went 0 for 16 in Boston and 4 of 12 in the last two games at the Staples Center. He shot 36% in the 7 game series. It seems like since his numbers went down, Boston had no other weapon to go to outside. He was shut down by the Lakers defense. Talking about Lakers defense, the unsung hero in this series is Ron Artest who in a way limited Paul Pierce to numbers that he is not comfortable of. Yes Pierce was dominating in some games but not as spectacular as he was in 2008. Lastly, the Celtics failed to capitalize on the horrendous shooting of Kobe Bryant who went 6 of 24 in this game 7. Obviously the Celtics made it all the more difficult for Bryant to score so he found other ways by sinking 11 of 15 free throws, most of them in the pay off period.

Kobe does the worm dance

Three years ago Kobe Bryant was asking the LA Lakers to trade him to another team for he was unhappy with the LA Lakers. He felt that he doesn’t want to be a part of Lakers rebuilding process. Asked where he wanted to play he said he could even play in Pluto if need be. Luckily for the Lakers he stayed on and then the best thing happened, the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol and they went to the 2008 NBA Finals. We all know what happened in that series and this win is the culmination of that rebuilding process that the Lakers were trying to do. Like what they say, you can rebuild by being competitive. The Lakers have time and again traded for the big names and the ones who can contribute to the them winning a title. Remember your Lakers history – the acquisitions of Kareem Abdul –Jabbar from Milwaukee and Shaquile O’Neal from Orlando gave the Lakers 8 titles, Gasol is in the same boat as he has now contributed 2.

2nd Finals MVP for Kobe

Congratulations to the LA Lakers. Kobe Bryant was voted the Finals MVP and he deserves the accolade very much for he is the most consistent player in the finals as he averaged 28 pts per game, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. At the same time his scoring was somehow not that high because most of his shots were contested and the degree of difficulty on each shot taken was on the “highly difficult mode” but he converted most of them. Now the next thing in the minds of the Lakers after Revenge has been done – will the Purple Reign extend into a dynasty. See you next year.

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