LA Lakers Capture NBA Championship / Kobe Bryant Named M.V.P - Celebrity Bug


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LA Lakers Capture NBA Championship / Kobe Bryant Named M.V.P

After an embarrassing loss to the Boston Celtics in 2008, Kobe Bryant lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 4-1 NBA championship victory against the Orlando Magics.

The Los Angeles Lakers captured their 15th championship and first since 2002 with a 99-86 victory over the Orlando Magic in Game Five of the NBA Finals on Sunday.

Los Angeles won the best-of-seven series 4-1, giving coach Phil Jackson his record 10th championship ring and 11-times All-Star guard Kobe Bryant his fourth.

"It's been a long time since he had a champagne bath, and I knew that, so I made sure he became part of our circle and we got him pretty good," Bryant said following the Lakers' locker room celebration.

"He took his glasses off, threw his head back and soaked it all in because this is a special time, and for us to be the team that got him that historic 10th championship is special for us."

The 30-year-old Bryant paced the Lakers with 30 points and was named the most valuable player in the finals, the first time he has received the award.

When he won his three previous titles (2000-2002), team mate Shaquille O'Neal was named the MVP and Bryant said criticism he could not claim the title without the 7-foot-1 center patrolling the paint was "just silly."

"Every team has a dynamic duo," said Bryant, who averaged 32.4 points during the finals. "It's a shame. But it is what it is. I wasn't going to try to argue about it. That does nothing. So you just accept the challenge and try to prove them wrong."

The Lakers took control of the game in the second quarter, scoring 16 straight points to turn a four-point deficit into a 52-40 lead with three minutes left in the first half.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said "we just didn't handle the ball at all" during the pivotal second quarter.

"I did not think that we handled the frustration really well, and that's why one mistake, one bad play in that stretch kept leading to another," he said.

"We fought hard in the second half, but they just had an answer for everything."

Los Angeles saw their 10-point halftime lead sliced to 58-53, but Lamar Odom hit two three-pointers during a 13-2 run to give the Lakers a cozy 71-55 advantage with just over three minutes left in the third quarter.

"Were they the better team in the series? Yeah, that's why they're the champs," said Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard, who averaged 17 points in the series but lacked consistency.

"What we can learn from this experience is that we have to be able to play 48 minutes, the whole game. They kept the pressure on us, and they played like a team that was hungry for a championship."

The Lakers reached the finals last year but lost to the Boston Celtics in six games.

"Last year's experience, it made us tougher, it made us grow as a team, and we all were hurt by it," said Lakers forward Pau Gasol, who had 14 points at 15 rebounds in the series finale.

"To be able to get to this point today is hard to describe and put in small sentences because it's so amazing what we accomplished, it feels so good, and hopefully a lot of people enjoy this."

As deserved, Kobe Bryant also collected the NBA Finals award for Most Valuable Player, with his wife and kids by his side.

Congrats and personally, I can't wait until September/October when we get to see the process start all over again.

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