As predicted here, the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Championship Thursday night, defeating the Boston Celtics in a low-scoring game, 91-87. They won by playing a gritty, grind-it-out game.
“This one is by far the sweetest, because it’s them,” Kobe 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.”
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. Will he try for a three-peat next season…if that is something he really wants, he’ll be back, otherwise look for the Zen Master to retire to spend more time with his family.
Following the game, Jackson spoke to the media, saying, “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.”
Bryant discussed his feelings during the game…the one he knew would cement his status as one of the all-time greats: “I was just lying to you guys…but you guys know what a student I am of the game. I know every series the Lakers have played in, and I know every Celtics series. I know every statistic. It meant the world to me, but I couldn’t focus on that. I had to focus on playing.”
And when Bryant was asked what the title means to him personally, he answered without self-censorship: “Just got one more than Shaq. You can take that to the bank. You know how I am. I don’t forget anything.”
Boston faces even more offseason uncertainty than the Lakers, with Ray Allen’s free agency and coach Doc Rivers’ decision atop the list.
“There’s a lot of crying in that locker room,” Rivers said. “A lot of people who care. I don’t think there was a dry eye. A lot of hugs, a lot of people feeling awful. That’s a good thing. Showed a lot of people cared.”
Congratulations to the Los Angeles Lakers…and to the Boston Celtics for a very entertaining NBA Finals this year.