On June 17, 2010, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers were in the 2010 NBA Finals squaring off against their old friends from Boston once again. In a series that saw Celtics’ forward Paul Pierce say “we aren’t going back to LA,” the series found itself back in Los Angeles where it all started.
The Lakers once again trailed the Celtics after the first quarter 23-14 before cutting the deficit to six points at half time. Behind one of Kobe’s worst playoff games in his career, the Lakers somehow pulled away in the fourth quarter. Laker guard Sasha Vujacic stepped up to the free throw line with just 11 seconds left in the game and the Lakers only up two points. And just as he was known to do, Sasha buried both free throws to put the Lakers up four points.
After some arrant three-point attempts by the Celtics, Lamar Odom grabbed the final rebound and tossed the ball down the court where Kobe retrieved it and instantly held up his five fingers, signally that he had finally won his fifth NBA championship.
Kobe finished the game with a game-high 23 points to go along with 15 rebounds. The unsung hero of the game was often criticized Laker power forward Pau Gasol, who finished with 19 points and 18 rebounds. And who could forget Metta World Peace who hit the game clinching three-pointer? He finished with 20 points, five rebounds, and five steals.
The Lakers won the game 83-79 and the series 4-3 on the way to their 16th NBA championship and their second in two years.
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