Quantcast 2010 NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics


NBA Finals - Game 1 Recap

L.A. Lakers 102, Boston 89 - Lakers lead series, 1-0


Phil Jackson's 47-0 series record when winning Game 1 is not the fact that should trouble the Boston Celtics the most after Thursday's lid-lifter of the 2010 NBA Finals.

The numbers 48, 30, 16, and 0 should bother coach Doc Rivers and the rest of a green-shirted group that just didn't compete as well as the Los Angeles Lakers. As a result, the 2008 NBA champions face an uphill battle in the attempt to dethrone the 2009 title-holders.

It was an old-fashioned beatdown at the Staples Center in this renewal of professional basketball's ultimate rivalry. The Celtics and Lakers have met in 11 NBA Finals (9-2 Celtics), and they've combined to win 32 of the league's 62 championships, more than 50 percent. The hype meter was off the charts for Game 1 in Los Angeles, but the Lakers - intent on gaining revenge for their six-game loss to the C's in the 2008 Finals - put an end to the drama by rolling to a 20-point lead (84-64) after three quarters.

What about those four numbers mentioned above? The 48 and 30 refers to the scorecard in the paint, where the Lakers posted 48 points and the Celtics only 30. The 16 and 0 deal with second-chance points. The Lakers got 16 and the Celtics none. Yes, that's right - none. L.A. post player Pau Gasol gained more offensive rebounds (8) than the total number of boards swiped by Boston big men Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins combined (7). The Lakers whipped Boston on the glass by a 42-31 margin as well. It was a comprehensive rout within 10 feet of the rim, as the gold-shirted Lakers took the fight to the Celtics, just as everyone in the City of Angels said they had to do. In 2008, it was Boston dishing out most of the punishment while Gasol and the rest of the Lakers were comparatively soft. This year, the bigs are different on both sides. Garnett in particular looked slow and creaky, while Gasol - whipped in the last two games of his Western Conference Finals series against the Phoenix Suns - looked like a very tough customer.

The Celtics made a modest push in the fourth quarter after they fell behind by 20, but they never got within single digits of the Lakers, submitting to their fate in a rather lopsided affair. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong for the 2008 NBA champions, who were hoping to win Game 1 just as they did two years ago against the Lake Show in the Finals.

Ray Allen picked up two early fouls and racked up even more whistles when he re-entered the game later on. He had five fouls before the third quarter ended and didn’t hit a single three-point shot. Allen posted just 12 points.  Kendrick Perkins scored just eight points and grabbed only three rebounds. No one stepped up for the Celtics, who need a substantially better effort just to play the Lakers on even terms.

Los Angeles clearly wanted the game a lot more and prevented Boston from ever getting any kind of foothold. It was partly like a give-away game in which the Lakers didn’t have to spill the tank. They won a game with minimal resistance, and can now stay fresh for Game 2.

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The Celtics are in huge trouble. Garnett didn’t look physically liberated. Rajon Rondo’s back was tight during the game, and he didn’t orchestrate his offense the way his teammates and coaching staff had hoped. (Rondo dished out a modest eight dimes and grabbed only six boards.) Kobe Bryant scored 30 points for the Lakers, but the superstar didn’t dominate the proceedings. Why? He never really needed to. Ron Artest played a fabulous high-energy game for L.A. and set a very positive tone for his team… not just in Game 1, but for the whole series.

All in all, this is a different situation compared to 2008. The Lakers, not the Celtics, are the deeper team, unlike two years ago.

Boston needs to act fast on Sunday in Game 2. Otherwise, this series could get ugly - and end quickly.


By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer

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