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LAst Night's Action: Let's Celebrate the Lakers!

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With the Lakers’ flotilla crawling down Figueroa for two miles amidst a throng estimated at 550,000 collectively cheering, screaming and jumping up and down trying to hold their urine in, it is time to set this 2009-10 NBA season to bed. And with how awful some of these playoff games were, let’s just put the season in a six-foot hole and smother it with dirt.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy the Lakers are back-to-back champions. I’m happy that my prediction of the Celtics in six was proven wrong, and yet again I will eat the crow happily while singing a song of sixpence. But let’s not be delusional: those were some awful games.

And that Game 7? If I didn’t liveblog it, I would have wound up watching reruns of The Golden Girls. For the first three quarters it was an unwatchable mess of offensive ineptitude by the Lakers coupled with scrums for loose balls and defensive stands better suited on a rugby field. The Lakers after three quarters despite shooting under 30% were only trailing the Celtics by four points. At 57-53 it was destined to become the lowest scoring NBA Finals game since the 24-second shot clock was instituted in 1954.

And to think that things looked promising when NBA Commissioner David Stern confiscated and hid the referees’ whistles.

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Kobe Bryant had an awful game going 6-for-24 from the field for his meager 23 points. It brought to mind his performance in the 1997 Western Conference Semifinals against the Utah Jazz where he had one airball at the end of regulation and three in overtime in the decisive Game 5 to give the Jazz the win.

But in the fourth quarter, the ball was magically finding its way through the net with both teams combining for 52 points in a tight contest that wasn’t decided until the final minute. At the end it was the Lakers avenging 2008 and reveling in the glory in front of the home crowd.

At the beginning of the season when asked about the biggest obstacle standing the Lakers’ way to a repeat championship Kobe Bryant stated that it was injuries. And the Lakers sure piled them up. Pau Gasol with his hamstring problems early in the season, Luke Walton’s back, Ron Artest’s concussion, Kobe’s finger, knee and ankle, Andrew Bynum’s knee, Sasha Vujacic’s ankle, Lamar Odom’s shoulder. It was one thing after another.

I won’t say this was improbable since they were one of the favorites to win it all coming into the season. But somehow they pulled it together and went against one of the toughest defensive team in the NBA and out-toughed them.

Now questions abound: Is head coach Phil Jackson coming back? What to do with the bench players who are now free agents? Do they re-sign Derek Fisher? Can the Lakers three-peat? We’ll see about that, but the biggest question for LA sports fans is if the Dodgers are going to make it to the World Series.

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TONIGHT'S ACTION

LA Dodgers (38-31) at LA Angels (39-33). Clayton Kershaw (7-3, 2.96 ERA) vs. Ervin Santana (6-5, 3.91 ERA). 7:05 pm KCAL9 (Dodgers TV), FSWest (Angels TV), AM 790 KABC (Dodgers Radio), AM 830 KLAA (Angels Radio).