In the end, it’s about faith. Faith in yourself. Faith in your teammates. Faith to persevere. Faith that you will bounce back after adversity. Faith that when the game is on the line and in overtime you will execute.
It’s about faith rewarded.
The Lakers did execute when it mattered, and Orlando was 1 of 7 in the OT. The Lakers played through the fouls on them, the fact they got zero free throws in the fourth quarter and overtime. Orlando complains about the calls they didn’t get. The Lakers had faith in what they could do. They had faith in their experience. Faith that the hard lessons learned last Finals and beyond would carry them through.
Their faith was rewarded.
There is the faith in Fisher that, frankly, many of us Laker fans are guilty of having lost. But not Phil Jackson. From that first game before Halloween, we fans begged Derek Fisher to stop taking so many pull up jumpers in transition (PUJITs), but he had faith and hit a huge one with a Finals game on the line. We called for someone else to get his minutes. Zephid said it better than I could:
This game is proof as to why we keep the faith in our players. This game is proof as to why we don’t bury our own guys; we don’t throw our own guys under the bus. Because our faith is rewarded. Everyone under the sun was calling for Phil to bench Fisher and play more Shannon Brown (myself included). Tell me, does anyone honestly believe that anyone outside of Bryant could have made those two shots other than Fisher? Through all his struggles, all the 1-8, 1-7 shooting games, our coaching staff kept the faith in Fisher. Even when he was getting crushed by Deron Williams, Aaron Brooks, Chauncey Billups, and Rafer Alston, the coaching still kept calling his number, sending him in during crunch time, sending him to battle when the games were on the line. And for their faith, they were rewarded with the most crucial victory of the season, delivered to us by one and only Derek FIsher. This is the stuff of legends; the stuff that only becomes more endearing when you’ve lived through his struggles as we all have.
Now our faith, and the tribulations it has gone through, is on the doorstep of being rewarded with a championship.