Golden Basketball Magazine
NBA Finals - Game 7
2010: Boston Celtics @ Los Angeles Lakers
The NBA went five years after the Pistons-Spurs final went to seven games in 2005 to get another Game 7.
  • 2006: With the addition of Pat Riley as coach and Shaquille O'Neal in a trade with the Lakers, the Miami Heat won the franchise's first championship, defeating the Detroit Pistons in six games.
  • 2007: The San Antonio Spurs returned to the top, sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers in the finals.
  • 2008: Another Celtics-Lakers final, Boston winning in six games.
  • 2009: The Lakers thumped the Orlando Magic in five.

In 2010, the Western Conference teams were much better than their Eastern counterparts.

  • Nine Western teams won 50 or more games to just two Eastern teams.
  • Cleveland's league-leading 61 wins was the lowest win total to lead the league since the Indiana Pacers won 61 in 2003-04.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, the New Jersey Nets became the fifth team in NBA history to lose 70 games in a season.
  • When the dust settled Lakers, coached by Phil Jackson, and Doc Rivers' Celtics met in the finals for the 12th time. The two franchises had won 33 of the 64 NBA crowns.

The Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant, who showed no signs of slowing down at age 31.

  • He led the Lakers with 27.0ppg, which was fourth in the league behind Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony. Bryant also ranked #1 on the Lakers with 5.0 assists per game.
  • 7' Spanish C Paul Gasol topped the club in rebounds with 11.3.

Boston's top three scorers were all in their 30s.

  • The Celtics' three top scorers were all in their 30s. Paul Pierce (age 32) led with 18.3ppg followed by Ray Allen (age 34) at 16.3 and Kevin Garnett (33) at 14.3.
  • Kendrick Perkins led in rebounds (7.6) while Rajon Rondo was by far the assists leader (9.8 with Pierce second with 3.1).

Eastern Conference
Western Conference
Atlantic Division
Team W L % GB
Boston Celtics 50 32 .610 --
Toronto Raptors 40 42 .488 10
New York Knicks 29 53 .354 21
Philadelphia 76ers 27 55 .329 23
New Jersey Nets 12 70 .146 38
Central Division
Team W L % GB
Cleveland Cavaliers 61 21 .744 --
Milwaukee Bucks 46 36 .561 15
Chicago Bulls 41 41 .500 20
Indiana Pacers 32 50 .390 29
Detroit Pistons 27 55 .329 34
Southeast Division
Team W L % GB
Orlando Magic 45 37 .549 --
Atlanta Hawks 43 39 .524 2
Miami Heat 38 44 .463 7
Charlotte Bobcats 38 44 .463 7
Washington Wizards 37 45 .451 8
Northwest Division
Team W L % GB
Denver Nuggets 53 29 .646 --
Utah Jazz 53 29 .646 --
Portland Trail Blazers 50 32 .610 3
Oklahoma City Thunder 50 32 .610 3
Minnesota Timberwolves 15 67 .183 38
Pacific Division
Team W L % GB
Los Angeles Lakers 57 25 .695 --
Phoenix Suns 54 28 .659 3
Los Angeles Clippers 29 53 .354 28
Golden State Warriors 26 56 .317 31
Sacramento Kings 25 57 .305 32
Southwest Division
Team W L % GB
Dallas Mavericks 55 27 .671 --
San Antonio Spurs 50 32 .610 5
Houston Rockets 42 40 .512 13
Memphis Grizzlies 40 42 .488 15
New Orleans Hornets 37 45 .451 18
Eastern Conference First Round
Celtics over Heat 4-1
Hawks over Bucks 4-3
Cavaliers over Bulls 4-1
Magic over Bobcats 4-0
Western Conference First Round
Lakers over Thunder 4-2
Spurs over Mavericks 4-2
Suns over Trail Blazers 4-2
Jazz over Nuggets 4-2
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Celtics over Cavaliers 4-2
Magic over Hawks 4-9
Western Conference Semifinals
Lakers over Jazz 4-0
Suns over Spurs 4-2
Eastern Conference Finals
Celtics over Magic 4-2
Western Conference Finals
Lakers over Suns 4-2

# Player Pos. Hgt. Wgt. College Exp.
1 Jordan Farmar PG 6-2 180 UCLA 4
2 Derek Fisher PG 6-1 200 Little Rock 14
4 Luke Walton SF 6-8 235 Arizona 7
7 Lamar Odom PF 6-10 220 Rhode Island 11
12 Shannon Brown SG 6-4 205 Michigan State 4
16 Pao Gasol C 7-0 250 --- 9
17 Andrew Bynum C 7-0 285 --- 5
18 Sasha Vujacic SG 6-7 195 --- 6
21 Josh Powell PF 6-9 225 NC State 5
24 Kobe Bryant SG 6-6 210 --- 14
28 D.J. Mbenga C 7-0 245 --- 6
37 Ron Artest SF 6-7 260 St. John's 11
Coach: Phil Jackson
# Player Pos. Hgt. Wgt. College Exp.
4 Nate Robinson PG 5-9 180 Washington 5
5 Kevin Garnett PF 6-11 240 --- 15
7 Marquis Daniels SF 6-6 200 Auburn 7
9 Rajon Rondo PG 6-1 180 Kentucky 4
11 Glen Davis PF 6-9 290 LSU 3
13 Shelden Williams PF 6-9 250 Duke 4
20 Ray Allen SG 6-5 205 UConn 14
30 Rasheed Wallace C 6-10 225 North Carolina 15
34 Paul Pierce SF 6-7 235 Kansas 12
40 Michael Finley SF 6-7 215 Wisconsin 15
42 Tony Allen SG 6-4 213 Oklahoma St. 6
43 Kendrick Perkins C 6-10 270 --- 7
44 Brian Scalabrine PF 6-9 240 USC 9
Coach: Doc Rivers
# Date Place Winner Loser Winning Team
High Scorer
Losing Team
High Scorer
1 June 3 Los Angeles Lakers 102 Celtics 89 Bryant 30 Pierce 24
2 June 6 Los Angeles Celtics 103 Lakers 94 Allen 32 Gasol 25
3 June 8 Boston Lakers 91 Celtics 84 Bryant 29 Garnett 25
4 June 10 Boston Celtics 96 Lakers 89 Pierce 19 Bryant 33
5 June 13 Boston Celtics 92 Lakers 86 Pierce 27 Bryant 38
6 June 15 Los Angeles Lakers 89 Celtics 67 Bryant 26 Allen 19
The series pitted two different styles of basketball against each other. East Coast "ugly, brutish basketball" that turned each game into a grind-it-out affair favored Boston against the Lakers' finesse. The games got uglier as the series went on.

Game One: The Lakers started fast and never let up until the fourth quarter, which they entered with a 30-point lead.
Game One Action
  • Game Two: Sparked by Ray Allen's historic 3-point shooting barrage (11 of 20), Boston came out much more aggressively, but LA fought back. The game was tied at 72 entering the fourth period. Led by Rajon Rondo's 10 points, the Celtics outscored the Lakers 31-22 to even the series.
    Game Two Action

  • Game Three: The Lakers started strong, leading 26-17 at the quarter and 52-40 at the half. The Celtics shaved six points off the lead in the third period but could not catch the Lakers in the last 12 minutes as Derek Fisher scored 11 of his 16 points in the last quarter.
  • Game Four: The must-win Celtics stayed close until they went on a 13-2 run early in the final period to even the Series again.
  • Game Five: Boston led 50-39 early in the third quarter, but the Lakers cut the lead to eight. But with no Laker scoring more than 12 points except Kobe Bryant with 38, the Celtics finally broke the alternating-wins streak of the first four games to take their first lead in the Series.
    Game Five action

  • Game Six: Boston starting C Kendrick Perkins suffered a serious knee injury in the first quarter, making the Celtics more vulnerable on defense and rebounding. With their bench outscoring the Boston reserves 24-0 entering the fourth quarter, the desperate Lakers led by as many as 27 as they coasted to a backs-against-the-wall victory. For the sixth game in a row, the team that outrebounded the opponent won.
  • Unfortunately for the Celtics, Perkins' sprained right knee would keep him out of the final game. The oddsmakers established the Lakers as seven-point favorites. The Lakers had never beaten the Celtics in a Game 7.

    Game Seven

    If you had been told before the game that the Lakers would shoot only 32.5% and all the Celtics starters would score in double digits, you'd bet any money Boston would win. Perkins was sorely missed as the Lakers won the rebounding 53-40.

    • Quarter 1
      The defenses prevailed as the officials allowed lots of contact, which suited the Celtics style of play. With Kobe Bryant hitting only one of seven shots–and that one a layin off a beautiful pass–Boston held the Lakers to just 14 points despite being outrebounded. The Celtics scored the last nine points of the period. In the previous six games of the Series, the team that won the first quarter won the game. But ABC commentator Mark Jackson said he couldn't remember seeing Bryant play a worse 12 minutes in a game. He forced shots and took too many dribbles to get in position to shoot, which led to turnovers. Celtics 23 Lakers 14
    • Quarter 2
      Ron Artest came off the bench and sparked the Lakers' 9-0 run, getting a putback on LA's 11th offensive rebound followed by a steal and a layup to tie the game at 23. Then he got another offensive rebound and putback to put the Lakers ahead as the Celtics went nearly five minutes without scoring. The visitors took a three-point lead only to have Artest hit a three from the corner to knot the count at 29. However, the Celtics outscored the Lakers 11-5 the rest of the quarter. Bryant and Gasol were a combined six of 26 on field goal attempts. Without Artest, who entered Game 7 averaging nine points on 35.2% shooting in the Finals but contributed 12 points and three steals in the quarter, the Lakers would have been in bad shape. They shot only 27% (13-49) in the first half. With so many missed shots, they led in offensive rebounds 15-2 and in second chance points 9-2. Celtics 40 Lakers 34

    Kobe Bryant tries to drive around Ray Allen.
    • Quarter 3
      After the teams traded baskets, with Artest scoring again for the Lakers, the Celtics went on 7-0 run for their largest lead of the game, 49-36. Bryant's free throw ended the streak, then he hit a jumper to cut the lead to 49-39. No one would have recognized it at the time, but momentum was slowly flowing LA's way. Gasol spun in the lane and laid in a basket with his left hand, but Garnett answered to make it 51-41 Celtics. Derek Fisher sank a jump shot, and Lamar Odom off the bench got a put back to end an 8-2 LA run to close to 51-45. The teams traded baskets until Gasol blocked Garnett's shot in the lane, then made two free throws to make it 56-51 Boston with 2:30 left in the quarter. A Rondo free throw and another Odum follow up closed the quarter. Celtics 57 Lakers 53
    • Quarter 4
      As the heavyweight slugfest went into the final period, Bryant had made only five of 20 shots. He partially made up for his poor offensive showing by guarding the lightning-quick Rondo all series, keeping him out of the lane and knocking his averages down from 15 points and nine assists a game in the first three rounds of the playoffs to 13-7.
      Gasol picked up some of the slack. Derided as soft so often in previous seasons, he fought for every rebound, twisted and turned to fight off defendes who elbowed and hacked and tried to body him out of the play, barging through Boston's grinding defense to pull down a game-high 18 rebounds and score 19 points for his third straight double-double performance and fifth in the Finals.
      The teams traded baskets as the defenses gave up points grudgingly. During a timeout with nine minutes to play, the LA fans began chanting "Kobe, Kobe."
      Bryant was fouled shooting a three-pointer and sank all three freebies to pull LA within one point at the 8:46 mark.
      Gasol missed two free throws with 6:49 left in the game. Then Pao passed out of the post to Derek Fisher for a three-pointer that brought the Lakers even at 64 with 6:12. They would never trail again.
      Bryant's 17-footer gave the Lakers a 68-64 with 5:22 left. It would be his only field goal in the quarter, but he would deliver from the free-throw line, making eight of nine during the period. "I wanted it so, so bad," Bryant said. "The more I tried to push, the more it kept getting away from me. I'm just glad that my teammates really got us back in the game."
      With the Lakers playing smothering defense, Gasol sank two free throws to finish a 9-0 run and give LA a 70-64 edge with 4:38 left. After misses on both ends, Rondo passed to Pierce who sank a two-pointer. 70-66.
      Bryant drove to the rim and was fouled by Pierce. Kobe missed the first but made the second free throw. 71-66. Garnett's field goal but the lead back to three. Bryant passed to Gasol in the lane. His head fake got Garnett off the floor, and Gasol jumped and drew the foul. He calmly sank both free throws with 2:47 left for a 73-68 lead. Playing the game of his life, Artest rebounded Wallace's miss, and Gasol made one of two freebies. 74-68.
      Artest then committed a foolish foul far from the basket, and Pierce sank both free throws. 74-70 with 2:14 to go. Odom missed, and Bryant rebounded. Gasol pushed underneath and laid it in to make 76-70 at the 1:30 mark.
      But Wallace sank a three-pointer to pull Boston within three again. Needing a stop to get a chance to tie or pull within one point, the Celtics instead watched Artest sink a key three-pointer, "a bullet from the right side," with 1:01 left to restore the Lakers' six-point edge. Jackson said afterward that Artest was the game's MVP because "he brought life to our team, he brought life to the crowd."
      But the Celtics wouldn't go away. Allen hit a three to again reduce the margin to three, 79-76. Bryant missed a three, but Gasol rebounded, the Lakers' 23rd offensive board, and got the ball to Bryant, who was fouled with 25.7 seconds on the clock. Kobe hit both to make it 81-76. Then it was Rondo's turn to hit a three, his first of the game. 81-79. Phil Jackson took a timeout to advance the ball to midcourt. He also substituted Sasha Vujacic, a 6'7" point guard. Why him at this crucial moment in the game? He was an excellent free throw shooter–84.8% for the season, second only to Derek Fisher's 85.6%. The six-year veteran took the inbounds pass and was immediately fouled. He cooly sank both to ice the game with 4.7 seconds left. Rondo missed a desperation three, and the celebration began for the Lakers' 14th NBA title.
    Player Min FG2 FG3 FT Rebs Ast Fouls  Points 
    Kobe Bryant 45 6-18 0-6 11-15 15 2 4 23
    Metta World Peace 46 5-11 2-7 4-5 5 1 3 20
    Pao Gasol 42 6-16 0-0 7-13 18 4 2 19
    Derek Fisher 30 2-4 2-2 0-0 1 2 3 10
    Lamar Odom 35 3-5 0-3 1-2 7 2 0 7
    Andrew Bynam 19 1-5 0-0 0-0 6 0 2 2
    Sasha Vujacic 5 0-1 0-1 2-2 1 0 2 2
    Jordan Farmar 13 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 0 2 0
    Shannon Brown 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0
    Josh Powell 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0
    Total 240 23-63 4-20 25-37 53 11 19 83
    Player Min FG2 FG3 FT Rebs Ast Fouls Points
    Paul Pierce 45 3-12 2-3 6-6 10 2 4 18
    Kevin Garnett 38 8-13 0-0 1-1 3 2 5 17
    Rajon Rondo 45 5-11 1-2 1-2 8 10 2 14
    Ray Allen 45 1-7 2-7 5-6 2 2 3 13
    Rasheed Wallace 36 4-7 1-4 0-0 8 2 6 11
    Glen Davis 21 2-4 0-0 2-2 9 0 1 6
    Tony Allen 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0
    Nate Robinson 3 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0
    Brian Scalabrine 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
    Total 240 23-55 6016 15-17 40 18 25 79


    Celtics Locker Room
    Doc Rivers: "There is a lot of crying in the locker room. There are a lot of people who care. Not a dry eye. ... I can't stress how crazy close this team is. It's the type of group that can scream at each other and then get along." He added, "It was exactly the type of game we wanted except for the final score. It goes to show you that you can have an 83-79 game, and it can be a great game because both teams played great defense. It was tough getting shots. I thought the lack of size at the end of the day was the difference in the game. Give the Lakers credit. They were terrific."
    Boston General Manager Danny Ainge: "These guys, they really are champions. They played hard. They really stepped it up when they needed to."

    Lakers Locker Room
    Phil Jackson won his 11th title as a coach, six with the Bulls and five with the Lakers. "I thought our defense was terrific. We were able to step in and play the kind of defense that we've established as a kind of calling for this team, and we found a way to generate some points."
    Kobe Bryant: "This one is by far the sweetest, because it's them. This was the hardest one by far. I wanted it so bad, and sometimes when you want it so bad, it slips away from you. ... Let's go for it again." Asked about his injured knee that was drained of fluid earlier in the playoffs, Kobe responded, "It felt good enough to get through the playoffs. I'm obviously going to have to look at the knee and figure some things out. I can't play a whole entire season the way it is now. Same thing with the (broken) finger. You know, without the tape, I can't grip a basketball."
    Pao Gasol: "It's just like I'm living in a different dimension. If I could get a genie and ask for a wish, this would be my wish, as far as my basketball life and career."
    While playing for Indiana in 2004, Ron Artest was suspended for 84 games by Commissioner David Stern for his part in a brawl at the end of a game against the Detroit Pistons. Ever an enigmatic figure, he said, "I'd like to thank my psychiatrist." He also thanked Stern for "helping me turn my life around." (Artest would later change his name to Metta World Peace.)

    Participants in the 2010 NBA Finals who are in the Basketball Hall of Fame:
    Celtics: Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
    Lakers: Kobe Bryant
    2009-10 Los Angeles Lakers

    2009-10 Boston Celtics