Kobe Bryant, Lakers Force Game 7 in 2010 NBA Finals


Kobe Bryant, Lakers Force Game 7 in 2010 NBA Finals Final: Lakers 89, Celtics 67.
You want a Game 7? You got it.

The Lakers have finished completely obliterating the Celtics in Game 6
of the NBA Finals, forcing a deciding game at the Staples Center on
Thursday night.

Kobe Bryant goes off, Kendrick Perkins goes down, and the Lakers have the upper hand as they look forward to hosting Game 7.

Kobe finishes with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Pau Gasol adds 17 and 13.

Perkins has a sprained right knee, and God knows what the future holds for him.

See you all Thursday.

Fourth quarter, 3:21, Lakers 86-62: Looks like Kobe Bryant's done for the night. The Laker fans give their hero a nice ovation as he hits the bench.

Kobe finishes with a final stat line of 26 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Not too shabby.

Pau Gasol's staying out there, though, at least for the time being — I wonder if it's to round out the triple-double? He's got 17 points, 13 boards and nine assists. If he passes up a shot or two in the final minutes to feed a teammate, don't be surprised.

Fourth quarter, 3:50, Lakers 84-62: Feel-good story No. 1:
Marquis Daniels comes off the bench for the Celtics. This is the most
we've seen of him since the concussion three weeks ago. Feel-good story
No. 2: He hits a 3.

Daniels has the Celtics' fourth make of the night from long distance.

They're now 4-of-20.

That ain't good.

Fourth quarter, 6:31, Lakers 80-59: Of all the bizarre times for Kobe Bryant to pick up a technical, why now, with a 20-plus lead in the fourth quarter?

Only Kobe, I guess. Who else would get so cutthroat at such an irrelevant moment?

Ray Allen hits the technical free throw. Lead back to 21.

Does anyone care at this point?

The Celtics' only focus right now should be making sure everyone's ready for Game 7. Tomorrow's a new day. By Thursday, the Celtics should be ready to bounce back.

Fourth quarter, 9:26, Lakers 80-54: Rasheed Wallace misses a 3. Here's a question: Why in the world does Doc Rivers still have Rasheed out there?

I mean, really — what's the point? Down 27 points in the fourth quarter, there's absolutely no reason to take the risk. He could aggravate the back injury that's slowed him down these last couple weeks, he could get his seventh tech, he could do any number of things to upset the Celtics' composure going forward.

The C's have everything to lose and nothing to gain by leaving Sheed out there. Someone send Doc the memo…

End of third quarter, Lakers 76-51: And now the lead is 25. Get ready for Game 7.

Kobe's got 20 points. Artest's got 15. Pau's got a near-triple-double with 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

The Celtics have got nothing.

At this point, the best they can hope for is getting healthy for Game 7. And even that looks like a long shot.

Third quarter, 1:07, Lakers 73-51: The Lakers have reached their biggest lead of the game at 22, and their dirtiest point of the game, too.

Ron Artest throws an elbow to the jaw of Rajon Rondo, and Rondo's a little shaken up on the play. He's got to take a seat, and Nate Robinson's taking the floor in his stead.

Third quarter, 3:06, Lakers 66-49: Rajon Rondo looks smooth as
silk with that floating elbow jumper. Now if he could just make nine
more of those, the Celtics would be in good shape.

They're running out of answers at this point. Rasheed Wallace remains on the bench, Kendrick Perkins remains in the locker room, and Doc looks like he's stopped trying. He's leaving the same guys out there, playing with no rhythm and no hope.

In other words, he's thrown them to the wolves. And they're getting eaten alive.

Third quarter, 5:21, Lakers 60-42: How many shots in a row is KG going to have to hit?

Seems like every time the Celtics get a bucket, the Lakers get two. There's no chipping away at this lead — L.A. is determined to close this thing out and force a Game 7 at the Staples Center.

Kobe's got 18 now, but it's a total team effort. The Lakers are just clicking.

Third quarter, 7:05, Lakers 58-38: Just when you start to feel
the Celtics making their push, Kobe Bryant charges into KG for a basket
and a foul. He finishes the three-point play, and the lead is back to
20 for the Lakers.

What's scary for the Celtics is that they brought so much renewed energy to this second half, so much hustle, and they still couldn't do a thing about the 20-point deficit.

The Lakers aren't making anything easy. Kobe's still locked in. What can you do?

Third quarter, 8:27, Lakers 55-35: Now both starting centers are ready to play. Andrew Bynum is headed to the L.A. locker room.

The move makes sense for Phil Jackson, regardless of the specifics with Bynum's knee at the moment. With a 20-point lead in Game 6, why risk it? Give Bynum a rest if you can — you just might need him back and refreshed for Game 7.

Let's see if the Lakers can keep their healthy lead without the big fella on the floor.

Third quarter, 10:13, Lakers 51-33: Kendrick Perkins is done for the night. The rest of the Celtics have some work to do to prove that they're not.

The Lakers have started slow offensively in the second half. We're seeing signs of Celtic life, but we're going to need a lot more before this one becomes a real game.

Halftime, Lakers 51-31: This is what happens when Kobe Bryant refuses to be denied.

Kobe goes off in the first half for 15 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Ron Artest adds 10. Pau Gasol adds seven, with eight rebounds.

The Celtics are getting outshot, outrebounded, outworked, outhustled and outplayed.

They're down by 20. It's a miracle it's not even worse.

Get ready for Game 7, everyone.

Second quarter, 2:17, Lakers 49-29: Doesn't matter if he's in a tie game or down 20. Kevin Garnett keeps fighting.

KG scraps for the jump ball with Derek Fisher, and he gets it. Then he wins the tip and gets the Celtics an extra possession.

Gotta respect a guy who can always take care of the little things, no matter what the circumstances.

Second quarter, 4:46, Lakers 45-27: Maybe Paul Pierce is starting to find his stroke. The Celtics could sure use it.

Without Perk, the Celtics aren't going to win this game in an 82-80 defensive struggle. They've got to pile on the scoring and win this thing in triple digits. That's the only possible way.

The Celtics' Big Three are a combined 11-of-20 from the field for 25 points. Everyone else: 1-of-11, with the only two points coming on a running jumper from Rajon Rondo in the opening minute.

Doc has said this a million times, but it bears repeating now: The Celtics need defensive rebounds. If they don't crash the boards, they don't create fast breaks. If they don't create fast breaks, they don't get Rondo going.

If they don't get Rondo going, then keep your schedule clear for Game 7 on Thursday night.

Second quarter, 6:54, Lakers 40-23: Rebounds: Lakers 22, Celtics
7. Bench points: Lakers 8, Celtics 0. Field goal percentage: Lakers
50.0 percent, Celtics 37.0. Need I go on?

Another timeout from Doc Rivers. What can he even say at this point?

The Celtics aren't just getting beaten. They're being mutilated.

Ray Allen has 13 points; only three of his teammates have scored. Talk about a team effort.

Second quarter, 8:00, Lakers 34-22: Remember that diving steal Rajon Rondo made back in Game 3 against Orlando? Jordan Farmar just tried to out-Rondo Rondo.

Farmar makes a diving play to slap a loose ball away from Rondo, and the ball ends up in the hands of Kobe Bryant, who draws a two-shot foul from Tony Allen all too easily. He'll shoot two after the timeout.

Rondo's always talking about the importance of the 50-50 game. Tonight, he's getting killed in it.

Second quarter, 10:03, Lakers 30-20: At the end of the first
quarter, the Celtics were being rebounded single-handedly by Pau Gasol,
6-5. Congrats to Nate Robinson for tying the score at 6-6.

The Celtics have all kinds of problems right now, though. No one but Ray Allen is putting the ball in the hole, and the Celtics' defensive presence inside is lacking without Perk.

This is the wrong team to lose your starting center against. The Lakers are dominating inside.

End of first quarter, Lakers 28-18: Not exactly a banner
quarter for the Celtics. They're getting outshot 60 percent to 40,
outrebounded 12 to five, and they're down double digits.

Kobe Bryant's got 11 points already. Ron Artest's got eight, and Pau Gasol's added five. Everyone's clicking, and the Celtics can't stop them all.

Ray Allen has rediscovered his shooting touch, and Kevin Garnett's found his rhythm too. But it doesn't look like enough. The C's have a lot of work to do.

First quarter, 1:49, Lakers 26-18: Timeout, Boston. Doc Rivers looks more than a little exasperated.

Hmmm…silver linings. Let's see.

The one positive the Celtics can take away is that foul trouble hasn't been a problem. The C's have combined for just four personals so far. Nobody's picked up more than one.

They're going to need fresh bodies to have a chance tonight.

First quarter, 2:57, Lakers 26-16: Ron Artest's not the best
outside shooter in the world, but give him a little credit. Leave him
wide open in the corner like that, and he'll knock down a few.

Artest has eight points early. The Lakers have racked up a double-digit lead in a big hurry.

The Celtics are banged up and searching for answers. You couldn't have drawn up a start much worse than this.

First quarter, 4:50, Lakers 21-14: Kobe hits an impossible 3
from the wing. He's now 5-for-6 from the field, 11 points. And he's
getting his teammates involved to boot. This is scary.

How soon is Doc Rivers going to get desperate and turn to Nate Robinson for a spark off the bench? Worked last time the Celtics played a Game 6, didn't it…?

First quarter, 5:30, Lakers 18-12: Perk hobbles off the floor
with the aid of Shelden Williams and Brian Scalabrine. He's headed for
the locker room — doesn't look like he's coming back anytime soon.

Welcome, Rasheed Wallace. You might have to stay a while.

First quarter, 5:30, Lakers 18-12: Bad news for the Celtics? Eight straight L.A. points. Even worse news? Kendrick Perkins goes down.

Perk gets tangled up with Andrew Bynum going for an offensive rebound; his right leg catches Bynum as he falls. Looks like either his knee or his ankle. One way or another, he's having trouble standing up.

The Celtics have worried all series long about losing Perk. They didn't think it would happen like this.

First quarter, 7:32, Celtics 12-10:
For the first time since Game 2, Ray Allen has hit a 3. Talk about being home on the road.

Back at the Garden, Ray missed 16 in a row; here in L.A., he's 1-for-1 from long range early, and 3-for-4 from the field overall.

If he keeps it going, that's a huge factor in the Celtics' favor in their quest for Banner 18.

First quarter, 9:17, Lakers 7-6:
Whenever Ron Artest puts up a 3 early in the shot clock and the Staples
Center doesn't boo him, it's a moral victory. When he actually makes
it? Even better.

Ron-Ron's feeling it early. That's a nice development for L.A.

The Lakers are moving the ball surprisingly well tonight — so far.

First quarter, 11:38, Celtics 2-0: Kobe Bryant misses a jumper
to start the game; Kevin Garnett gets inside and hits the first bucket
of the game. The C's are off to a good start.

Tonight might be the night that Kobe officially gives up on his
teammates. Over-under on FGAs for No. 24 — shall we say, what, 30?

If he wants to win, he's going to try to do it himself. Trust has gone out the window.

8:45 p.m.: What's the best part of being one win away from an
NBA title? For the Celtics, it's getting rid of all this technical foul
talk.

Kendrick
Perkins and Rasheed Wallace each have six techs in this postseason, one
away from the limit of seven for a suspension. But if the C's win now,
it's no longer an issue.

"We don't talk about it a lot," Celtics
coach Doc Rivers said before tonight's game. "They've been under that
for the last couple games. They only have one more game to go, and
that's this one. Whether we win or not will not matter as far as if
they get a tech in that one. This is the last one that they're under ‑‑
I don't know, what is that, a cloud? I don't even know what you call
that, but they're under it. This is the last game for it."

6:55 p.m.: In case you wanted any more motivation to get up for
this game, here goes. The Larry O'Brien Trophy is officially in the
building.

Courtesy of the NBA's official Twitter page, here you go.
Both the Celtics and Lakers have held this trophy up with pride in the
last two years — who wins it this year? Do the Celtics take care of
business with a 3-2 lead, or can the Lakers pull off the comeback?

Feast your eyes on the prize, everyone. Literally.

3:42 p.m.: Fast fact: The Celtics have won 17 titles in franchise history, but it's been 41 years since they won one in Los Angeles.

The
C's have clinched a championship on the Lakers' home floor three times
in their history, all during the Bill Russell era: 1963, 1968 and 1969.

The
Lakers have won a title in Boston only once: in 1985, when Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar led them to victory in Game 6 of the Finals at the old
Boston Garden.

2 p.m.: Here's a little discussion question to ponder this afternoon: Who's your pick for Finals MVP?

If
the Lakers come back and win these last two games, then no contest —
it's Kobe Bryant, hands down. But if the C's finish the job?

There's
been no clear-cut best player for the Celtics during these last five
games. Rajon Rondo has been strong, but only spectacular once (in Game
2). Paul Pierce has been a dominating scorer over some stretches, but
not others. Ray Allen was a world-beater in Game 2, but he's been MIA
since then. Kevin Garnett? Solid, yes. Consistent, sure. But MVP? I
dunno.

There's no clear-cut choice. Maybe it goes to Pierce
because he's been the captain and the team's leader all year. Maybe it
goes to Rondo to reward his postseason coming-out party. Maybe it just
goes to whichever Celtic steps up in the clinching win.

Maybe it
goes to Kobe anyway, even if the Lakers lose. Jerry West won a Finals
MVP back in '69, even though his Lakers lost in seven to Boston. Could
happen again.

The only thing for certain is uncertainty. And that sure makes for good debate. So fire away!

9:12 a.m.: The NBA Finals are headed back to Los Angeles. The
Celtics have a chance to close things out. The Lakers have a chance to
fight back, win Game 6 on their home floor and force a winner-take-all
Game 7 for all the NBA marbles.

The Lakers have their backs up against the wall, but they're not backing down.

When
asked how confident he was heading home, Laker captain Kobe Bryant
laughed, offered a sarcastic "I'm not very confident at all," and
shrugged the question off.

Maybe he still believes in his team.
But with one more win, the Celtics can silence them and end these
Finals in six games. Here's their chance.

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