Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - It's down to a winner-take-all Game 7 in the 12th Finals meeting between the two most successful franchises in NBA history.
Pau Gasol narrowly missed a triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, as the Los Angeles Lakers forced a deciding contest in the title series with an 89-67 blowout of the Boston Celtics.
Kobe Bryant poured in 26 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who bounced back from a 92-86 loss in Game 5. Win on Thursday at Staples Center, and the Lakers will become the first repeat champions in the NBA since capturing three straight titles (2000-02).
Standing in the way though is the franchise with the most titles as Boston guns for its 18th championship and second in three years after polishing off the Lakers in six games in 2008.
Ray Allen led the Celtics with 19 points, but Boston ended 33.3 percent from the floor and went 5-of-23 from three-point range.
The Celtics were dealt a blow in the first quarter by losing starting center Kendrick Perkins to a right knee injury. He didn't play the final three periods.
History is certainly on Boston's side as far as the rivalry goes. The Celtics are 4-0 in Game 7s against the Lakers. The last time the Celtics faced the Lakers in a Game 7 was 1984 with Larry Bird besting Magic Johnson.
This is just the second time since 1994 that the NBA Finals are going to a seventh game. San Antonio beat Detroit in seven contests in 2005. Not since Washington's victory at Seattle in 1978 has a road team won a Game 7 in the NBA Finals.
The 67 points were tied for the second-fewest in NBA Finals history. Utah has the record of 54 against the Bulls in 1998. The Knicks scored 67 against San Antonio in 1999.