FanDuel - WFBC

June 18, 2010

Lakers Win NBA Finals Over Celtics: The Los Angeles Lakers won game 7 over the Boston Celtics, coming back in the fourth quarter to win 83-79 and claim the NBA Championship. It's Kobe Bryant's fifth championship and the Lakers' 16th, putting them one behind the Celtics for the all-time franchise lead.

posted by rcade to basketball at 12:08 AM - 39 comments

Kobe Bryant hasn't been anywhere close to impressive this game seven. Then again, none of the Lakers have with the exception of Artest.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 10:10 PM on June 17

Kobe Bryant hasn't been anywhere close to impressive this game seven. Then again, none of the Lakers have with the exception of Artest.

Artest is a warrior, no doubt. Good to see him get a ring. Celtics played some great D on Kobe, and Kobe was focused on his own shot rather than trying to involve his teammates.

The game was ruined by officiating - no way there was 1 team who deserved 20 more free throws, 13 more in the fourth quarter. Sucks for the players, sucks for the fans to see a good series end like it did.

posted by cixelsyd at 12:15 AM on June 18

!@!

posted by cixelsyd at 12:27 AM on June 18

Still, overall it was a tough series. Both teams gave everything they had right up to the end.

posted by NerfballPro at 12:36 AM on June 18

Kobe what does the 5th title mean to you?

"One more than Shaq."

Hey Shaq, tell me how that tastes.

posted by cjets at 12:56 AM on June 18

I have obviously never officiated an NBA Finals game, but I have reffed a LOT of basketball games. Watching this game, all I could think about is, "YUCK! This ain't gonna be pretty for the refs." They were in a no-win situation. Physical. Every series had an impact. There were a couple of no-calls that I went, "WOW!?!?" Likewise, there was air in whistles sometimes that made me go, "WTF!?!?" It was NOT a pretty game from any perspective.

In the end though, 5 on the floor won it ... and the other 5 would probably tell you the same. The necessary 3 did what they could do to manage the mess.

Just felt like weird tension in a lot of the players. Kobe was uncharacteristically tense I thought. Ray Allen too. Game just didn't have a real flow. Despite the magnitude of this game, I'd take a game with some flow to it, at any level of play, over this one.

posted by Spitztengle at 01:43 AM on June 18

The game was ruined by officiating - no way there was 1 team who deserved 20 more free throws

The officiating had no choice but to call them, the fouls were committed. What doomed the Celtics was the scoring drought they went on in the fourth quarter, not the fouls. The Lakers missed enough free throws to keep the Celtics in the game.

posted by sgtcookzane at 07:30 AM on June 18

I don't watch a lot of NBA basketball (and only a few minutes of last night's game), but it seems to me that it is rare that there is a discussion of an NBA game that has just occurred that the refs are not mentioned. Why can't the league do something about that?

posted by bender at 07:47 AM on June 18

Did seem like a lot of calls for the Lakers could easily have been made for the Celtics and weren't (how many times did a Celtic drive the lane and get crowded by 3 Lakers with no call?)

However, that really didn't matter - the Celts got worn down playing the Lakers game. They just plain ran out of gas in the fourth quarter (hmmm - I think I've heard that one before).

posted by kokaku at 08:02 AM on June 18

In the end, the Celtics focus on defense left them with no one providing offense-- their only effective weapon in the 4th was for Ray Allen to get fouled. I wish KG hadn't become a pass-first-shoot-last player since his knee injury (though he still had a great series) and much as it pains me to say it, I don't want the team to resign Ray Ray. He's still a great player, but he's running out of gas and he's been problematic in both playoff runs. It would have been nice to have Perk for the game, but the resulting contest might have ruined the NBA for years.

As for the officiating, the best thing you can say about it is that it was awful for both sides. The free throw shooting disparity isn't as bad as it looks: LA was the home team and the Celtics are a physical, defensive team. Plus the Lakers felt so bad about it they missed half the shots.

All that said, spare me the discussion about Kobe being in the same discussion with Michael Jordan (Byron Scott went so far as to say before the game that if the Lakers won, Kobe was probably the better player, though I put that down to his purple and gold sunglasses). Nobody in the discussion of Greatest of All-Time, not Jordan, Bird, Magic, Russell, et al, would have played that selfish, martyr complex game last night. His first half is what let the Celtics build their lead, taking ill-advised shots while triple-teamed because he "can't trust" his teammates. He's definitely one of the best players I've ever seen, but people have short memories if they think he's comparable to Jordan.

posted by yerfatma at 08:27 AM on June 18

Give Kobe some credit - while his shot wasn't falling he crashed the boards all night long, attacked the lane to get to the stripe in the fourth quarter (and hit em all when it mattered most), and proved himself most unselfish when he gave it up to Fisher and Artest in the final minutes.

As for C's - it was their game to lose going into the final stretch, and that's exactly what they did. And the Lakers did everything they could to give the game away with all those ill-conceived bounce passes into traffic (a continuation of what they did in game five).

posted by MW12 at 08:50 AM on June 18

but it seems to me that it is rare that there is a discussion of an NBA game that has just occurred that the refs are not mentioned. Why can't the league do something about that?

At first, it was just a lazy excuse for ANY team's fans to use, since refs make a lot of judgment calls, and if they don't go your team's way, then it is obvious it is the ref's fault your team lost. It becomes selection bias when reporting all the bad calls AGAINST your team, but never any of the bad calls FOR your team.

Then with Tim Donaghy being the center of attention for all officials by admitting to affecting the outcome of games for gambling purposes, it becomes even easier to shout "FIX!" for any game where a ref doesn't call something you want.

posted by grum@work at 08:53 AM on June 18

Grum, that's exactly why every time I watch NBA basketball, I wonder why I'm wasting my time. I root for the offenses and enjoy seeing some of the players I'm familiar with. And of course it's a treat to catch a glimpse of the world-eater Kevin Garnett as he takes a break from shattering the outer reaches of our galaxy.

But essentially it's like Italian soccer -- the taint is out in the open now -- once you know they're prone to fixing matches, it's an interesting spectacle but you'd have to be a fool to care.

posted by Hugh Janus at 09:00 AM on June 18

No one questions Kobe's desire and will to win. But comparing him to Jordan is a shaky proposition.

No one has been able to coach those foolish playground moves out of Kobe's game after all these years in the league. He still launches himself into the air like a rag doll and throws up all kinds of rubber band shots.

It is amazing how many of the shots do go in or come close, which is why he keeps trying them.

Jordan could close out a game without looking like he was playing a game of Twister at a fraternity party. He had a more complete, properly developed set of technical skills.

Jordan looked like he had played college ball. Kobe skipped that developmental step and it shows.

Jordan won six titles with Cartwright and Longley in the paint. Kobe has won five titles with Shaq and Gasol - and got blown out in two Finals along the way.

Kobe would not have five rings if he had played with Cartwright and Longley.

I'm tired of the Kobe ring count. I wish the media would switch to a Derek Fisher ring count.

posted by beaverboard at 09:00 AM on June 18

While I do not think Kobe is anywhere close to Jordan, people seem to forget that Jordan had Pippen for all six, Rodman for three, and ALWAYS had a consistent, go to 3 point shooter in Paxson, Armstrong, or Kerr.

Who does Kobe have? Gasol shows up sometimes, Fisher here and there. Artest and Odom come and go...

Kobe has just done it without a consistent number two option for the second year in a row. Bottom line is people just love to hate him.

posted by MW12 at 09:24 AM on June 18

Kobe is a great player, probably top 5 of all time before it's said and done (and possibly now). He could end up with more titles than Jordan, but he still would not reach Jordan's level in the pantheon of basketball greatness; Jordan and Kobe are just hardwired differently. I always got the impression that Kobe was most concerned about his stats and about his greatness/legacy -- which often leads to winning but not always. Jordan was just focused on winning.

And MW12 -- Gasol averaging a 19 and 11 is a pretty consistent number two option.

posted by holden at 09:44 AM on June 18

Jordan, Magic, Bird, Russell were more than just good individual players. They made others around them look much better than they were (anyone remember Pippen without Jordan?).

Kobe usually makes his teammates look worse. Check last night's stat line - 6 for 24 shooting and a massive 2 assists! He's a great 1 on 1 offensive player, any comparisons to Jordan and the rest end there.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:05 AM on June 18

At the end of the day you may be right, holden. Gasol's numbers are solid. But with a reputation for being soft it's hard for me to accept that Pao is ever truly considered a threat. Not trying to manipulate the definition of consistent - just saying...

And Pippen without Jordan was still an All NBA first team selection both years.

posted by MW12 at 10:07 AM on June 18

Bottom line is people just love to hate him.

No doubt. Give the 2010 Playoff MVP some credit. He started the playoffs with a swelled knee, a broken finger and various other ailments and played his way through it.

And spare me the Kobe vs. MJ straw man. Kobe's not saying it. the Lakers aren't saying it and the Laker fans aren't saying it. ESPN has diarrhea of the mouth. I've stopped paying attention to them long ago.

As far as his game last night? After an atrocious 3-14 (for which you Celtic fans might want to give your defense some credit), Kobe went 3-7 in the second half, pulled down 15 rebounds and scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. He persevered despite a poor shooting game and kept playing hard. That's what champions do.

And after watching the Lakers come back from 13 down in the 3rd, I'd just like to grab the mike and scream:

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

posted by cjets at 10:11 AM on June 18

Kobe usually makes his teammates look worse.

Your myopia is astounding. He just led his team to their second world championship. He averaged 5.5 assists per game in the playoffs and has become the unquestioned team leader.

There is no way they win without him.

posted by cjets at 10:19 AM on June 18

"the taint is out in the open now"

I thought they were wearing their shorts longer lately.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:23 AM on June 18

No offense because the Lakers were the better team, but coming back on these Celtics hasn't been a problem for anyone, even in 2008. They're kings of the giant halftime lead. And I didn't mean to take anything away from the Lakers or Kobe, I just wanted to get that off my chest. As for who Kobe has, Fisher has always been a great clutch performer (and Horry before him), Gasol was the MVP of this series from my perspective and he had a guy named Shaq for a few of those titles. While I know he's had some problems with the supporting cast (notably 2008), I don't think he's shot of help nowadays with Gasol, Bynum and Odom. You will also note that of his 5 titles, he's only been MVP twice. Not a knock on him, Finals MVP is always as much luck as talent, but it knocks down the "No supporting cast" argument.

posted by yerfatma at 10:24 AM on June 18

Gasol is a special player but I don't think he's MVP because he disappeared in games 4 & 5. When Kobe was scoring 38 to keep the Lakers in it, Gasol had 10 (?) points.

Fish is awesome. That clutch three he hit to tie it at 64 is one of a half dozen game changing shots he's hit in the playoffs throughout the years. And his 11 points in the 4th of game 3 won the game for the Lakers.

posted by cjets at 10:46 AM on June 18

IMO the Lakers are the far superior team and to me the proof is this. When the Lakers play terrible they still can beat Boston and when they play well they blew Boston away. The officials tailored game seven for Boston by doing nothing and allowing the brawl they called a basketball game continue with non calls. No wonder Artest was the dominate Laker as he is the only Laker that prefers a brawl to a game. On the other hand a brawl suits Boston just fine.

Don't get me wrong Boston did everything possible and played valiantly but they were basically hanging in there and then when the Laker's started to click they dominated. Look at the Laker shooting stats last night, had they just shot even close to their normal shooting percentages from the floor and the line they would have blown Boston out early. All series long if the Lakers played well they won pretty easily, if they played bad and Boston played their well it would still pretty much come right down to the wire. Defensively the Lakers stayed in a game that typically a team shooting in the 20 something % range would have been blown away early.

Discussions about how Kobe ranks on the all time list are to me ridiculous as his career is far from over. Also all this talk about Michael Jordan is getting tired. If I had to pick one player from any era as the first pick for a trans generational team, it would not be either Kobe or Jordan. That said, Kobe is arguably the best player playing today. You can talk about Lebron but the Cavaliers can't win if he doesn't score, whereas the Lakers can win even if Kobe doesn't score. No matter how cold he was last night, he made up for it in desire, defense, rebounds, and leadership. He did not give up as it appears LJ did.

I also thought Doc Rivers who I respect very much did his team a big disservice by saying they did not have a chance to defend their title because Perkins did not play. I guess he forgot that the Lakers also had a disadvantage because Bynum has a knee injury and can barely play. Give Boston a healthy Perkins and add a healthy Bynum to the Lakers and the Lakers just increase their advantage.

Despite all the officiating, league and player efforts to ensure an exciting, entertaining, and extremely PROFITABLE seven game series between the two most popular and storied NBA franchises, it seemed pretty obvious all series, and all year which is the best team in the NBA and they justifiably won the title, for the second straight year.

posted by Atheist at 11:36 AM on June 18

I always got the impression that Kobe was most concerned about his stats and about his greatness/legacy -- which often leads to winning but not always. Jordan was just focused on winning.

I read an article several years ago--I think on ESPN's web site--that said both Bryant and Jordan used feuds to motivate themselves, but Bryant would ensure that his individual stats were better than whoever he was feuding with even if his team lost, and Jordan would ensure that his team won regardless of his individual stats.

Jordan was 6-0 in the NBA Finals (won 24 games, lost 11) and the Bulls never lost more than 2 games in any Finals. Bryant is 5-2 (won 23 games, lost 15).

Who does Kobe have?

Phil Jackson. 11 NBA titles as a coach.

posted by kirkaracha at 12:12 PM on June 18

No matter how cold he was last night, he made up for it in desire, defense, rebounds, and leadership.

Exactly.

posted by cjets at 12:19 PM on June 18

The officials tailored game seven for Boston

My opinions are biased as I'm usually pulling for the 'dogs, but are you hallucinating?

Lakers won by 4 points shooting 20 more free throws ... the officiating favoured the Celtics?

posted by cixelsyd at 01:00 PM on June 18

The officials tailored game seven for Boston by doing nothing and allowing the brawl they called a basketball game continue with non calls.

Basketball is always a brawl. Calls could be made on every collision. I don't think the officials handed Boston anything. They earned the lead they built up and would have been a deserving champion.

posted by rcade at 01:22 PM on June 18

NBA? It's June and they were still playing basketball? Yawn!

posted by graymatters at 02:04 PM on June 18

Sportsfilter? It's June and they are still arrogantly dismissing sports they don't care for? Yawn!

posted by apoch at 02:24 PM on June 18

Don't jump into a discussion to crap on a sport, Gray. Against the rules.

posted by rcade at 02:43 PM on June 18

"Lakers won by 4 points shooting 20 more free throws ... the officiating favoured the Celtics? "

The lack of officiating in what was clearly allowing almost anything in the first half and contributed to the game becoming a style that clearly suits Boston better. The rougher the better for Boston. That was a lesson the Lakers learned in 08 and the main reason they added Ron Artest. Also Gasol learned a lot and was much better standing in there against the Boston onslaught in the paint. There is always a certain amount of allowable contact but let's face it last nights game was just ugly and certainly one of roughest NBA games I have ever seen. The Lakers did not win by getting more shots at the line, they won by not allowing Boston to score, dominating the glass, and dominating the last quarter when it was all on the line. Considering the pressure, style of game, and trailing almost the entire first 3 quarters, in the end it just appeared they Lakers (Kobe) just willed themselves to the championship.

The Celtics were great all through the playoffs and clearly outperformed any expectation based on their regular season performance which is a testament to the great coaching of Doc Rivers and the championship heart of their team. The truth however is that the Lakers are longer, deeper, and more talented. The fact the Celtics put up such an incredible fight is pretty remarkable considering how they match up. Celtic fans should be proud as this team did not figure to beat Cleveland, or Orlando, and it took a very talented and experienced Laker team with home court advantage to finally stop them. Even that was not as easy as it should have been.

Not many teams with a star player could have won that 7th game without the normal scoring of their top scorer. That is just how good the Lakers really are. If Kobe doesn't kill you, they can still kill you inside, ,outside, defensively, in transition or with rebounding. They really are quite a well rounded team.

posted by Atheist at 03:14 PM on June 18

IMO the Lakers are the far superior team and to me the proof is this. When the Lakers play terrible they still can beat Boston and when they play well they blew Boston away.

You're only looking at the Lakers play while ignoring the Celtics play. It's easy to point to last night and how terrible Kobe played (and yet they still won) and ignore that Pierce and Allen were 8 for 29 (and yet they could have won). You're ignoring the possibility that on nights the Lakers played 'terrible' the Celtics might have had something to do with that. You're ignoring that the large swings in the quality of Laker play has a lot to do with their style of play, not to mention consistency is a key component of successful teams. If you're not consistently playing well, that's a problem for that team, no different than a lack of rebounding.

So I think your 'proof' is worthless except for showing your bias. However, ignoring that...

The series came down to the last game of a 7 game series and the home team won by 4. The Celtics led most of the game and were 1 rebound away in the last minute of having a chance to tie the game.

Kobe: "This was the hardest one by far." Kobe also admitted he had nothing left.

Artest: "I don't want to be in a game like this, where the game can go either way."

Odom: "It was so hard"

The game and the championship could have gone either way. To call one 'far superior' is comical (and I don't believe the Lakers would disagree).

posted by justgary at 03:40 PM on June 18

That was a street fight and not indicative of anything except the Celtics Achilles' heel of crunch-time scoring. They played fabulous on the ball D and got hurt on the boards. If they won, they would have been just as deserving.

I actually feel that the refs kept the Lakers in the game in the 3rd quarter. Most of the fouls in the 4th looked pretty legit.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:37 PM on June 18

Don't jump into a discussion to crap on a sport

Love the sport; hate the length of the season and post-season. Maybe if my team were in it, I would be more interested in watching basketball in June.

posted by graymatters at 06:30 PM on June 18

I was thrilled that the Celtics did as well as they did since I imagined they'd go down 4-1 this time around. I'm not certain that the officiating was really that much better or worse than at any other time in the post-season. While it wasn't perfect, I didn't feel like there was anything egregious going down.

Not sure why, but I went into this NBA season neutral on Kobe and have come out on the other end really not liking him. I can't put my finger on why, but it started somewhere in the series against Utah.

Also, man, yes, the post-season for the NBA always feels longer than the season-season.

posted by Joey Michaels at 09:34 PM on June 18

ath, get your point, but it doesn't apply to this incarnation of the Lakers.

In previous years the Lakers folded quickly as soon as the going got tough, whereas the Celtics thrived. This year, with Artest to go along with Fisher, they also had toughness. They were younger, bigger, and tougher than the '08 team. Even Gasol played with purpose, Bynum also gutted it out as much as possible.

Celtics were best this year when they ran the ball, not when they banged and slugged it out in half court offence. In no way did the officiating style favor the Celtics. In no way did attempting 20 fewer free throws aid the Celtics cause.

posted by cixelsyd at 01:55 AM on June 19

Celtics were best this year when they ran the ball, not when they banged and slugged it out in half court offence. In no way did the officiating style favor the Celtics

IMO these are two different points, the first of which I agree with and the second one I do not. The Celtics did look best on O when Rondo ran the ball and wasn't afraid to take it to the hole. His skills were clearly honed on the playground and when he plays with confidence he's virtually unstoppable. On the other hand, the officiating style did favor the Celtics because it allowed them to put a body - not just a hand but a whole body - on the Lakers players when they were on D. In the end this led to more free throws by the Lakers because Kobe and Pao were able to compensate for their poor perimeter shooting performances by getting themselves to the line. But it certainly tired the Lakers out quickly, contributing to those poor shooting performances in the first place, and keeping the Lakers well under 100 points per game (which they knew going in was a threshold they couldn't allow the Lakers to cross and still have a chance).

posted by MW12 at 06:02 AM on June 19

Awesome Ron Artest post-game. The whole thing is great but at ~8:30 it is great. "Kobe passed me the ball!"

posted by geekyguy at 12:34 PM on June 19

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