Game 6: Lakers Rout Celtics
Legacies On The Line In Los Angeles
The Lakers stand on the verge of NBA Finals elimination at the hands of the Celtics for the second time in three seasons. Throughout these Finals, we've heard talk about what a title would mean for the legacies of Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant.
A Finals win would give Jackson title No. 11, put him into position for a fourth three-peat and further cement his standing as the coaching gold standard.
For Bryant, it would be a second title without Shaquille O'Neal and a fifth in all, placing him just one behind Michael Jordan. It also would put a feather in the cap of anyone aiming for the title of greatest Laker of all time: beating the Celtics to win a championship.
Should the Lakers fall short of the title, it would be Bryant's third failure in the Finals (as opposed to Jordan, who went 6-for-6) and the second time he comes up short as a team's unquestioned alpha dog. Fuel also could be added to the most common criticism of Jackson, that his fortune came as the result of his players rather than his coaching acumen.
But for all the talk about places in history, I suspect there's a bigger piece of the puzzle for both: If the Lakers lose in the Finals, the Celtics become the one team neither could beat.
• Read the rest from Kamenetzky at ESPNLosAngeles.com.
NBA Finals Schedule: June 15
More live coverage: Bill Simmons Live
• Tuesday's Celtics-Lakers game is also available on ESPN Radio and ESPNRadio.com.
GAME 6 CHAT LINEUP
3 ET: David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.
4 ET: Henry Abbott, TrueHoop
5 ET: Kevin Arnovitz, TrueHoop
6 ET: J.A. Adande, ESPN.com
7 ET: Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com
8 ET: Pregame chat
9 ET: In-game chat
12 ET: Postgame chat
Lakers' Last Leg?
Have the Lakers reached the end of the line? Or can Kobe Bryant & Co. force a Game 7?
• Since the NBA playoff format was expanded to 16 teams in 1984, only one team seeded No. 4 or lower has won the NBA Finals. That was the 1995 Rockets (No. 6). The Celtics, who were the East's No. 4 seed, can become the second team.
• Doc Rivers can become just the seventh NBA head coach to win championships in his first two NBA Finals appearances, joining a list that includes Tom Heinsohn, Phil Jackson, John Kundla, Gregg Popovich, Bill Russell and Rudy Tomjanovich.
• If 2008 Finals MVP Paul Pierce can win the honor again, he would become just the second Boston player to be named Finals MVP multiple times since the award was created in 1969. The other? Larry Bird, who won the award in 1984 and 1986.
• Kobe Bryant has struggled in the fourth quarter of this series. In five games, Kobe has shot 9-for-22 (28.1 percent) from the floor and posted a minus-27 plus-minus in the final frame.