The Boston Celtics and LA Lakers will meet in a deciding Game 7 in Los Angeles for the 2010 NBA title. The two teams have battled hard, and the entire season comes down to this final contest.
The series will hinge not on the stars, but on the bench players as it has all series. Lakers forward Lamar Odom is one of the players that needs to have a good game if the Lakers are to win their second title in three years. Odom says that every basketball player dreams of the chance to play in a game of such magnitude.
“It’s historic, especially when you talk about these teams and what they stand for, the pride,” Odom said after practice Wednesday. “This is what you envision when you’re a kid in your backyard. Counting down, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…”
The Boston Celtics will be playing for a historic 18th title, but the Lakers will try to break their losing streak against the Celtics in the finals by earning their 16th championship banner. The Lakers and Celtics have been to a Game 7 in the finals five times, the Celtics winning all five. A road team hasn’t won a Game 7 in another squad’s building since the Washington Bullets did it in 1978.
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Kobe Bryant knows the history behind the two franchises, and what Game 7 means to his own legacy. If the Lakers win, Kobe will have his fifth ring that will move him closer to matching Michael Jordan. He knows that it is important for his team not to get caught up in the history.
“It’s got nothing to do with me,” said Bryant. “(When) I look back, years from now, or even when I was a kid, (if) you’d talk about being in this situation, I’d be really excited. But when I’m in the moment right now, I’ve got to play. I’ve got to focus on that. I can’t focus on the hype about it.”
The Celtics have the difficult task ahead of them in Game 7. Road teams all time are 3-13 in Game 7 of the finals. Looking at history, the Celtics have accomplished this feat before. In 1974 the Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 on the road in the deciding game of the finals.
Celtics star Paul Pierce is trying to cement a legacy of his own by winning his second title for a team that hadn’t won a title since 1986 before Pierce got there.
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“I love the fact that if I don’t win multiple championships that I probably won’t be mentioned amongst the other guys in Celtic history that have done it before,” said Pierce. “That type of stuff motivates me. That’s what the challenge is for me, every time I put on this Celtic uniform.”
NBA sportsbooks have set the Lakers as the favorites in Game 7 over the Celtics by seven points. The Lakers’ line to win outright is set at -340, the Celtics’ underdog line comes to +270. The over/under set for total points scored by both teams has been set at 187.