In his first week as the head of the NBA, Pete Gunze was the most entertaining coach of the season.
He was an underdog who won the first game of the Finals by outscoring the Golden State Warriors by 28 points.
The Warriors were down by one at the end of the fourth quarter and had to play with a lead.
“I’m going to play the game,” said the 32-year-old Gunze, who had never coached a game before.
“We’re going to do everything we can to win the game.”
He did that by outplaying the Warriors by 27 points and led the Los Angeles Lakers to a victory.
He finished the series with a 51-21 record and the first of his six championships.
The Lakers were a favorite to win it all and had the No. 1 seed.
But the Lakers had a tough time against the Warriors, who won eight of the first nine games.
They beat the Lakers in the playoffs by six points.
They came back in the conference semifinals to face the Dallas Mavericks, who lost the first two games to fall behind by two games.
But they were able to get back on track against the Mavericks, going on to win in six games.
The NBA’s first five-time champion has led his teams to four championships.
Gunze’s teams have won eight titles and a second in his five seasons as the coach.
But he has had some struggles lately.
The most recent of these came this past week, when the Lakers lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the Western Conference finals.
He called the game for coach Luke Walton, who was out with a knee injury.
“You can’t be 100 percent in your head when you’re on the road,” Gunze said, according to the Los Angles Times.
“He was able to take the first shot, but then he had to take three shots.
I thought he was going to go back out there and do his thing and make shots.
But it didn’t work out that way.”
The Lakers will face the defending champion Golden State on Sunday.
But a victory in that game would ensure the team will be a lock for the Western conference finals.
They won’t have the same success on the court as they did in the Finals, where they lost to Oklahoma City.
That loss also hurt the Lakers.
The team won a franchise-record 29 games in the regular season, which ranked third all-time.
The franchise was outscored by a combined 29 points in the last three games.
“Our goal was to win and we’re going back to winning,” said Gunze.
“It’s a big step forward for us.
We’ll continue to work and continue to improve.”
He added, “We can do it.”
For the Lakers, that will mean getting more shots up for the rest of the playoffs.
The league has increased its number of 3-point shots to 40.
They also will try to prevent the Warriors from doing the same.
“The only way to prevent this is to shoot the ball,” Gunz said.
“And they’re the best team in the world at that.”
The Warriors have made the playoffs in six of the last seven seasons and have won the Western and Eastern Conference finals three times in the past four seasons.
The Finals are the final game of a three-game series.
The final two games are the conference finals against the winner of the conference final against the defending champ.