By Bill Burt
BOSTON — These Los Angeles Lakers, more aptly called the Los Angeles Lakers Light, never had a chance. Not here. Not with that scrawny group. Not now.
The Boston Celtics are world champions for the 17th time, and the formula pretty much remained the same.
They were bigger, better, stronger and, maybe most important of all, they wanted it more.
There is something to be said for desire and we saw that last night, 131-92, at the TD Banknorth Garden.
There was no need for a Kevin McHale-like clothesline on any of these Lakers the past two weeks. A few pushes here, a few shoves there did the trick.
The message was sent during the first two games in Boston. The Celtics were tougher and tougher wins championships.
Every Celtics regular had a piece in last night's clincher, from Eddie House's seven points in nine first-half minutes, to P.J. Brown's six points to James Posey's two 3-pointers to Rajon Rondo's 21 points, 9 assists and 6 steals and Kendrick Perkins' defense (Pau Gasol only scored 11).
But this beauty belonged to the guys who really made it happen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. That's right, "The Big Three." It's a moniker this newest version earned. You win a championship, well, you are Big with a capital "B."
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said the key to beating the Celtics was slowing at least one of the trio. A Mack Truck wouldn't have succeeded last night.
Garnett, answering his brain-cramp from Game 5, scored 26 and pulled in a game-high 14 rebounds. Allen hit a playoff-high seven 3-pointers en route to 26 points of his own. And Pierce, the NBA finals MVP, had nine first-half assists when the score mattered a little bit.
But their points, assists and rebounds were an afterthought. They triple-handedly brought back Celtics Pride. They brought a defensive mentality — not in our house! — that defined this franchise since Nov. 2.
The Lakers were simply chum. They hit only eight of 27 shots in the first half (29.6 percent). They wanted no part of the pain Celtics defenders shelled out.
These thirtysomething superstars, all on the back side of their primes, all franchise players for different franchises, all playoff losers, all brought together this past summer in a moons-aligning-moment of their careers, did it.
The trio realized the Holy Grail was where NBA basketball was all but born. Right here in Boston.
What makes this extra special was the journey. It wasn't easy.
After a few strange weeks in late April and early May, we wondered about them.
The Atlanta Hawks? The Cleveland Cavaliers? Are you kidding me? Were the past five months a mirage?
The Celtics lost a lot of the goodwill they had earned as far back as November, when they jumped out of the box with eight straight wins, and went on to lead the NBA in record against the West (25-5), winning on the road (31-10) and overall record (66-16).
But, before it was too late, in Detroit, they found their way again.
Along the way these Celtics beat some impressive foes: LeBron James, the Detroit Pistons, and last but not least, Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and the Los Angeles Lakers.
In the end, your Boston Celtics were the last team standing for the 17th time in NBA history.
They are the last team standing because, simply put, they wanted it more than any other team in the NBA did.
E-mail Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org or read his blog at blogs.eagletribune.com/sports.
Celtics 131, Lakers 92
Turning Point: The Celtics outscored the Lakers 34-15 in the second quarter to open up a 58-35 halftime lead. In the final 7:50 of the quarter, Boston outscored the Lakers 26-6. L.A. shot just 23-percent in the quarter.
C's own the glass: Like they were for most of the series, the Celtics were far more aggressive in the paint. Boston out-rebounded the Lakers 48-29. The Lakers didn't have an offensive rebound in the first half despite shooting 29.6 percent.
Turnover city: The Lakers committed 19 turnovers to the Celtics' 7, which led to Boston earning 16 fastbreak points to the Lakers' 2.
Big Shows: Kevin Garnett (26 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists), Ray Allen (26 points, 7 of 9 3-pointers) and Rajon Rondo (21 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 6 steals)
No Shows: Los Angeles' Derek Fisher (7 points), Vladimir Radmanovic (6 points) and Lamar Odom (2 for 8, 14 points)