Lakers, Celtics prep for Game 7; LeBron, D-Wade sweepstakes get weird

By: 06.17.10  •  57 Comments

Kobe Bryant (photo. Nike)

So it’s all come down to this. Game 7, championship on the line, (arguably) the best individual player in the NBA right now against (arguably) the best cohesive team unit. Of course, if the Lakers play tonight like they played in Game 6, it won’t have to be Kobe vs. Boston, and it might not even be close … Making things tougher for the Celtics is not having Kendrick Perkins. Going into the Finals we figured Perk would miss at least one game with that technical foul situation hanging over his head, but not like this, having torn the MCL and PCL in his right knee. It’s a terrible way to have to miss the biggest game of your life … So this is where Rasheed Wallace has to earn his money. The Celtics got him for only one reason: to contribute to a championship. Overall ‘Sheed has been a bust, but now all he has to do is provide what they’re missing with Perk and he’ll erase all the crappy games and frustration he’s brought to Boston this season. Does he have it in him? The book on ‘Sheed has always been that he can be great “when he wants to.” Well, now it’s time to want to … On an obviously greater scale than ‘Sheed, though, a lot of Kobe’s legacy hangs in the balance here. If he wins, Kobe ties with Magic Johnson with five championships and (presumably) ties Kareem with two Finals MVPs. If he wins, Kobe jumps into the discussion as a Top-5 player of all-time. If he loses, Kobe is a three-time Finals loser and still can’t get the shadow of Shaq away from him … And ABC knows this, too. If you’re one of those people who just can’t stand to look at Kobe, you might want to follow this game online, because he’s going to be all over your screen. We’re seeing at least 5-10 of those uncomfortably extreme close-ups on Kobe where you can count the hairs between his eyebrows … Don’t count out the implications at stake for Paul Pierce, either. Legends aren’t made in Boston with one championship. You need multiple rings. As the one Celtics lifer among the Big Three and the guy whose name is all over the team’s record books, Pierce needs this title to cement his place among the franchise’s all-time greatsRajon Rondo will be playing with 17 stitches in his chin after getting busted open by a Ron Artest elbow. Rondo’s hesitation and ineffectiveness on offense in Game 6 pretty much summed up the Celtics as a whole that night. Even if he’s not hitting shots in Game 7, Rondo at least has to be aggressive and ready to attack L.A.’s defense to give Boston a shot at winning … Who do you think is the X-factor for both teams tonight? Obviously Kobe and Rondo have to play well, but who is that guy on either side who can tip the balance with his play? Lamar Odom? Derek Fisher? Ray Allen? KG? Adam Morrison? … You gotta give Miami one thing: They’re pulling out all the stops trying to make sure Dwyane Wade stays with the Heat this summer. Legislators in Miami-Dade County voted unanimously this week to change the name to “Miami-Wade County” from July 1 through July 7, the same week when teams can start wooing free agents … And if that wasn’t dumb enough, there’s this: The Knicks are enlisting the likes of Chris Rock, Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg, Phil Simms, John McEnroe and Donald Trump to help bring LeBron to New York. A team spokesman called it “a committee of friends of the Knicks who are many of the city’s most successful winners and leaders, who have thrived in the world’s greatest city.” Was that same group all “friends of the Knicks” when the team stunk? We’ve been to a lot of Knicks games over the years and can’t remember seeing Trump or Nat X there too many times. Whoopi might have been talked into taking the Cavs coaching job by July 1 (since it seems no one else wants it). And the Knicks had better hope the Celtics win tonight, because Spike may not be able to make the LeBron sales pitch if he’s busy driving one of the Lakers championship parade buses … We’re out like A-Mo seeing the court tonight …

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