Celtics vs. Lakers 2010: Lakers Display Championship Heart

It sure wasn’t pretty, but championships are earned more through sweat and willpower than anything aesthetic. When everything was said and done, the Los Angeles Lakers emerged from the Boston Celtics’ defensive furnace as champions, grinding out an 83-79 victory in the decisive seventh game of the series.

How the Lakers won was a surprise, coming back from a 13-point second half deficit to silence many of the conventional criticisms heaped on the Lakers.

The Lakers won with defense. Despite their offensive firepower, and despite their penchant of losing focus far too often, the Lakers were exceptional defensively throughout the season, especially in Game Seven.

The Lakers continued their tactics of sagging off of Rajon Rondo and essentially playing five-on-four vs. the Celtics. This neutralized most of Boston’s screen/rolls, plus the various curls for Ray Allen. Even when Rondo didn’t have the ball, Kobe Bryant simply sagged into passing lanes, disrupting Boston’s offensive rhythm.

When the Celtics did gain an edge, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Kobe Bryant provided outstanding help defense plugging up the paint, and doing so without committing fouls.

And in the second half, Boston’s go-to play was a simple wing isolation for Paul Pierce. Ron Artest dominated that matchup, forcing Pierce into shooting 1-7 with an assist, and three turnovers in the second half, with the made shot being a three-pointer on a broken play.

The Lakers suffocated the Celtics on defense, which gave them time until their offense could come around.

The Lakers did not play soft. Not only did the Lakers play alert, physical defense, but they demolished the Celtics on the glass, grabbing a monstrous 23 (23!) offensive rebounds. With their tsunami of second shot attempts, the Lakers were able to hang close until the end.

The Lakers won despite a nightmarish game from Kobe Bryant. Throughout t...

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