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Lakers embarrass Celtics to force an elimination game seven

06/15/2010

The writing was on the wall for both teams as they entered the Staples Center in Los Angeles. For the Los Angeles Lakers, win and force a game seven at home. All the Boston Celtics had to do was win and they’re the NBA champions.

Kobe Bryant came out from the start in Black Mamba mode. Attacking the Celtics defense and setting the tone for his team. Bryant ended the game with 26 points on 9-19 shooting to go with 11 rebounds and the Lakers force a game seven with a 89-67 win.

This was not the same Laker team that played in Boston. Bryant was himself, only this time he didn’t take as many shots as in the previous games and his teammates helped him out. Pau Gasol had been outplayed by Kevin Garnett since game two bounced back for a double -double (17 points, 13 rebounds). Ron Artest was getting the same looks he got in Boston. He actually made them this time around (15 points).

It was the Celtics that looked confused and lethargic. They were beaten in every aspect of this game. Even worse, the Celtics lost center Kendrick Perkins to a knee injury in the first quarter.

This hurt Boston in the paint as they were out rebounded 52-39.

“Our defense was good, our rebounding was better,” coach Phil Jackson said.

The Lakers bench outplayed their Celtics counterparts for the first time in the series.

Now with a must win game seven for both teams, strategy is thrown out the door. It’s not a matter of will and heart for both teams. Whose the tougher team you could say.

“It’s not about coaching at that point it’s about executing and who comes out with the most energy,” Jackson said.

The Celtics need their bench now more than ever with Perkins availability questionable. Rasheed Wallace will need to stay out of foul trouble and away from the three-point line if the Celtics are to win. Ray Allen has to start knocking down some threes. He hasn’t hit a three-point shot since game two. Paul Pierce and Garnett will have to play like the stars they are if Boston is going to win on Thursday.

Los Angeles is now in the driver’s seat in the finals. Jackson said after game five that there right where they want to be and they showed it in game six. If they can duplicate their performance from tonite, there isn’t a reason won’t win the world championship.

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