The Los Angeles Lakers were able to beat the Boston Celtics 10 years ago to get their 16th NBA Championship.
Has it really been 10 years since the last time the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in a Game Seven for the first time? June 17th, 2010 might as well be from another century rather than just a decade ago, so much has changed in the landscape of the world let alone the NBA.
Since that night the Lakers have descended from champions to irrelevant in the NBA landscape. There were the inter-family squabbles after Dr. Jerry Buss died. The hiring and firing of coaches and front office personnel. The yearly lottery finishes unprecedented in team history. A terrible decade for the team that started it on top of the world.
Despite all that has happened since then it is still glorious to recount how the Lakers won their 16th title in franchise history.
For those who don’t remember the Lakers were trying to do quite a few things as they went into Game Seven against the Celtics.
A win would have added some firsts for the Lakers, up until that night the Lakers had never beaten the Celtics in a Game Seven. The previous four Game Sevens between the teams had all gone for the Celtics.
If they won the Lakers would become the first team to comeback and beat the Celtics after they had built a 3-2 series lead in the Finals, the Celtics were a perfect 11-0 going into the game.
The Lakers were trying to redeem themselves as well having lost the first Lakers-Celtics Finals matchup in 21 years in 2008 in six games. The Lakers were humiliated in that series twice, first in Game Four when they blew a 24-point lead to lose and go down 3-1 in the series and then in the Game Six clincher where the Celtics won by 39 points the largest margin in a clincher.
The game itself was not kind on the eyes neither team reached 85 points and it resembled more of a slog than a basketball game. Los Angeles struggled to score all game and eight minutes into the third quarter they found themselves down by 13 points 49-36.
Over the rest of the game, the Lakers would outscore the Celtics by 17 (47-30), the turning point coming in the fourth quarter with six minutes left Derek Fisher hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 64 all. From there Kobe Bryant hit two free throws and then hit a jumper giving the Lakers a lead they would never relinquish.
The play of the game came from Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace), with the Lakers up by three Artest hit a three-pointer with a minute left to put the team up by six to essentially put the game away. The basket gave Artest 20 points for the game his game-high for the series and high praise from his coach Phil Jackson who said he was the “MVP of the Game.”
When the final whistle blew, the Lakers would collect their second Larry O’Brien trophy in a row winning back to back titles. Kobe Bryant despite shooting 6-of-24 in Game Seven would win his second Finals MVP in a row averaging 28 points for the series and avenging the 2008 loss to these same Celtics.
Sorrow surrounds the sight of Kobe on the scorer table flashing the “five” sign to celebrating fans, with his death earlier this year those images are what we have left of that night we’ll never have him again reminiscing when he solidified his legacy. That was the night he and the rest of the team downed the Celtics in seven games.