NBA Finals Game 7: LA Lakers win NBA title beating Celtics 83 - 79
NBA Finals Game 7 goes to the Lakers as they defeated the Boston Celtics to win 16th championship.
Kobe Bryant sprinted after the ball which Lamar Odom joyously flung downcourt to burn the remaining seconds in Game 7 of the NBA finals. While the celebration started behind him, Bryant chased it down and then held it aloft to his teammates.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Riots in Los Angeles after the NBA finals
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The two-time finals MVP has a ring for every finger on one hand precisely because he never slows down, even with injuries, the Celtics' defense and his own erratic shot conspiring against him. That's why this ring will have a special place in his collection, and this banner in the Staples Center rafters will loom a little larger than the rest to Kobe.
IN PICTURES: Riots in Los Angeles after the NBA finals
"I wanted it so, so bad," Bryant said. "On top of that, I was on E. Man, I was really, really tired, and the more I tried to push, the more it kept getting away from me."
Out of an unsightly 6-for-24 shooting performance, Bryant led the Lakers to a sweet repeat with 23 points and 15 rebounds Thursday night. While he could barely make a shot or even hold onto the ball at times, Bryant relentlessly drove the lane to earn nine free throws in the fourth quarter while Los Angeles erased a 13-point second-half deficit.
The Lakers earned their rings by winning a gritty, grind-it-out Game 7 for the first time in their franchises' history.
"This one is by far the sweetest, because it's them," Bryant said after the Lakers beat Boston for the first time in a Game 7. "This was the hardest one by far. I wanted it so bad, and sometimes when you want it so bad, it slips away from you. My guys picked me up."
While the basketball in Game 7 wasn't terribly attractive, as evidenced by the Lakers' 32.5 percent shooting and 12 missed free throws alongside the Celtics' 15 turnovers and 53-40 rebounding disadvantage, the teams' collective will and determination still were stirring — and they'll only get more beautiful with age.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson also has his 11th championship, matching Boston great Bill Russell's total and possibly putting a cap on Jackson's remarkable career if he decides to leave the Lakers. The Zen Master will have trouble walking away from the chance for a fourth threepeat next year.
"Well, it's done. It wasn't well done, but it was done," Jackson said. "I thought our defense was terrific. We were able to step in and play the kind of defense that we've established as a calling card for this team, and we found a way to generate some points."
Exactly two years to the day after Boston beat the Lakers by 39 points to clinch the 2008 title, Los Angeles got revenge for perhaps the most embarrassing loss of Bryant's career — even if that revenge was as cold as Bryant's jumper.