Kobe Bryant finally won his first NBA Championship without Shaquille. Phil Jackson has finally won his 10th NBA title, making him arguably the best coach in the NBA.
The Los Angeles Lakers won Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, 99-86, ending the series 4-1.
The Lakers team had to get their act together early on as the Magic came out aggressive and roaring with a nine-point lead in the first quarter by the score of 15-6. Seeing that the Orlando Magic was focused, upbeat, aggressive, and playing hard on defense while pushing the ball on transition, Lakers coach Phil Jackson called a timeout. Kobe Bryant could not allow the Magic to increase the lead, and as such had a five-point run after the timeout, closing the lead to four, 19-15. The Lakers recovered from there and both teams slugged it out for the remainder of the game ending the quarter in favor of Magic with only a two-point lead for a score of 28-26.
In the second quarter Orlando Magic remained aggressive and raced to a six-point lead, 34-28, on back-to-back baskets by Dwight Howard. But the Lakers' Lamar Odom rose to the challenge, driving strong to the basket, making the shot and getting the extra point from an Orlando foul. The Lakers would not allow the Magic to control the game and Kobe wanted the championship badly, as his second quarter highlight came on his 13th point via a strong drive and a reverse dunk. Kobe was doing everything for the Lakers — scoring, rebounding, dishing out assists, and running the floor well which resulted to Fisher, Odom and Ariza to score three-point shots in the second quarter. The Lakers turned the game around, this time leading by as high as 12 points. The quarter ended with Lakers leading by 10 points, 56-46.
The third quarter started with Lakers committing two quick fouls in the first minute of the game, which told the Magic they would need to work hard for every point. The Magic tried to get back on the game but Odom drained back-to-back-to-back 3-point shots. The Lakers, led by Bryant, scored a difficult drive against Courtney Lee and Dwight Howard, and dealt an assist to Fisher for a jumper with five minutes remaining in the quarter, which gave the Lakers a 13-point lead. Two more free throws by Bryant with 3:31 remaining gave the Lakers their biggest lead of the game with 16 points. The quarter ended in favor of Lakers 61-76.
Gasol started the fourth quarter with a jumper to give the Lakers their biggest lead so far at 17 points. The Magic answered with three-point shots from JJ Redick and Jameer Nelson, but the Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant, just kept on scoring jumpers, layups and 3-point shots. The Lakers coasted to a 99-86 win, as they claimed the 2009 NBA Championship.
This has been a long road for the Kobe Bryant and the Lakers as they erased the bitter memory of the loss to Boston Celtics in 2008 and probably that of 2004 against the Detroit Pistons.
Kobe and Fisher were hugging each other moments after winning the title. Both of them joined Lakers on the same year and are the only two players who are part of the original championship team.
Congratulations to Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and the entire team as the Los Angeles Lakers are the 2009 NBA Champions.