Tuesday, June 15, 2010

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Lakers make it one for all

They dominate Celtics from the start and force Game 7 with an 89-67 victory.

The Larry O'Brien trophy was in the building, as was Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, along with boxes and boxes of T-shirts and hats designating the Celtics as the 2010 NBA champions.

None of them became part of the postgame program.

The Lakers made sure of it, clearly and convincingly, thumping the Celtics, 89-67, and forcing a Game 7, in case it wasn't clear by the time Russell headed for the exit with three minutes left Tuesday at Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant was solid, Pau Gasol was borderline spectacular and there was no way to ignore a resurgent effort from the Lakers' reserves, who were outscoring Boston's backups at one point, 24-0.

So much for the franchise's recent Game 6 wobbles against the Celtics, the Lakers moving past their 39-point loss to them two years ago in a humbling part of their playoff history.

Game 7 is definitely necessary. It'll be Thursday night at Staples Center. Home teams are 13-3 all-time in Game 7 of the Finals.

Bryant found a way to sift through the previous eight months and 104 games by saying of Thursday night: "It's a game we've got to win. It's as simple as that."

He had 26 points and 11 rebounds Tuesday, but it was Gasol who rebounded from a meek 12-point effort in Game 5, coming close to a triple-double Tuesday with 17 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, the latter a playoff career-high for him.
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