2010 NBA Champions: Ron Artest Leads Charge, Lakers defeat Celtics To Win Title

The first half of Game 7 of the NBA Finals was hard to watch. The Los Angeles Lakers missed more than 30 shots and shot 26 percent, but climbed within striking distance of the Boston Celtics because of their incredible offensive rebounding. It was hideous basketball.

It wasn’t just that shots clanged constantly. Fundamentally, both teams struggled. Turnovers were committed and poor offensive sets were run. But the defense was incredible. That’s what made the first 24 minutes exciting. It was a brutal battle between the NBA’s best. A battle that would continue to be fought right down to the finish.

Lakers star Kobe Bryant epically struggled in the first two quarters, and would in the final two as well. But, he found a way to impact the game in spite of his offensive woes. He snatched rebounds and played excellent defense. His intensity spread throughout the Staples Center, throughout his team.

The energy the fans and his team possessed incomparable. This was a Game 7 atmosphere. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t shoot or that his teammates and the Celtics followed suit. This was for all the marbles.

Every point was crucial. The Celtics, after leading throughout the first quarter by a respectable margin, took a 13-point lead, 49-36, with a little less than nine minutes left in the third quarter after watching their previous advantage disappear. This gap would close as well.

They started to miss at the rate the Lakers did in the first half, failing to execute inside many times, while Los Angeles’s shots suddenly began to fall with regularity. Missed opportunities to expand their advantage led to a few baskets by Bryant, and a few more by the quartet of Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, and Lamar Odom.

Artest was particularly valuable to the Lakers cause. Not only did he shut down whomever he was defending, he hit plenty of big shots, especially late. The Lake...

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