2008 NBA Playoffs: NBA Finals, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics, Game 6
Information about game 6 of the L.A. Lakers vs. Boston Celtics series in the 2008 NBA Playoffs, with score, recap, pictures, stats, highlights, quotes and Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol performance.
2008 NBA Playoffs NBA Finals
GAME 6: L.A. Lakers 92 - Boston Celtics 131
A great season ended in the worst way possible.
June 17 - TD BANKNORTH GARDEN - BOSTON. --- The Celtics destroyed the Lakers 131-92 to win the series 4-2 and take their 17th NBA Championship after 22 years of drought.
It was an awful finish for a Lakers season that was incredible better than expected. When Kobe Bryant asked to be traded a year ago no one could have predicted that the Lakers would be the best team in a strong Western Conference, or that they would dethrone the Spurs to arrive to the Finals. But once there the expectations for this team were high and they couldn't live up to the hype, showing a serious lack of maturity that reached its lowest point in the final game, an embarrassing 39-point defeat that won't be easy to forget.
The reasons for such a lopsided loss were the same that dominated the whole series: with the Celtics basing their game in their excellent defense, the Lakers frontcourt (Odom and Gasol) wasn't able to get anything done, Kobe Bryant shot poorly, the other starters (Fisher and Radmanovic) never found consistency and the bench who was expected to be the key for the Lakers victory, was almost non-existent.
The Lakers trailed 32-29, with 7 minutes left in the second quarter, but after that their dream to become the only team to win the Finals after trailing 3-1 disappeared fast. By halftime the lead was as big as 58-35 and then it became an endless agony for the Lakers who went from trying to reduce the margin to trying to make it a decent loss, and then to keep it under 30 to finally not getting the worst loss in NBA Finals history. And that's the only thing they could get, getting just 3 points shy of the 42-point loss Utah suffered against Jordan and the Bulls in 1998.
Bryant, the regular season MVP, finished with 22 points on 7-of-22 shooting for the Lakers, Garnett had his best game of the series and ended with 26 points and 14 rebounds, Ray Allen scored 26 that included 7 of 9 three-pointers, and Paul Pierce who was the finals MVP added 17 as the Celtics, a 24-win team a year ago, got their first title since 1986. Rajon Rondo was everywhere and had 21 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 6 steals.
Paradoxically enough, the Celtics not only won their first title without Red Auerbach but denied Phil Jackson from overtaking him with a 10th championship.
At the end these Finals resembled more the Celtics dominance of the 60's than the Magic-Bird rivalry of the 80's but these young Lakers will try to learn from the experience and will come back stronger next year with Pau Gasol moved to his natural position of power forward and the addition of a true center like Andrew Bynum in the middle.
Phil Jackson (LAL Coach): "Kobe started off that game with a hot hand and then I think his legs, you could see his shot was flat, he didn't get his shot going, and it really changed the course of the game."... "We suffered injuries and survived a season and rebuilt our team and came back and had a great playoff run until the Celtics were able to extinguish that hope. But we'll look back on this favorably. We were surprised we were here, and we're glad that we had an opportunity, but whenever you get this opportunity, you don't want to let it slip away, and we did."
Kobe Bryant (Lakers): "Just upset more than anything, but I'm proud of the way that we performed all year. I'm proud of my guys. At the same time, understand that second place just means you're the first loser."... "I think if we're going to learn one thing from this series, we can't expect to win a championship by focusing on the offensive end, we have to be able to hold people down as well."
Paul Pierce (Celtics): “It means so much more because these are the guys, the Havliceks, the Bill Russells, the Cousys, these guys started what’s going on with those banners. They don’t hang up any other banners but championship ones. And now I’m a part of it.”
Kevin Garnett (Celtics): .“This is the reason we (with Ray Allen) came here, this is the reason we got together, and Danny (Ainge) made it go down."