The Stat Line of the Night — 6/15/10 — Pau Gasol
The LA Lakers were down 3-2 going into the game last night. Just one loss away from elimination and a disappointing end to the season. After splitting the first two games in L.A., the Celtics had won 2 of 3 in Boston and put the Lakers on their heels. With Kobe trying to do too much and the rest of the team doing far too little, those 3 games in Boston were difficult to watch for Lakers fans. Game 6 was a different story. Kobe finally got the help he needed from a teammate who was supposed to be stepping up big all along: Pau Gasol.
Sure Kobe had a great game, but it was Pau’s near triple-double that was the difference last night. Pau scored 17 points on 6-14 shooting and 5-6 from the free throw line. What he did best, however, was rebound, defend, and pass. He had 13 rebounds to help the Lakers to a 52-39 rebounding advantage. He also had 9 assists, 3 blocks, and a steal. The Lakers as a whole played such great defense that Boston was held to 67 points, the second lowest point total for a team in an NBA Finals ever.
Now the series goes to a pivotal Game 7. The Lakers and Celtics have played 4 Game 7s in history, but this is the first with these incarnations of the teams. It’s obvious that Kobe Bryant will need to be great, but the key difference is when Pau is able to crash the boards. For now he gets the “Stat Line of the Night”, but Game 7 will determine his place in the history books.