This past Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns 113-103 in the sixth game of the Western Conference final series, and will now play the NBA Championship finals against the Boston Celtics.
This is the third consecutive year that the Lakers reach the finals. Two years ago, the Lakers fell against the Boston Celtics and last season they beat the Orlando Magic, obtaining their 15th championship in the franchise's history.
The Lakers showed their dominance since the beginning of the game, taking control of the court and limiting the aspirations of the Suns to play a seventh game. The Lakers' attack was much more effective than its rivals and with their defensive pressure, they forced the Suns to shoot in awkward positions during the game.
The Californians imposed their rhythm and did not allow Phoenix to make use of their two best weapons: the fast-break (as the Suns could only score two points in this way) and the three-pointers, since the Lakers were able to answer most of the Suns' long distance shots. Information
During the first quarter, both teams were shooting accurately. There were eight lead changes before the Lakers closed the first quarter ahead, 37-34, thanks to a jump shoot from Kobe Bryant.
Starting the second quarter, Phoenix took the lead 43-42 with 8:04 to go, but Los Angeles regained control with an 11-3 run before an incredible three-pointer of Bryant from eight feet away from the 3 point-line. This shot left his team in front 65-53 by halftime.
Entering the third quarter, the two teams started exchanging baskets until the Lakers got a run of 11-2 to increase their lead by 18 points with 2:24 left in the quarter. Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant were unstoppable during this quarter, scoring from every angle. At the end the Lakers finished the quarter up by 17 points, 91-74.
An emotional dispute at the beginning of the last quarter was about to change the outcome of the game. Reserve guard Sasha Vujacic of the Lakers made a deliberate foul, hitting an elbow to Goran Dragic. His fellow Slovenian provoked him after scoring two points. Dragic took advantage and scored some free throws and a successively two-point shot to give the Suns an 8-0 run to shortened their disadvantage to 95-90, with five minutes and 35 seconds left in the game.
A basket of Steve Nash in reverse tray cut the lead to 99-96. Bryant responded for his team with two free throws and two shots from long distance in the last two minutes. At the end, two free throws from Artest and three free throws from Bryant closed the game with a 111-103 victory for the Lakers.
This is the 31st Western Conference title for the Lakers and the third consecutive one for Phil Jackson and his super star Kobe Bryant.
The best scorers for the Lakers were Kobe Bryant with 37 points and 6 rebounds; Ron Artest with 25 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals; Derek Fisher with 11 points and 3 assista, and finally Andrew Bynum with 10 points and 6 rebounds. For the Phoenix Suns, the best scorers were Amare Stoudemire with 27 points and 4 rebounds; Steve Nash with 21 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds; Jason Richardson with 13 points; Channing Frye with 12 points and 13 rebounds, and ultimately Slovenian Goran Dragic with 12 points. Information
The NBA Finals start on June 3rd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the second game will be at the same venue three days later. The next three games will be played at the TD Garden in Boston and if necessary the last game will be back in Los Angeles to define the title.