The NBA championship is back with its traditional holder - the Boston Celtics.
Boston placed five players in double figures, led by a game-high 26 points from both Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, in routing the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday evening in Beantown, 131-92. Finals MVP Paul Pierce added 17 points. You could say that the Big 3 had a little help from their friends.
Rajon Rondo (21 points, six steals) and James Posey (11 points), who also both scored in double figures, and a cast of others, clearly outplayed the Lakers on this late spring evening in Boston.
This was no fluke or what could have been for the Lakers. They were clearly outplayed for most of the Finals and by one factor - defense. Although Boston scored 131 points on this night, it was the defensive play of the Celtics that was the difference.
As great a player as Kobe Bryant is, his supporting cast left him out to dry for most of the Finals. There is no doubt Bryant is the best player in the NBA at this time, but his teammates were virtually non-existent for much of this series.
Although the Lakers figure to be back in the hunt next season, and although salaries and free agency will play a major role with this team, management needs to do some house cleaning. We believe that moving Vlad Radmanovic, Luke Walton and Ronny Turiaf would be a good start. The Lakers bench in this series was clearly a major disappointment.
Secondly, Lamar Odom needs to amp up his game if he wants to keep playing with Bryant. Odom, except for flashes of good play here and there, was also non-existent in this series. The same could be said for Pau Gasol.
In the end, the better team clearly won, but Lakers fan can only wonder what the series would had been like if Bryant would have had a little help from his friends.