After Boston beat the Lakers in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead, the Lakers faced an elimination game for the first time in the postseason. Luckily, the next two games will be played in Los Angeles, on the Staples Center floor. So far the Lakers have only lost one home game, and they hope it will stay that way. This team has to win two games in a row in order to defend their title; the Lakers looked ready and so did the fans.
Just as expected, the Laker crowd was loud and ready to battle. With their fans behind them, the Lakers came out with energy and effort. They seemed to have that “step”; the Lakers got to loose balls and stepped up on the defensive end. Kobe and Fish both had early steals, while ‘Drew and Pau blocked multiple shots. The Celtics were matching the Lakers’ intensity for a few minutes, but then the momentum began to shift. The Lakers went on an 8-0 run and led 18-12, with 5:30 left in the first. As devilish as it sounds, the departure of Kendrick Perkins greatly helped the Lakers. Once Perkins suffered his injury, the Lakers sustained their surge and kept on pouring it from the field. In the previous games, Ron Artest was a non-factor for the Lakers, but in Game 6 Ron started on fire. He hit three after three and made many big plays. The Lakers opened a 26-18 lead on a 16-8 run with 1:48 left. The opening quarter ended with the Lakers leading 28-18, after they went on an 18-8 run. They played great defense and feed off the crowd’s energy. The Lakers held the Celtics to 40% shooting, while they shot 60%. Instead of a Kobe-centered offense, the Lakers played as a unit. Ron Artest had 8 points on 2/3 shooting and Kobe had 11 points on 5/8 shooting.
To open up the second quarter, several bench players were inserted in to play with the starters. In the previous games, the Lakers slipped during this stretch and often gave up leads. However, this game was different, much different. The Lakers kept on battling and expanded their lead. Their defensive pressure made their offense easier, and four minutes into the second quarter the Lakers led 36-23. At that point Kobe was subbed out of the game, and the only way the Lakers would go into halftime with a cushion would be if they played with the same type of urgency. And the Lakers did just that. Jordan Farmar made an acrobatic move to the basket, Pau had a put back and the Lakers expanded their lead to 40-23 with 6:58 in the second. The Laker’ bench continued to play great, as they were out-scoring Boston’s bench 13-0. Farmar was the catalyst to the Lakers great play and was the source of all the energy and effort. His tipped pass turned into a fast break facial on Kevin Garnett, a lock for the “Top Ten.” The first half concluded with the Lakers leading 51-31. Starting at the mid way point of the first quarter to the end of the half, the Lakers went on a 41-19 run. The Lakers were playing great defense and were winning all the hustle points. This type of team is essentially unstoppable; they were looking like the old Laker squad. On the defensive end, the Lakers held the Celtics to 34% shooting, while on the offensive end, the Lakers had two players in double-digits.
The Lakers opened the second half with the same type of energy and effort they played with in the first half. They were out-hustling the Celtics and were playing flat-out better basketball. Seven minutes into the half the Lakers led 62-42, thanks to an amazing alley-hoop dunk by Shannon Brown. The bench was stepping up big for the Lakers, and the 20+ lead was no surprise. The third quarter in Game 5 and the third quarter in Game 6 were completely different. In the first game Kobe was carrying the Lakers on the offensive end and the Lakers were hardly playing any defense. While in Game 6, the Lakers were playing as a team on the offensive end, and were playing exceptional defensive on the Celtics. The third period ended with the Lakers leading by 25, 76-51. The Laker bench had a combined total of 24 points while the Celtics bench had 0. Kobe had 20 points, Ron had 15 points, and Pau had 13 points with 9 boards and 8 assists.
The Lakers entered the fourth quarter with an astonishing 25 point lead, as they absolutely dominated the first three quarters. The Lakers continued to keep their foot on the gas pedal, and at one point they led by 28 points. They played great and now we know how this team can play with everything on the line. Boston tried to get the score to reasonable margin, but the Lakers never lost their energy or effort. They played a full 48 minutes and looked nearly unstoppable. Game 6 of the NBA Finals ended with the Lakers dominating the Celtics by 22, 89-67. The Lakers leading scorer was Kobe Bryant, with 26 points. However, there were two other players with 15+ points; the bench also came up big, as the scored 25 points. The Lakers played great defense and were committed on that end of the floor, Boston was held to only 67 points and shot 33% from the field. The Lakers have forced a Game 7, most importantly a Game 7 in LA. On Thursday night, the Lakers will try to win their second consecutive title and Kobe will try to beat Boston for the first time.
The Lakers played absolutely great in Game 6 of the Finals. They worked as a team on the offensive end, but most importantly, the played excellent on the defensive end. The Lakers held the Celtics to only 67 points and 33% shooting. All the hustle points and 50/50 balls went to the Lakers, they out-hustled the Celtics. The bench was also very good for the Lakers, as they scored 25 points. The reason why the Lakers won Game 6 was because they played as a team and everyone stepped up. Pau had a near triple double, Ron finally had a good game, the bench played well and the Lakers played great defense. Now the Lakers must win one more game to clinch their second title. It will be on their home court, and they must play with the same effort and intensity. If the Lakers play like they played today, there will be a parade in downtown LA.