ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – As great as Kobe Bryant is, one player wasn’t going to beat the Orlando Magic.

LeBron James learned that lesson last round.

Bryant didn’t have to.

He had loads of help in the NBA finals, with four teammates scoring in double figures in the 99-86 Game 5 victory Sunday night that gave the Lakers a 15th championship.

Bryant scored 30 points and was the finals MVP, but he wouldn’t be lofting any trophies without the help he got from a solid but unspectacular group that turned out to be the perfect complement to him.

• Pau Gasol, the supposedly soft player who stood up to Superman, had 14 points and 15 rebounds.

• Lamar Odom, with the superstar skills who willingly accepted a sixth man role, had 17 points and 10 boards.

• Derek Fisher, the veteran who found his missing shot just in time to swing the series in Game 4, scored 13 points.

• Trevor Ariza, the swingman who couldn’t shoot and has turned into a reliable threat from outside, added 15.

It was last year in Los Angeles’ humiliating loss to Boston in Game 6 that coach Phil Jackson had to leave Bryant on the court longer than usual in the first half, with no other Lakers able to get anything going.

This time, everyone but Bryant had it going during the decisive second quarter.

Bryant scored only four points in the period, with just one basket during a 16-0 burst the Lakers rode into the lead.

With the Lakers trailing 40-36 midway through the period, Fisher and Ariza hit 3s, and after a jumper by Bryant, Ariza made another 3 for a 47-40 lead. Fisher followed with another bucket, Ariza hit a free throw, and a basket by Odom pushed the lead to 52-40.

It was less than two years ago, frustrated after a second straight first-round elimination, that Bryant thought so little of his teammates that he said he wanted to be traded.

Instead, the Lakers decided to keep him and build a contender around him.

Fisher came back to Los Angeles so his family could live in a large city with the health care they needed to treat his young daughter’s cancer. The Lakers then stole Gasol, who even Jackson wasn’t sure was tough enough to be part of a champion, in a trade with Memphis before the 2008 trade deadline.

They struggled at times in the postseason. Fisher looked old and slow, and his shot was off. Odom was shaky for a few games after a hard fall on his back in the second round, when the Lakers needed seven games to get past Houston.

The Showtime Lakers of the ’80s were loaded with star power, and their championship teams in this decade were led by Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

Only one superstar on this team, but plenty of help for him.

Just what Bryant needed.

AP-ES-06-14-09 2303EDT


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