As Kendrick Perkins went down on a Kobe foul it was still in the 5 minute mark on the first quarter and the Lakers lead was still manageable with 18-12 on the scoreboard but as soon as the Celtics saw their starting center sprawling in the floor their hopes went down with him. There was no defense, there were more individual plays, and they were outrebounded and outhustled as the lead ballooned to 20 in halftime then went up as high as 27 in the second half as the Lakers leveled the series 3-3 in a do or die game this Thursday. It must have been Kobe’s one hour pep talk after game 5 that transpired into an 89-67 trashing with Pau Gasol one assist away from an unprecedented triple double and Ron Artest’s scoring 15 points hitting 3 out of his 6 shot attempts in the three point area. One game, one game… that was Paul Pierce’s outcry after their game 5 victory but now the Lakers share Pierce’s shout out as they prepare for the ultimate battle this Thursday. Kobe knows what is at stake, 5 championship rings that could get him even with Magic’s 5 and one championship away from tying with his airness Michael Jordan but somehow deeper in Kobe’s emotions this is all about retribution…This is all about resiliency as a team, this is all about opportunity of leveling their humiliation loss in 2008 and this is all about giving your all and game 6 was a demonstration of how the Lakers is such a dangerous team if the right buttons are push. Their defense was great and their rebounds were even better. They dive lose balls and they don’t backup if someone comes too physical to them, they just fight back and fight harder.
The Celtics also know what is at stake. This is their last championship run as a team with an aging roster and a number of free agents in the team. This is make or break for them and Pierce, Rondo, KG and Allen will do everything to be champions again… to put that 18th banner on the Garden with 3 championships ahead on their storied rivalry with the Lakers. They are a confident team knowing both franchises meet four times in game 7 finals and four times they came out as champions.
The Lakers will be bringing the same intensity and the same battle cry this Thursday there are no other opportunities left… everything is decided in one final game, one final push and one final battle and with one big body down on the Celtics roster the opportunity becomes even bigger.
Thursday is a mark day… the day Kobe and the Lakers will find redemption then hopefully it’s also the day they start moving on… 2008 belongs in the past 2010 they settled the score.