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Four Corners: Who will win Game 7 of the NBA Finals?

Lakers smell blood

Ira Winderman

Sun Sentinel

The Lakers' constant this postseason is they have delivered their best game only when cornered. There was no finer example than Game 6 on Tuesday night.

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 Bryant in such a situation? This will be the ultimate moment of spiting all those who dared declare LeBron MVP for 2009-10.

LA's day in the sun

Baxter Holmes

Los Angeles Times

Lakerdom, prepare the sunblock, 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 NBA 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 likely will miss Thursday, whereas Andrew Bynum won't. It's a devastating injury for the Celtics, whom 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.

Perkins' injury swings it

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 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 Lakers in Game 7.

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 the Staples Center this postseason. Perkins is Boston's "glue" guy. 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.

Bryant won't fail

K.C. Johnson

Chicago Tribune

The Lakers will win Game 7 of the NBA Finals and the only key is if Kobe Bryant navigates that pesky L.A. 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 began, 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. Kobe revels in such moments and will make sure it happens again.

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