Lakers edge Celtics in Game 7, win 16th NBA championshipPosted by Inside Hoops
The AP reports:
Beating Boston for the first time in a Game 7, the Lakers came up champions again after trailing in the last quarter of the last game of their season.
Kobe 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 Boston Celtics 83-79 in Game 7 of the NBA finals.
Bryant earned his fifth title with the Lakers, who repeated as NBA champions for the first time since winning three straight from 2000-02.
The AP reports:
Ron Artest added 20 points for the Lakers, who shot terribly while trailing for most of the first 3 1/2 quarters. Yet they reclaimed the lead midway through the fourth quarter and hung on with big shots from Pau Gasol and Artest…
Paul Pierce had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who just couldn’t finish the final quarter of a remarkable playoff run after a fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference. Kevin Garnett added 17 points, but Boston flopped in two chances to clinch the series in Los Angeles after winning Game 5 back home.
After three quarters of mostly terrible offense, the Lakers tied it at 61 on Artest’s three-point play with 7:29 left. Bryant’s free throws 90 seconds later gave the Lakers their first lead of the second half, and the Lakers went up by five points before Bryant and Sasha Vujacic hit free throws in the final seconds to keep Los Angeles ahead.
The AP reports:
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 while the Lakers made just 26.5 percent of their shots, and only Ron Artest’s 12 points and relentless effort kept the Celtics’ halftime lead to six points.
The Lakers are the first team to rally from a 3-2 deficit to win a finals since Houston did it in 1994, beating the New York Knicks.
The Lakers shot just 32.5%, while the Celtics hit 40.8%. The Lakers were only 4-of-20 from three-point range; the Celtics 6-of-16. But the Lakers got 37 free throw attempts (hitting just 25), while the Celtics only got 17 attempts (hitting 15). The Lakers won the rebounding battle 53-40, and had 23 offensive boards (Boston had just 8). The Lakers as a team had only 11 assists, with 11 turnovers.
For Los Angeles, Kobe shot 6-of-24 for 23 points and 15 rebounds. Ron Artest shot 7-of-18 for 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals (but 4 turnovers). Pau Gasol shot 6-of-16 for 19 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Derek Fisher shot 4-of-6 for 10 points. Lamar Odom hit 3-of-8 off the bench for 7 points and 7 rebounds.
For Boston, Paul Pierce shot 5-of-15 for 18 points and 10 rebounds. Kevin Garnett shot 8-of-13 for 17 points, only 3 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Rajon Rondo shot 6-of-13 for 14 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists. Ray Allen shot just 3-of-14 for 14 points and 3 steals. And Rasheed Wallace, starting in place of the injured Kendrick Perkins, shot 5-of-11 for 11 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks.