Game 7 and the 2010 NBA Finals are in the book after an interesting game Thursday. Not a great game ... but highly intense and very physical. Great matchup. That's what you get in Game 7s. These guys know what you want to do and are now fully trained to try to stop it.
So here are my bullet points after Game 7:
KOBE BRYANT: He's got his 5th ring. Despite the horrible game he had, he found other ways to contribute. His rebounding and defense were outstanding and he's a deserving Finals MVP. His legacy is solid.
RAY ALLEN: I said going into this game that Allen will either have 25 points or 11 points. Nothing in between. I was nearly correct, since Allen just got 13 points. I don't see how one of the greatest shooters we've ever seen had such a horrible Finals (aside from that epic Game 2).
RON ARTEST: All year long, everybody wondered if the Lakers made a mistake signing Ron Ron instead of resigning Trevor Ariza. It seemed to work out nicely. While Artest didn't put up huge numbers, he came up huge when it counted. His tip in at the buzzer in Game 5 of the Western Conference championship saved the season. He then went on to score 25 on the Suns in a closeout game. In this series, he made life a living hell for Paul Pierce. And when everyone else was struggling, it was Artest fighting for rebounds, loose balls and scoring points.
PHIL JACKSON: I think he made the key in-game adjustment. In the third quarter, the Lakers started switching off on everything. Didn't matter who was guarding who ... they switched. That helped keep the Celtics out of the paint and forced them to take tough shots. It would be easy for a coach to get bent with a 13-point deficit in the third quarter, but Phil kept calm and got his troops directed to the right path.
KEVIN GARNETT: KG isn't the same cat anymore. He is in stretches and if he's rested. I think KG's minutes need to be dropped in order to make himself more effective. He was great in the first half but had no gas in the tank late.
DOC RIVERS: I think he's out the door. He coached a great series, but I think he sees the window closing in Boston. I think he hangs up his whistle and spends time with his family. When he wants to get back into coaching, he'll have his pick of jobs. In this Game 7, he really struggled trying to keep his guys fresh. Because he couldn't get them enough rest, Sheed and KG hit the wall late. That's not a knock on Doc since there really wasn't anything he could do.
SHELDON WILLIAMS: He's the reason the Celtics loss. Don't you know that Duke players can't win titles in the NBA!?!?
ANDREW BYNUM: I can't believe he played in these playoffs with his knee that jacked up. Thanks for showing up!
SASHA VUJACIC: Coming in cold with 12 seconds left and hitting two huge free throws was impressive.