NBA Finals 2010: Role Players Will Be the Difference in Legendary Game Seven

When my 14-year old sister and I head to the hamburger Hall of Fame that is In N' Out, she always orders her same, standard selection: a cheeseburger, merely with meat, cheese and a dab of ketchup. No crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes, grilled onions or best of all, the "heaven in your mouth" spread.

Her burger of choice is like Kim Kardashian without makeup.

Along the same lines, when the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics conclude the NBA Finals war in tonight's do-or-die Game Seven, the difference between L.A.'s 16th title and Boston's record-18th banner will not be the "burgers," but rather the "toppings."

Among the "burgers" are the Black Mamba, who is bound to strike as only Kobe Bryant can, and Pau Gasol, who will surely put everything on the line in order to shed his "soft" sticker for good. Conversely, Paul Pierce will likely inner his 2008 Finals MVP approach; Kevin Garnett is all but assuredly going to be the defensively-menacing, emotionally-strung soldier that he has been; and Ray Allen will presumably pick up where he left off after averaging 21 points in the series' previous three games at Staples Center.

In other words, the stars will be stars. Between them are eight NBA championships, 16 Finals appearances, and more salivation at their mouths than a dog who has been teased with a prime-rib steak for over an hour.

They understand the magnitude of this game. They recognize the situation and its subsequent stakes. They know what it would mean to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy, just as they know what it would mean to bethink their burning feelings of an opportunity lost, a best-selling book left unfinished.

But for all the proverbial food they will bring to the table, Game Seven will come down to each team's supporting casts, which will inevitably need to supply the plates, cups and silverware in order to enjoy the meal.

For the Lakers, Derek Fisher, Lamar Odom, and Ron Ar...

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