Inside the locker room

Derek Fisher on Kobe Bryant’s evolution as a player and a team leader: “He’s grown. He’s grown up. He’s doing everything that we could ever ask him to do in terms of leading the team and performing on the court during games, in practice, and trying to be the type of guy that guys will follow as opposed to just dominating performances by himself and then expecting everyone to catch up to him. He’s really done an unbelievable job getting everybody to believe and buy into what we were trying to do this year.”

Bryant on Pau Gasol: “I think the thing that helped us get to this level was the improvements that he made defensively. He did a terrific job defensively for us all year, and particularly in this series. Offensively, his capabilities are limitless. He’s a dominant post-up player, extremely versatile, makes great decisions, and obviously when we got him last year, that really took us to that next step.”

Lamar Odom on the experience of bouncing back from last year’s loss to Boston: “That’s exactly what it was, it was an experience, and usually experience makes you better at whatever it is, whether it’s on or off the court. We set a goal early in the training camp and that was to win the NBA championship. Every time we came in as a group, we left that group by saying, ‘1, 2, 3, ring.’ We set a goal and we attained it.”

Orlando’s Dwight Howard on the Lakers: “Kobe led the way, but I think Trevor (Ariza) and Lamar did an excellent job the whole series. Trevor, he stepped his game up. When he was on our team, he couldn’t shoot the ball as well as he can now. Now he’s one of the best 3-point shooters on their team. He’s slashing, scoring and playing great defense on (Hedo) Turkoglu, so I think he was probably the main reason, him and Lamar, for the championship.”

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