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June 18, 2008

Desire trumps flash ... by 39 points

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.

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