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Friday, June 4, 2010

Lakers push around Celtics in bizarro Game 1 of 2010 NBA Finals

Seeing the Lakers win Game 1 of the NBA Finals was predictable since NBA rules dictate the home team always has to win at least one game in a playoff series.

Much more surprising was the fact that LA pushed Boston around and was the aggressor in a 102-89 romp.

With two days off before Game 2 Sunday night, the reactionary media (cough ESPN) will say how this is a new Lakers team that's tougher while the Celtics are old and weak. Some of that may be true but I reserve judgment for another few games. As long as the Celts win Game 2, they'll have gotten the necessary road win before they go home for three straight.

Kobe Bryant led LA with a game-high 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists but the story of the game was that big llama Pau Gasol who had 23 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. Kevin Garnett had 16 points but Gasol and his teammates completely owned Boston on the glass (42-31 rebounds) and inside (16-0 second chance points; 48-30 points in the paint).

For whatever reason, it never felt like the Celtics were ever really in this one. Los Angeles led 26-21 after the first quarter and 50-41 at the half despite a long two-pointer at the buzzer by Rajon Rondo.

LA started the second half on fire and opened it up to as much as a twenty point lead. Boston couldn't seem to cut it to a closer deficit than nine points.

Paul Pierce (24 points, 9 rebounds) was the only Celtic to bring anything close to a B- game or above. Rondo had 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Ray Allen was saddled with five fouls and that made his 12 points nearly invisible. Kendrick Perkins had eight points and Rasheed Wallace had nine points off the bench.

Ron Artest scored 15 for the Lakers, Andrew Bynum had 10 and Derek Fisher notched nine points.

LA shot 48.7% and Boston shot 43.3%. The Lakers only made four 3-pointers but the C's had just one. The only real positive number for Boston was on the free throw line (30 for 36) vs. LA's (24 for 31), an indication of how ugly this game was with countless players in foul trouble.

With the dumb format of Games 3-5 in Boston, I wouldn't term Sunday night a must-win but being down 2-0 and giving the Lakers more confidence is a much different scenario than being tied 1-1 heading back to the TD Garden.

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