Why the Lakers won: Kobe Bryant. In a close-out game it’s all about how your star performs, and Kobe came through when it mattered with his best overall game of the series. He set the tone by sparking a run late in the first half, then carried it on through the third quarter when L.A. grabbed the lead, and through the fourth quarter when they held off the Spurs and got the win. Scoring, passing and defensively, he was the best player on the floor.
Why the Spurs lost: Inability to close. It seems so uncharacteristic for a core group (Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Popovich) that’s won three championships over the past six years, but the Spurs couldn’t finish the Lakers when they had them against the ropes. They led by 17 in the first half and the Lakers had no energy, and yet they allowed them to crawl back into the game and eventually take it over.
Key numbers: Kobe Bryant (39 pts); Pau Gasol (12 pts, 19 rebs, 4 blks), Tim Duncan (19 pts, 15 rebs, 10 asts); Tony Parker (23 pts).