In the end, the crazy dream that the Lakers could quickly turn dysfunction into destiny ended when the Boston Celtics slowly turned them into chowder.
An NBA Finals that began with the Lakers spraying wild streams of hope across the Southland ended Tuesday with those same Lakers in a small and embarrassed puddle.
Which the Celtics splashed through. Again and again. Loudly and messily and triumphantly in a 39-point victory that gave them their record 17th NBA championship.
The final score in Game 6 was Celtics 131, Lakers 92.
The final count in Finals games was Celtics 4, Lakers 2.
The final scene was green and white confetti blanketing brown parquet, small tears blanketing giant cheeks, fans tumbling over barricades onto the floor as the Lakers tried to escape.
"Man, man, man," said the Celtics' Kevin Garnett, saying it all.
The final cheers were heartfelt songs filled with the relief of fans who have waited 22 years since the Celtics' last title.
But the final chants were more compelling, because they were directed at you-know-who.
In his best chance at establishing his legacy as a championship player without Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant was seemingly burdened by something even heavier.
He made just seven of 22 mostly wild shots. He had just one assist. He had four turnovers.
The league MVP was
AWFUL, unable to break through even the most basic of one-on-one Celtic defenses, unable to carry a team that needed carrying.
In the six games of the series, he shot poorly, led inconsistently, had only one really dramatic moment, and that was on defense.
And, so, in voices that seemingly shook the TD Banknorth Garden, with Bryant standing at the foul line in the third quarter, here came those chants.
"You're not Jordan!" the fans sang, referring to Michael Jordan.