Game 7 reaction

Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times: Struggling through one of their worst starts of the season, the Lakers finished with one of their greatest moments ever, climbing back from a 13-point deficit to defeat the Boston Celtics, 83-79, to win Game 7 of the NBA Finals and clinch their second consecutive championship. This is 16 franchise titles, perhaps none of them more difficult. This is five rings for Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, absolutely none of them as hard. This is redemption for the Celtics’ 2008 Finals beating, and can anything be so sweaty yet so sweet? “We wanted it more,” said owner Jerry Buss, simply, perfectly.

Gary Washburn, Boston Globe: In the end, a team that spent all season dealing with — but never solving — their fourth-quarter woes was done in by it. The Celtics fell short in their quest for NBA title No. 18 last night at Staples Center because they couldn’t finish off the Lakers. They watched a 3-point lead with 6:29 left suddenly turn into a 6-point deficit. The Celtics played a brilliant game up to that point, and needed a series of big plays to polish off a masterpiece. Instead, they missed shots, looked confused on offense, and were beaten to rebounds that set up free throw opportunities. They desperately tried holding onto the lead, desperately tried coming back, and then ran out of time. The 83-79 loss will go down as one of the most competitive and fiercest Game 7s in NBA history, but Celtics will take the excruciatingly long flight home realizing they were chased from behind and caught, passed because they ran out of gas.

Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated: The Celtics are willing to wait on Rivers, but there are other, more pressing concerns. Ray Allen is an unrestricted free agent and there are questions about just what kind of financial commitment Boston is willing to make to its soon-to-be 35-year-old shooting guard. Multiple league executives believe Allen will be seeking a three- or four-year deal between $8 million to $10 million annually, with teams like New York or New Jersey looming as candidates to offer it. It’s that potential price tag that had the Celtics shopping Allen at midseason. There could be another member of the Big Three on the market, too. Pierce has a player option for $21.5 million next season. But with the collective bargaining agreement set to expire next summer and a new one expected to significantly reduce player salaries, several prominent players (including Dirk Nowitzki and Amar’e Stoudemire) are planning to opt out of lucrative contracts in order to sign new deals under the existing agreement. Pierce, 32, could leave the $21.5 million on the table with the expectation that he could score a contract worth $50 million to $60 million in the offseason.


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