The Lakers rallied and won a thrilling but ugly Game 7, surviving one of the great Game 7 defensive performances in NBA history.
The Celtics held the Lakers to 32.3% shooting. They limited the Lakers to 11 assists. 11! That’s unheard of. But guess what? They could not grab a defensive rebound to save their lives. Time after time the Lakers restarted possessions and ruined great Celtic defensive stands by grabbing the offensive board and kicking it out or laying it in.
The game turned after Derek Fisher hit a three to tie it with about six minutes to play. The Celtics followed with some loose possessions, and the Lakers converted baskets to take command.
Then at the end of the game, it appeared Kobe’s teammates bailed the “Game’s best finisher” out. Kobe took some really, really poor shots that might have given the game away but for his teammates. One was a horrible looking pullup with three men on him. The second was a baffling 38 foot contested 3 point shot with time on the shot clock. It was like he told himself “No matter what, SHOOT!”
The Celtics somehow kept it close, I still don’t know how. I pronounced them dead about four times in the last four minutes, and yet they came back.
But, appropriately, with the game in the balance, a two point deficit, the Celtics got a stop, and Pau Gasol got the offensive board.
Oh, they’re going to think of what might have been with Perkins.
But the Lakers took it. It was as razor close as any Finals I can remember, and it was completely dominated by defense. The Lakers frontline gave them that ever so slight edge. And I guess homecourt advantage.
And Kobe was a deserving MVP. I didn’t do the numbers, check with the WoW Journal, but it was so close between he and Gasol.
But then Mark Jackson had to go and ruin it by calling Kobe “the Greatest Laker of All Time”. Ah, Magic… Kareem…Wilt…Jerry….Elgin. At least two of those were certainly better Laker win producers. Actually maybe only Magic. Most of Kareem’s truly dominant seasons I think were in Milwaukee.