LOS ANGELES — Game 7 is the ultimate test. For the Los Angeles Lakers  it means even more.
The Lakers have a chance to finally beat the Celtics  with the title on the line in a seventh and deciding game. Four times before the Lakers have had a chance and four times the Lakers were denied, most recently at the old Boston Garden in 1984 as the crowd rushed the parquet.
In 1969, it was the Celtics going on the road to the old Forum in Inglewood and winning Game 7, 108-106.
Thursday, the scene will be the Staples Center . And millions will be watching to see if the Lakers can finally get it done or do the Celtics walk away with their 18th title.
“Historic,” Lamar Odom said in a one-word characterization. “When you’re talking about these organizations and these teams, what they stand for, the pride. This is what you envisioned when you were a kid playing in your backyard. This was what it was all about.”
Odom said he is expecting a fierce battle from the Celtics, especially with Kendrick Perkins  out with torn ligaments in his right knee.
“It’s going to be a fight,” Odom said. “It’s going to be a fight. We expect a tough game. You know, all these games have been tough. Even with last night’s score, to me that’s misleading, sometimes the games just go like that. That team still plays hard, still makes you work.”
The Lakers have battled back from two losses in Boston to tie the series. And now they enjoy the same chance the Celtics had in Game 6 two years ago – celebrating a title over their arch-rival with their own fans on their home court.
“It is what it is,” Derek Fisher said. “It’s something that each time a series starts, you don’t necessarily know how it’s going to play out and what’s going to happen and how the momentum is going to swing back and forth. But here we are, and to have this opportunity on our home floor to win a championship, you know, I don’t know if you can ask for anything else, regardless of the Game 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7. Whatever it would take to win, and we have an opportunity.
“I just think that after losing Game 5, we have been in a position since then that was not very complicated,” Fisher said. “It was pretty simple. You have to win the next game or your season is over, and not over in a way you’d like it to be. You know, as opposed to kind of, I guess, starting to become selfish and kind of bunker mentality.”
“Whether it’s pretty or not, the Lakers can get another monkey off their back with a win. In 1985, Magic Johnson  and the Lakers had never beaten the Celtics for a title. They did and followed with one two years later. So, would this mean anything more special?
“It’s hard to answer that question,” Odom said. “A championship is a championship. Any time you have to fight this team really makes you fight I guess you appreciate it a little bit more.”