Coming into Tuesday night’s game, the Boston Celtics were 11-0 when up 3-2 in the NBA Finals. But Kobe and Co. weren’t ready to give up the ghost just yet. They smoked the Celtics 89-67 to force a championship deciding Game 7. The showdown will be
at the flag pole after school Thursday night at the Staples Center. The game will be the first time Phil Jackson has coached a Game 7 in the NBA Finals. That’s not really surprising. You should never lose when you have Steve Kerr and Toni Kukoc on the same team. The zen master spoke about how his team dominated Game 6, and what to expect in Game 7.
“Our defense was good, our rebounding was better,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.
“It’s really a high-tension situation,” added Jackson, a 10-time champion who has never coached a Game 7 in the Finals. “Players have come down to putting a lot on the line at this particular point. It’s not about the coaching at that point. They’ve already got it in them. It’s about who comes out and provides the energy on the floor.” –ESPN
Ron Artest was a big part of that defensive pressure, probably because he was wasted by halftime. Whatever he did was working, as he regained the form that he lost while playing in Boston. He scored 15 points and pulled in 6 rebounds, but did his best work on defense. The Lakers were +26 when he was in the game.
The rebounding advantage has determined the winner in every game this series, and last night was no different. The Lakers won the battle for the boards 52-39. Kobe Bryant had 11 of those rebounds, along with a ho-hum 26 points and 4 steals.
“I was very happy,” Bryant said after the defending champions stretched the Finals to the limit for the first time since 2005. “We did a great job defensively. We kept them out of the middle, kept them out of the paint, did a good job on the boards. It was a solid effort by us.”
That battle for the paint was much easier to win when grown-ass man Kendrick Perkins went down with a sprained knee 6 minutes into the game. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI today, and is questionable for the Game 7 battle royal.
Ol’ Man Doc Rivers spoke about the affect Perkins’ absence had on the Celtics.
Asked how the team would be affected if Perkins can’t go, Rivers said, “He’s one of our guys that I think gives us great spirit, gives us a lot of toughness and gives us size. You know, I hope he can play. It would be tough if he can’t. Somebody else is just going to have to step forward.” –SportingNews
The injury also allowed the Lakers to sit oft-injured center Andrew Bynum for the majority of Game 6. They’re hoping to get at least 20 minutes of playing time out of him before he takes himself out in Game 7.
The Lakers also were without their starting center, as the balky right knee of Andrew Bynum acted up again in Game 6, forcing Bynum to go to Lakers coach Phil Jackson and request to be taken out. Bynum said he hopes to play in Game 7.
Jackson said, “He wasn’t able to move very fluidly the second half. He had some tightness in the back of his leg. He just said, ‘You’ve got to take me out. I can’t run.’ And it was obvious at that point that he couldn’t. He had some swelling in the back of his leg, and we’ll have to work on that and see if they can’t ice it down and control that.” –SportingNews
When asked if he was excited for a Game 7, Michael Esiner dove into his Scrooge McDuck-like pool of money, while humping his Hannah Montana lunchbox claiming it “had been o so naughty.”