Celtics toy with Lakers to claim 17th NBA titleJune 18th, 2008 - 5:38 pm ICT by IANS
New York, June 18 (IANS) The Boston Celtics toyed with the Los Angeles Lakers 131-92 to win the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship for the 17th time, three more than their rivals, in front of a jubilant crowd at the TD Banknorth Garden. The Celtics Tuesday night won the series 4-2, but the most one-sided game in Finals history is still Chicago Bulls’ 96-54 victory over Utah Jazz by 42 points in 1998.
The Lakers’ bid to become the only team to win the Finals after trailing 3-1, ended after winning the fifth game. But what will hurt them the most is the loss of Game 4, surrendering a 24-point lead. Tuesday’s game was worse when Celtics led by a whopping 43 in the closing stages.
The figures tell it all. Celtics had 48 rebounds to Lakers 29. The Celtics had 14 offensive rebounds, the Lakers a mere two. The Celtics had 33 assists, the Lakers 16. The Celtics had seven turnovers, the Lakers 19.
For the Celtics, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen knocked in 26 points each, while Rajon Rondo scored 21. Paul Pierce, the hero of Game One, struck 17.
“It means everything,” Pierce said. “You know, I’m not living under the shadows of the other greats now. I’m able to make my own history with my time here, and like I said, this is something that I wanted to do.
“If I was going to be one of the best Celtics to ever play, I had to put up a banner, and today we did that.”
Garnett freaked out after the victory. “Other than my kid being born, this has to be the happiest day of my life right now.
“I am going to be hoarse, I don’t plan on sleeping for a week, for months.”
The victory was Boston’s first in 22 years and it came one year after they had one of the league’s worst records with just 24 wins. Garnett and Allen, who joined them in the off-season switch, changed the scene.
For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant just managed 22 and there was no-one in his side who could make it up for them with Lamar Odom the next best with 14 points.
Bryant was all praise for Boston’s defence. “They were definitely the best defence I’ve seen the entire play-offs.”
“I’ve seen some pretty stiff ones and this was right up there with them. The goal was to win a championship, it wasn’t to win MVP or anything like that it was to win a championship.”
The Celtics also kept Lakers coach Phil Jackson from earning a 10th title, which would have broken a tie with Auerbach for most in NBA history by a coach. Auerbach, whose name is on the parquet floor, died in October of 2006.
“We suffered injuries and survived a season and rebuilt our team and came back and had a great playoff run until the Celtics were able to extinguish that hope,” Jackson said.
Tags: 22 years, boston celtics, chicago bulls, fifth game, game one, happiest day of my life, kevin garnett, kobe bryant, lakers kobe bryant, lamar odom, los angeles lakers, national basketball association, nba championship, nba title, paul pierce, ray allen, rondo, sided game, td banknorth garden, utah jazz