Friday, June 18th, 2010 at 12:18 pm  |  35 responses

Links: Some Game 7 Thoughts…

Say Queensbridge!

by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

A couple of quick thoughts about Game 7…

• Pau Gasol came out smoking — not literally — and had 5 rebounds (4 offensive) in the first three minutes of the game, and I thought that really set the tone for L.A. The Lakers had a huge rebounding advantage early and ended up with a 53-40 edge on the boards, and they just felt like the more energized team all night. So the team that had more rebounds won each of the seven games in the series. And while Kobe finished with 15 boards, Pau finished Game 7 with 19 boards and 18 rebounds, and he officially exorcised that 11 point/5 turnover performance from Game 6 in 2008. There has always been talk about Gasol being “soft,” and even Kobe felt the need, unprompted, to say that Pau isn’t soft on the NBA TV postgame coverage. But who cares? If a guy can give me 19 and 18, call him whatever you want. I’ll take him on my team any day.

kobechamps• I saw a lot of people say that if the Celtics had to lose one of their starters, Perkins was possibly their most expendable. But from the time Perk went down in Game 6 through the end of the series, the Lakers outscored Boston 154-134 and outrebounded Boston 98-76. That’s not all Perkins’ presence, but it played a huge part.

• After interjecting themselves throughout the series, the refs finally were more or less a non-factor. They called a total of 46 fouls, which tied for second-fewest in these Finals (with Game 4). (The fewest in these Finals was 38 in the Game 6 blowout.) The refs let both teams play early, let the game get a little physical, clamped down when Pierce and Ron Ron got tangled up, and then called obvious shooting fouls down the stretch. Actually, they called it like a regular season game. It is always said that the best refs are the ones you don’t talk about after the game. Last night, this held true.

• What was awesome was that as bad as Kobe looked offensively for long portions of the game — turning the ball over, forcing shots over double-teams, over-dribbling and giving Boston time to catch up defensively; Kobe finished with just two more field goals than turnovers — in the fourth quarter he simply made plays. After beginning the quarter with a turnover and a foul, Kobe drew those three free throws when Ray Allen played him too close, he drilled that fade-away with about 5 minutes to go, he drove the ball hard into Rasheed to foul him out and go to the line, and he grabbed four straight rebounds just under six minutes.

• Doc Rivers did a heckuva job all season managing the Celtics, keeping them healthy and making the most of a bench that included a couple of guys (Nate Robinson, Shelden Williams) who couldn’t even get playing time on bad teams. And he also has managed to get all his best players to buy into whatever it was he was selling. But why didn’t Boston make more of an effort, particularly in the fourth quarter, to get Paul Pierce going. He went 1-5 in the fourth quarter and finished 5-15 for the game, so Pierce — like everyone else on the floor, actually — wasn’t his best. But it seemed like Boston was spending a lot of time running an ice-cold Ray Allen off screens instead of posting Pierce on the free throw line extended where he goes to work a lot.

• Kobe is now tied with Magic Johnson with 5 NBA titles. He’s 31 years old, the same age Magic was when he retired the first time. He’s obsessed with winning, and he’s probably got at least 3-4 more years playing at the level he’s playing at now. And Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Artest and Odom are all signed at least through 2013. So it’s not unrealistic to think Kobe will get at least one more ring, and maybe two or three more. If he’s not already considered the Greatest Laker of All-Time by the majority of hoops fans, he will be in a year or so.

• Ron Artest was simply bad ass. He played 46 minutes, scored 20 points on 7-18 shooting, and he was probably the reason Boston didn’t bother going to Paul Pierce down the stretch. Describing his play throughout the Finals as uneven is probably a little generous — I still love Phil Jackson describing Artest dribbling out the clock in Game 2 when the Lakers desperately needed a basket as “one of the more unusual sequences I’ve ever witnessed.” But he played about the best he could have played last night, including nailing a 3 with a minute to go to put L.A. up 6.

And then after the game he gifted us with this:

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  • http://slamonline.com Tzvi Twersky
  • G I I

    let’s go to the club. lakeshow repeat!

  • http://slamonline.com Tzvi Twersky

    Ron is one of my heroes. Wish that Indy team won.

  • Khalid Salaam

    The Rottweiler..

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    That may be the greatest, most heartfelt press conference of all time.

  • ujangapri

    Wait, what? “Pau finished Game 7 with 19 boards and 18 rebounds” (first paragraph)

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/features/overdribbling chiqo

    kobe with 15 boards. and admitting that not only was he being a d*ck to the media for the last two weeks, but he was lying about certain things. for all of the good things he does on the court, he does things like that to make people dislike him.

  • Bruno


  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I love when Artest says he just had some champagne and y’all messing up his buzz! Dude is hilarious. You guys are doing a story on him in your post-Championship issue, right?

  • http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:OzhW3M1GBSKkgM:http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    Read a tweet from Chris Ballard that a Celtic said earlier “Some of these guys [Lakers] will crack” … didn’t happen.

  • jumpman3224

    I thought Rivers post game comment about the C’s have yet to defend their title due to KG and Perk injuries was BS. That’s part of the game. The Lakers were missing Ariza and Bynum in 2008 and they didnt make excuses they just got healthy and got better. Also, good point about the refs. Some C fans were complaining about them, but they called a good game. Even the play were people though Gasol traveled, his shot got blocked up top which pushed him back down. In that situation, I believe you can gather (may be wrong). Looks like the Ron-Ron signing worked out afterall, just ask Paul Pierce.

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty

    When David Stern announced your 2010 NBA champion as “Kobe Bryant & and the Los Angeles Lakers”, Bill Russell threw up and lilttle bit in his mouth.

  • http://twitter.com/pdxgaybball dma

    DAMN hoopsworld got the 2nd question?

  • underdog

    Call me infantile, but the reason why I’ve loved this game 7 is because every player on both team played for team succes and glory. Nobody played for a contract or for a shoe deal or for any individual achievement. It was pure, chemical-clean basketball, and as a fan of the game I simply loved it for what it was. Anyway it was the most european styled NBA game I’ve ever seen.

  • http://freeones.com jbn74sb

    Artest’s press conference was the greatest 10 minutes in television history.

  • http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:OzhW3M1GBSKkgM:http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    @underdog Not infantile at all, this was a TEAM effort, a Kobe Bryant led team won with a TEAM game, with heart, and character, and will, and determination, and team chemistry, all the things that never get ascribed to the Lakers (usually it just the “talented Lakers”). Team – isn’t that what it’s all about?

  • Maurice Bobb

    Ron Artest’s redemption. Gotta love it!

  • http://slamonline.com Chris O’Leary

    Totally agree on the reffing. There’s always gonna be things you can nitpick about, but overall I thought it was as close to a perfectly reffed Game 7 as you’ll see. I’ve seen three G7′s in my basketball watching life (94 Houston-NYK and Pistons-Spurs in 05) and this was by far the best one to me.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    Remember Artest said to put all the blame on him if they didn’t win the FINALS? Damn, he sure made it work.

  • SMH

    3 words.. “Gasol’s left foot”

    this is bullsh!t

  • Exiled Zebra

    I love my man JOEY C! He did a great job helping the right team win without it being obvious. A couple no call and ones for the wrong team, a couple make believe and ones for the right team. Buying gasols flops as he cut through the lane. Letting them play tough, physical ball the first 3 quarters, then calling weak fouls on the wrong team early in the fourth to get them in the penalty. Thats why they put him in there for the big games. Ask brent barry about 2008, lol.

  • Exiled Zebra

    It would be ignorant not to give much credit to Jerry West, Chris Wallace, and David Stern for the Gasol gift. What have The Lakers done since he got there? What is Kwame Brown up to these days?

  • http://www.slamonline.com South Africa ’10

    Kobe has saved his team so many times. Tonight the team saved Kobe.

  • Danny

    Can’t believe what a free pass KG has gotten in the press (You didn’t even mention him, Lang). Supposed to be one of the greatest power forwards ever and is one of the leading career rebounders ever but with Perkins out, he pulls down 3 boards? 3? While Gasol gets 18? KG just dropped a couple of rungs in my book.

  • thalilbigkahuna

    Pau had 19 boards and 18 rebounds?

  • Ronald

    @Danny: I agree with you exactly. People had the gall to call Pau soft after game 5. Despite playing one bad game. And KG on the other hand showed that right now he’s all show but no substance and he’s a choker (game1) and soft (throughout the series)

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Best. Press conference. Ever.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Manute Bol just past away …

  • Lan

    Referee involvement is part of the game even if it influences the game a lot. Have to live with it I say. Because of it, the winner doesn’t matter to me anymore.

    I’ll watch the NBA because I love the game ANNDDDD way better than watching Euroleague.

    Still a Great series!

  • Celts Fan

    @Underdog – what game did you watch bro? Kobe came out trying to win it by himself and almost cost them a ring. Were it not for Gasol and Artest, we’d be talking about how Kobe blew it with his gunning in the 1st half

    Lang – Kobe is NOT the greatest Laker ever. he’s not even close to Magic yet. Magic won 5 chips, 4 as THE MAN. 3 of Kobe’s 5 are as a (admittedly great) sidekick. You don’t honestly think he coulda been the best player on a title team as a 22-24 year old, do you? GTFOH. Magic was the best PG ever and played other positions. His game as a center when Kareem was out to get his first ring is probably the greatest game ever (when you consider everything involved and what was at stake.) Kobe may be able to get htere, but he needs at least 2 more rings to get there to me (I got Magic as the 2nd best player ever btw.) To me, all this does is pull Kobe even w/ Duncan and Bird in the top 7-9 ever range. Give it time, but right now, no way in hell he’s better than Magic. I’d love to get some of what you’re smoking.

    @Danny – KG’s getting old man. It ain’t like he’s still 28. and I got Pau as the best big man in the league so, regardless of the Gasoft stuff, dude’s a handful to guard and rebound around when you’re older (sorry Dwight, get a post move, you can replace a defensive big man MUCH easier than you can replace a Godly post scorer like Pau.) We all know that in his prime, KG woulda taken Pau’s lunch money like he did in 08. Then again, if all the Celtics were in their prime now, we’d've gone 98-0. What can you do.

    Good win Lakers fans. Refs didn’t have anything to do w/ it. Bad shooting, ball movement, and rebounding did…

  • http://slamonline.com JL

    i think magic would have been in jordan’s conversation to be best player ever if he didn’t have to retire early. actually his stat line looks a lot like steve nash’s (although they are very different players) except his 3pt shot is not as good and nash doesn’t rebound as much.

  • Thedon

    6 words.. “Gasol’s Left Foot Touched The Ground”

  • Nate

    Two words… “Quit crying.”

  • The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    I’m sad the Cs lost, but I’m glad RonRon Won. One word: Bittersweet.

  • giogolo

    MAn , Ron is the Best..!!!