The Boston Celtics will be charging full steam ahead in Game 7 but at Staples Center the Lakers have derailed everybody who was on their tracks. (Photo by Jeff Lewis)
Game 7 tonight against the Boston Celtics for everything
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
Beating the Orlando Magic for the NBA championship a second consecutive year would have been great, but historically it would have just been a footnote, just like last year. Â Kobe Bryant out dueling LeBron James would have been one for the ages, but it would not have been one of the great moments in Lakers lore.
But Boston… the Boston Celtics… oh, there’s blood in those waters. Â Blood from Jerry West, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Elgin Baylor, Red Auerbach, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Robert Parish, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin McHale, James Worthy, Dennis Johnson, Pat Riley, and more recently Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, Pau Gasol, Kevin Garnett, Derek Fisher, Ray Allen, Lamar Odom, Rajon Rondo, Phil Jackson, and Doc Rivers.
Defeating the Celtics in Game 7 for the NBA title will make these Lakers legends. Â They will join the club. Â The same club with the Showtime Lakers as Lakers teams that took it to the hated Celtics and came home with the title. Â That is what every Lakers fan wants to see, and deep down that is what every Lakers player wants.
Oh, but it won’t be easy. Â Do not let Game 6 of the NBA Finals fool you. Â Blasting the Celtics was fun to watch, but Game 7 against Boston, the ball tends to take funny bounces. Â There is a reason why the Celtics are 9-2 against the Lakers in the title series.
But what Lakers fan would have it any other way? Â It’s total triumph or total disaster. Â The greatness is worth it. Â Hearing Lakers fans chant “Boston Sucks” in the final moments of Game 6 was as sweet as it gets. Â But watching the Celtics walk off the Staple Center floor, with their heads bloodied and bowed after a Game 7 defeat will be one of the greatest moments in Lakers history.
The Lakers are going to have to dig deep to see their dreams come true. Â This Celtics team has grit. Â They find a way. They have already defeated the Cleveland Cavilers and the Orlando Magic, who had the two best records in the NBA this season. Â And the Celtics did it without home court advantage in both of those series. Â The Celtics have already won a Staple Center. Â Winning again will just be business as usual for them.
History is partially on the Lakers side. Â Historically home teams have not lost Game 7s. Â But that did not help the 1969 Lakers, who lost Game 7 at the Forum in Inglewood to the Celtics. Â Another strike against the Lakers is that they have never beaten the Celtics in a Game 7. Â Boston is 4-0 in Game 7s verse the Lakers, winning in 1962, 1966, 1969, and 1984.
This Lakers team will have to exorcise some demons to get this win. Â This series is not only for this year’s NBA title, but it is pretty much for last year’s NBA title as well. Â If the Celtics pull it out they will say that if Garnett did not get hurt last season that they would have won that title too. Â There would not be much of an argument against that.
If the Lakers win they can go on and say that even if Garnett had played in the playoffs last year that they still would have won the title.
Out of all the numbers and stats that are being kicked around, the most important is total titles. Â A Lakers win will give them 16 titles, one behind the Celtics. Â But a Celtics win will give them 18 titles, and put them three ahead of the Lakers.
There is so much history involved in this series. Â Involved in this one game. Â There is no way that there could have been this type of passion or emotion if the Lakers were matched up against the Cavs or the Magic. Â It’s all about beating Boston. Â It’s all about sticking it to that team that has stuck it to the Lakers many times over. Â Ultimate triumph or ultimate disaster. Â Lakers players and fans would not have it any other way.