PHOENIX -- In all probability,
Consider Saturday night the latest example. After watching his team cough up an 18-point advantage for the second consecutive game, Bryant seized control in the fourth quarter. With the crowd whipped into a frenzy and a streaky Suns team feeling an injection of adrenaline after a flagrant foul by
"What can you say about Kobe?" asked Gentry. "I don't know if there are words."
Gentry's right. Bryant's 37-point, six-rebound effort in Game 6 went beyond any language. He was dominant, but even dominating players can be contained when swarmed by multiple defenders. The only success the Suns had stopping Bryant was late in the third quarter, when Gentry bellowed at the referees not to let Bryant in the game because he hadn't reached the scorers table in time.
"Kobe is so good, he makes incredible normal for us [and] those that are around him," said
To win championships, even great players need help. And Bryant got it Saturday night. The much-maligned
"He's one of the very few guys that I have seen play that literally can will the ball in the basket," said
Fisher dropped in 11 points and
So the NBA has its dream matchup: The Celtics and Lakers, two of the league's cornerstone franchises, meeting for the 12th time for the right to be called NBA champion. Officially it is a rematch of the 2008 Finals, but in some ways, these teams couldn't be more different. The Celtics have a revamped bench and three somewhat important starters who are a little longer in the tooth. The Lakers are older, wiser and have the physical Bynum and Artest to match Boston's bumping and bruising style.
"We aren't looking at them and lining them up against the team in '08," Fisher said. "This is the 2010 Finals. If we want to win it, we're going to have to work extremely hard and continue to make the sacrifices necessary."
Said Odom, "Everybody's looking forward to it."
In Boston, too. Last summer Jackson ran into
"Here it is, almost a year later," said Jackson. "We have this opportunity, both of us, to renew this rivalry."