BOSTON // A record 17th NBA championship came the way of the Boston Celtics as they beat the Los Angeles Lakers 131-92 to seal the finals series 4-2. The comprehensive victory clinched the first championship for the Celtics for 22 years. Playing in the shadow of 16 championship banners, Boston took control of the game in the second quarter and stretched a four-point lead into a 58-35 lead by the interval.
The Lakers never threatened to come back, failing to get within 20 points of the Celtics in the second half. Doc Rivers, the coach of the Celtics, said: "We finally put it together on the perfect night, both offensively and defensively. It was just perfect." Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen each scored 26 points for the Celtics, with Allen hitting seven-of-nine shots from the three-point range. Paul Pierce had 17 points for the Celtics and was deservedly named the MVP of the championship series after the game.
Pierce said: "I am not living under the shadows of the other great players now. I am able to make my own history with my time here for the Celtics." The Lakers guard, Kobe Bryant, scored 22 points, but hit only seven of 22 shots and committed four turnovers in the rout. Bryant said: "I am upset more than anything, frustrated. But I am proud. I am proud of the way we performed all year." The Celtics' defence did their part, shutting down the Lakers' vaunted offence for much of the game and forcing 19 turnovers.
Boston built an 89-60 lead by the start of the fourth quarter to put the crowd in a party mood. Phil Jackson, the Lakers coach, said: "Everybody is disappointed that we did not make a game out of this and give ourselves a chance. They took us out of what we like to do." * Reuters