Who Will Walk Away As NBA Champions?

AP

The Lakers and Celtics will meet in a decisive seventh game tonight in Los Angeles. After returning home down 3-2 in the series, the Lakers responded with a big-time effort against the Celtics in Game 6. LA’s 22-point win was the largest margin of victory during the Finals.

Kobe Bryant managed 26 points and 11 rebounds in the win, but more importantly received much-needed help from his team mates. Pau Gasol had a double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Ron Artest, the only key player in this series who does not have a championship ring, added 15 points of his own while playing great defense against Paul Pierce.

The most telling stat of the came didn’t involve any key players though. For the first three quarters, the Laker bench out-scored the Celtic bench, 24-0. That bench may be a little thin in Game 7.

Boston starting center, Kendrick Perkins is out for Game 7 after suffering a severe knee sprain early in Game 6. The Celtics will need a strong effort out of both Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis in order to win. The duo went 0 for 10 from the field in Game 6.

Rebounding has been the key victory in this series. The team who has hauled in more rebounds has won each of these games. Without Kendrick Perkins occupying the middle in Game 7, expect the Lakers to have more success inside with Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and a limited Andrew Bynum. That inside advantage coupled with the ferocity of Kobe Bryant, will propel the Lakers to a Game 7 victory.

The Pick: Los Angeles Lakers

June Record: 6-10

**A Laker win would give Phil Jackson his record 11th championship as a head coach.

**Kobe Bryant would win his 5th NBA Championship, 2nd title without Shaq, and push the Boston monkey off of his back.

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