Nickolas Loza | April 9th, 2020
The 2010 NBA Finals was one of the best finals series of all time. For the majority of the series, the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers traded wins and losses, so no team could gain any ground. But after Boston came through with a win in Games four and five, it put Kobe Bryant and his Lakers on the brink of elimination.
The Lakers would take Game six in blowout fashion to force a Game seven, where one of the biggest defensive battles of all time happened. The two teams combined for 124 missed shots, and a field goal percentage of 41% by the Celtics, and 33% by the Lakers. Some of the game’s biggest stars struggled the worst, but none more than Kobe, who shot 25% from two-point range, and 0% from three-point range. But it wasn’t all bad for Bryant as he ended up with 23 points, the games highest scorer.
The first half of the game was a low scoring one, but it was dominated by the Celtics, as they went into the half leading the game 40-34, with the leading scorer being the Lakers Ron Artest with 12 points. The teams both shot under 35% for the half. The Lakers dominated the offensive boards but couldn’t convert, which was a massive detriment to them because they could’ve easily run away with the game if they converted on a few offensive rebounds. The Celtics leading scorer was Paul Pierce with 11 points.
The second half was one that started out disastrously for the Lakers when the Celtics went on a 9-2 run to begin the half, making the game 49-36. The Celtics looked like they were running away with it, but the Lakers made a run to gain some momentum, so by the end of the third quarter, it was 57-53 in favor of the Celtics. The Lakers carried that momentum into the fourth quarter and tied it with 7:29 to go with a Ron Artest shot that was made and in the process of making the shot, Artest was fouled and made the free throw to make the score a modest 61-61. This is where the Lakers started to take over the game, scoring 15 points in five minutes, which doesn’t seem like much but considering that this game ended with a winning score under 85, it was a lot. When it came down to the final minute, the Lakers were leading 79-73. An interesting last-minute occurred with a ton of missed opportunities for the Celtics to tie, but the Celtics Rasheed Wallace committed a foul that let Bryant go to the free-throw line with 24 seconds left, and he converted both free throws to put the game out of reach. The Lakers would end up winning 83-79, completing a multi-staged comeback.
The legacy of the 2009-2010 Los Angeles Lakers will forever be the “The Team that found a way to win”. The Lakers didn’t exactly have an exceeding amount of talent on their roster, but they made that group work around Kobe and Pau Gasol. This team will also be remembered individually for being the Lakers’ last championship, and for being Bryant’s crowning achievement, as he earned Finals MVP honors with an average of 29 points, four assists, and eight rebounds per game. Game seven was really his only bad game of the series.
The reason I decided to review this game was because of how important it was to the now late Kobe Bryant’s legacy. This series was without a doubt his crowning jewel because he did most of the work himself. He was always tasked with being the main source of offense for this team, he would always be given the ball in tough situations, he would be the fallback for this teammates because no matter what Bryant did, he seemed to come up clutch in some way when it mattered the most. This game signified what the Lakers have been throughout history, being tough and never giving up.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images