Lakers NBA champions
The Lakers finished the season with one of their greatest moments ever, climbing back from a 13-point deficit to defeat the Boston Celtics, 83-79, to win Game 7 of the NBA Finals and clinch their second consecutive championship.
This is 16 franchise titles, perhaps none of them more difficult. This is five rings for Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, absolutely none of them as hard. This is redemption for the Celtics’ 2008 Finals beating and it was a worthily wait .
Bryant earned his fifth title with the Lakers, who repeated as NBA champions for the first time since winning three straight from 2000-02. Coach Phil Jackson added his 11th, matching Russell’s total and possibly putting a cap on his remarkable career if he decides to leave the Lakers.
Jackson won his fifth ring in Los Angeles to go with his half-dozen from Chicago. And it might be the last: Weary of the regular-season grind and facing a likely pay cut with the Lakers, Jackson hasn’t determined his future, though he previously said another title would make him more likely to chase an unprecedented fourth threepeat next season, when he’ll be 65.
The Celtics had never lost a Game 7 in the Finals. Despite nursing a lead through most of the night while holding the Lakers to ridiculously low shooting percentages until the final minutes, Boston couldn’t close it out on the coast, becoming only the seventh team to blow a 3-2 Finals lead after winning Game 5.
Boston concentrated its entire defense on preventing Kobe Bryant from getting to the rim. Kobe isolations were overplayed to one side of the court where a big defender was waiting. Guards would pinch off the wings, and screens/rolls would feature the big defender showing out on Bryant. With Bryant’s overdribbling forcing him into terrible shots, he finished a horrendous 6-24 from the floor with two assists and four turnovers and was a non-factor until the Celtics made mistakes down the stretch.
Bryant, the Finals MVP, scored 23 points despite 6-of-24 shooting, and the Lakers won their 16th NBA championship Thursday night, dramatically rallying from a fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Celtics 83-79 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.The Lakers tied it at 61 on Artest’s three-point play with 7:29 left, and Bryant’s free throws 90 seconds later gave the Lakers their first lead of the second half. The Lakers forged ahead by five points before Bryant and Sasha Vujacic hit free throws in the final seconds to keep Los Angeles ahead by at least two points on every possession.
The Celtics had much more poise from the opening tip in Game 7, playing vicious defense that forced Los Angeles to miss 21 of its first 27 shots. Bryant and Gasol were a combined 6 for 26 in the first half. Indeed, the offensive heroes for the Lakers were Gasol, Odom, Fisher, and Artest. Never again should the Lakers supporting cast be questioned as unworthy of a championship. And a huge thumb up for Artest funny post game interview where he announced his upcoming single .
But forget how it looked early on, because history will. Bryant even did something Jerry West and Magic Johnson never could: He beat the hated Celtics in Game 7 of the Finals.
Kobe Bryant had 23 points on a rough shooting night, but the only number he cared about was his fifth championship ring, tying Lakers luminary Magic Johnson and moving to within one of Michael Jordan.
Congratulations Lakers ! See you next season !