After seven, hard-fought games between two of the most storied franchises in the history of the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers got their revenge on the Boston Celtics and beat them 83-79 at Staples Center on Thursday, giving them their second consecutive championship, and Kobe Bryant the fifth of his career.
Yes, that’s right: your Los Angeles Lakers are the 2010 NBA champions — soak it in.
The Celtics set the tone early in the game by pushing the pace, being physical and playing lockdown defense. By the end of the first quarter, the Lakers trailed by 9 points. The Lakers were able to close the gap in the second quarter, but they still went into halftime down by 6, and a big reason for that was Bryant’s shot selection.
With the heartbreaking result of 2008 NBA Finals still fresh in Bryant’s mind, he wanted to win the game badly, but his excitement caused him to force a ton of bad shots in the first half. Through the first two quarters, Bryant shot 3-14 from the field. To make matters worse, the team’s second leading scorer, Pau Gasol, was also struggling — going 3-12 from the field. If it weren’t for the 12 points that Metta World Peace in the first half, the Lakers would have been down by a lot more.
Coming out of halftime, the Lakers had an opportunity to force the Celtics to play at their pace, but they weren’t successful and Boston went on a 9-2 run to open the third quarter. Then, Derek Fisher walked back to the locker room with an injury. Suddenly, that feeling of defeat from 2008 crept back into Lakers’ fans stomachs.
But with Bryant’s legacy on the line, the Lakers rallied in the fourth quarter with a massive fourth quarter from Gasol — the same player that got the lion’s share of the criticism after the 2008 NBA Finals — a few big shots from Fisher and World Peace, and a tireless effort on the defensive glass from Bryant. It took everything they had, but they did it — the Lakers beat the Celtics, and Bryant added a fifth championship ring and second Finals MVP to his resume.
Now, let’s party.