Kobe steps out of Shaq’s shadow. Lakers win NBA Finals.

http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2009-06/47501420.jpg

Trevor Ariza should not be so surprised. He played great. Anyway…

Kobe did it, after a few failed attempts and a whole lot of drama he has succeeded in leading the Los Angeles Lakers to the top of the NBA, and finally without Shaquille O’Neal there to throw his coattails under everyone. This marks Kobe’s 4th championship, tying O’Neal’s tally.

Other big news is of course Phil Jackson winning his 10th championship, making him the all-time leader for coaches. For more on that look a couple of posts down.

You can check the box score here and see the stats for yourself, but of all places, Canada.com seems to be the first place with a nice summary of the game:

Despite falling behind by nine points in the first quarter, the Lakers stepped on the gas in the second, reeling off 16 unanswered points, a run keyed by Trevor Ariza, and took a 56-46 lead at the half. The Lakers were in front by as many as 18 in the second half and didn’t allow the Magic a rally to send the series back to Los Angeles.

The 15 titles by the Lakers are two shy of Boston’s all-time record. It was also a sense of redemption for the Lakers, who lost in the Finals to the Celtics last year. It’s their first time raising the trophy since 2002, the last of three consecutive championships.

Over the course of this series, the Magic never seemed to have things go their way. In fact, watching the games, even when Orlando was winning by considerable margins I felt like it would only be a matter of time before the Lakers steamed back. The inconsistency of the Magic play didn’t instill any confidence in me, and it doesn’t seem to have done much for the Orlando players either.

Credit Kobe Bryant though, he may not have had any incredible performances in this series, but his excellence each night more than enough makes up for it. He’s a deserved Finals MVP.

I’m not going downtown tonight.

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