In 1969, the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA Finals series that went seven games. Lakers guard and 14-time All-Star Jerry West was named the NBA Finals MVP — in defeat. It was the first time the league issued an award for a Finals MVP, and the only time a player on the losing squad has ever be given the honor. Ironically enough, as the same two rivals face-off once again for an NBA title, we could find ourselves in a similar situation for the first time in over 40 years.
I’m not saying the NBA Finals are over and Boston should start celebrating; the Celtics have pushed LA to the brink of elimination, but the series now returns to the Staples Center for Games 6 and 7 (if necessary). What I am saying is that if the Finals were to end after Game 5, Kobe Bryant would have to be named the MVP of the series. Let’s have a look at the average stats of the MVP candidates through the first five games, not including Shrek and Donkey:
As of right now, I’d say the MVP race comes down to Rajon Rondo and Kobe Bryant. If you’re looking at it from purely a numbers standpoint, Kobe is the obvious choice with his 30.2 PPG which accompanies an impressive 6.0 rebounds and a series-leading 2.0 steals. However, it doesn’t seem like the NBA wants to give the award to a player on the losing team — there’s a reason it hasn’t happened in over 40 years. For that reason, Rondo would be my front-runner for the Finals MVP if the series were over.
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