On the brink of elimination for the first time in the post-season, the Lakers could have cowered under the pressure and watched their hated rivals celebrate a championship on their home floor. With Andrew Bynum strong mentally but limited physically, they could have allowed the Boston Celtics to push them around just as they’d done two years ago without their young center in the line-up. Failing to produce for their team on the road, the Laker reserves could have left this pivotal Game 6 in the capable hands of their starters. The Lakers could have done many things to take themselves out of contention for that 16th title, but tonight they did more than fight for their right to a Game 7 — they demolished the competition to get there.
When Ron Artest (15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block and a whopping +26 to lead all +/-) and Sasha Vujacic (9 points) are hitting three-pointers (6-10 combined), it’s not difficult to guess what kind of game the Lakers will have.
In the first quarter, the home team was scoring in every which way — Kobe Bryant got his, Andrew Bynum tossed up a hook shot, Pau Gasol’s jumpers were hitting nothing but the bottom of the net and Artest’s trips to downtown were fruitful as could be. In the first 12 minutes, the Lakers shot 60% from the field, a complete 180 degrees from the dreadful shooting display in Game 5.