Kobe Bryant got plenty of help from his teammates throughout the finals as he continued his quest to win a title sans Shaq. Another balanced effort by the supporting cast Sunday night helped Kobe and the Lakers win the NBA Championship with a 99-86 win over Orlando in Game 5.
Kobe was named MVP after averaging 32.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, and 7.4 apg in the finals. His control and leadership in the series boosted his already-impressive resume.
Meanwhile, the Magic wilted after a strong start. Trevor Ariza keyed a 16-0 run midway through the second quarter that catapulted the Lakers into the lead. Lamar Odom’s back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter pushed the Laker lead to 11 and put the game out of reach.
Dwight Howard showed no signs of the ferocious play he displayed in Game 4. Ariza dominated Hedo Turkgolu, who scored a quiet 12 points in what could end up being his last game with the Magic. Rafer Alston, also perhaps playing his final game with the team, responded to increased playing time by launching shots at every opportunity. Jameer Nelson was even more aggressive; the duo shot a combined 7-22.
Stan Van Gundy had to be disappointed in his team, which played with almost no energy or intelligence in the second half.
Kobe led the way in Game 5 with a workmanlike 30 points, but Odom’s 17 points and Ariza’s 15 keyed the victory.
Phil Jackson claimed his 10 NBA title and could choose to finally walk away from the game at age 62. Or maybe he will hook up with LeBron in a couple years to go for No. 11.
Next year is right around the corner.
Stay tuned for highlights and the postgame press conference.