There are no greater words in all of sports: Game Seven. There is no greater rivalry in all of basketball: Lakers versus Celtics. And on Thursday night, we'll get to see the champion of the NBA crowned, one way or another.
The 2010 NBA Finals are a rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals, but almost no one saw this coming. The Celtics limped through the regular season, going just 27-27 after Christmas. They were roundly seen as the team that other Eastern Conference teams wanted to play in the playoffs. The Lakers, on the other hand, seemed destined for the match-up that Nike's been craving for more than two years—a showdown with LeBron James and the Cavaliers. However, now that we're deep in June and one game away from settling it all, the time has come to be honest: None of the predictions matter, because this is as good as it gets.
The Lakers tattooed the Celtics on Tuesday night, setting up the last game of the season to be played in Los Angeles. LA has home court advantage thanks to a superior regular-season record. The Lakers seemed to have lost all momentum in this series after Game 5 but now have to be credited with regaining at least some of it with a dominant performance in Game 6. Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher will be gunning for their fifth championship rings, and the Celtics will be aiming to continue their historic superiority over the Lakers. After Andrew Bynum's trouble performing not just in this series but in the entire post-season, Kendrick Perkins fell during Game 6 and looks doubtful for Game 7. The story lines are converging. The season is almost done, but there's one game left: Thursday night, 7 p.m. Don't miss it.