Question of the day: Who will win Game 7 of the NBA Finals and what will be the key?
Reporters from around the Tribune family tackle the question of the day, then you get a chance to leave a comment and tell them why they are wrong.
Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel
The constant from the Lakers this postseason is we have seen their best game only when cornered. There was no finer example than Tuesday's Game 6.
The desperation should be similar Thursday, especially against a wounded opponent, with a limited Kendrick Perkins far more debilitating for the Celtics than a limited Andrew Bynum is for the Lakers. It's not as if rotating around a hobbled Bynum is anything new for Phil Jackson.
Unlike Game 6, the desperation will be equal on both sides, with a far closer outcome expected. And that could reduce it to one play, one moment, one all-or-nothing sequence.
Can you bet against Kobe in such a situation? This will be the ultimate moment of spiting all those who dared declare LeBron MVP for 2009-10.
Updated at 8:28 a.m.
Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel
In an NBA Finals series that features four certain future Hall of Famers, who would’ve thought it would all come down to Kendrick Perkins?
The Boston Celtics’ burly starting center injured his right knee in Game 6, and with him hobbled, the Celtics won’t have the interior size to stop the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7 tonight.
If these Finals have taught us anything, it’s that the Celtics and Lakers are evenly matched. Now, with Perkins hurt, the Lakers have a clear advantage — and not just because they’ve won 10 of their 11 games at Staples Center this postseason.
Perkins is Boston’s “glue” guy. He plays tenacious defense. He collects rebounds. He makes over half of his shot attempts. If Perkins can’t play, the Celtics will depend on aging Rasheed Wallace and energetic, but erratic, Glen “Big Baby” Davis.
Kobe Bryant better get his thumb ready for his fifth NBA championship ring.
Updated at 12:07 p.m.
Baxter Holmes, The Los Angeles Times
Lakerdom: Prepare the sun block, charge the camera batteries and plan for a shower of purple and gold confetti to rain all over you and yours on an upcoming parade-filled SoCal summer day. When the game clock strikes zero Thursday, your Lakers will be world champions for the second straight year.
Game 7 will come down to rebounding. Whoever has won that contest has won each game. Now, each team’s centers have banged up right knees, but the Celtics Kendrick Perkins will likely miss Thursday, whereas Andrew Bynum won’t. It’s a tragic injury for the Celtics, who I picked to win this series in seven games before it started. If he were healthy, I’d stick with them. But, he isn’t, so I can’t.
Updated at 1:20 p.m.
Kenneth Charles Johnson
The Lakers will win Game 7 of the NBA Finals and the only key is if Kobe Bryant navigates that pesky LA traffic to find the Staples Center. Once he's indoors, he's not losing.
Kobe shines brightest when the pressure is the greatest. And his ability to demand accountability from his teammates is the closest to Michael Jordan basketball fans have seen. Kobe has been on a mission since the playoffs again, seeking one for the thumb to tie him with Magic Johnson. He's not losing when he's this close.
Also, the Lakers didn't just dismantle the Celtics in Game 6. They reversed this media-created idea that the Celtics were in the Lakers' heads. Their offensive spacing led to wonderful defensive transition; the victory proved both efficient and eviscerating. And Kobe revels in such moments and will make sure it happens again.