The Celtics turned what was a 23 point lead at halftime to the largest Finals win in a series clinching game in NBA history, winning 131-92 to take home their seventeenth NBA Championship.
After the game, a disappointed Coach Jackson congratulated Boston on winning the series, noting how far both teams have come this season to get to this point.
“Well, there’s not much to say, actually, at the end of this except to recap kind of the season which we felt like was a remarkable one for us, remarkable for the Celtics,” said Jackson. “Congratulations to them, their staff, their players. They showed their strength tonight in winning a decisive game.”
Jackson praised Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (21 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds) in particular for coming through with the biggest game of his life on the NBA’s most prominent stage.
“We’re disappointed, our fans are disappointed,” Jackson said. “I think everybody is disappointed that we didn’t get a game out of this, give ourselves a chance. You know, tonight Rondo was the star. He was the guy out there that made the plays, got the steals, pushed their offense into high drive and created havoc for us.”
Rondo helped the Celtics get off to a fast start as Boston led L.A. by 23 at the half before scoring 73 in the second 24 to put the Lakers away by 39 at game’s end. Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom only managed to score 25 combined points while Kobe chipped in 22 on a poor 7-22 from the field. By comparison, the Celtics Big Three scored 69 points, spearheaded by 26 each from Garnett and Allen to go with Finals MVP Paul Pierce’s 17 points and 10 assists.
Despite eliminated by such an enormous margin, Jackson remained optimistic looking ahead to next season when Andrew Bynum will return to anchor the Lakers’ front line once again.
“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,” said Jackson. “But we’ll look back on this favorably. We were surprised we were here, and we’re glad that we had an opportunity. But whenever you get this opportunity, you don’t want to let it slip away, and we did.”
For Bryant, participating in the retro-look Lakers vs. Celtics NBA Finals was an honor he isn’t taking lightly, even if he’s disappointed in the outcome of 2008′s reprisal.
“It sucks (smiling),” said Kobe. “It was fun. I think a lot of people enjoyed it. I think there was a lot of energy in it. I got a chance to revisit a lot of classic confrontations from the past. We lived those in the series, and the “beat LA” chants and all that stuff, it was fun to be a part of. Hopefully we’ll have another opportunity to get this thing.”