Photos courtesy of the LA Times
DENVER(AP) Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are heading back to the NBA finals after dispatching the pesky Denver Nuggets with a 119-92 victory in Game 6 on Friday night.
Bryant got plenty of scoring help from Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom as the Lakers shot 57.3 percent from the field to avoid having to play a Game 7 in the Western Conference finals back at the Staples Center.
They will finally get some much-needed rest after playing every other day for a grueling two weeks.
These Lakers, who are headed to their record 30th NBA finals and are seeking their 15th title, are a more grizzled group - but also more bruised and battered - than the one that fell to Boston in the finals last year.
"Now we're in a place where we didn't get the job accomplished last year,'' Bryant said. "Hopefully we will this time.''
Instead of cruising through the West this time, the Lakers survived an arduous seven-game semifinal series against Houston and a physical test against Denver.
The Lakers will face either Orlando or Cleveland in the finals. The Magic lead 3-2 and can clinch the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night at home in Game 6 and prevent the Kobe Bryant-LeBron James final that has basketball fans and corporate sponsors atwitter.
The finals begin Thursday, at Los Angeles if Orlando wins, and at Cleveland if the Cavaliers prevail. (Read entire article)
George Karl exclaimed "No. 24 had a great five minutes at the end of the (first half) that no one in basketball could have covered him. He made about four shots in that stretch that I think Jesus would have had trouble covering. And those took the game from a manageable game to 13 (points)."
Mitch Kupchak, whom I tend to be relatively hard on, was classy as ever, especially receiving the Western Conference Championship trophy from old school, Showtime Era, James "Tomahawk" Worthy, 3 time World Champion and one time finals MVP.
This team has been beleaguered and maligned from all angles, even from Lakerdom, but tonight, just like in Game 5, they manifested the will, the valor and the temperament of a professional championship sports team!!!
*On a personal note, this post is dedicated to my fellow Lakers fanatic and infidel brother in arms, Jaco Pastorius, over at the Infidel Bloggers Alliance.
Pastorius with your depth and knowledge you should be working for the Buss Family/Lakers in some high end capacity!!!