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Lakers Batter Celtics in Game 1 of NBA Finals

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Here are some very pertinent stats in Game 1 of the NBA Finals:

  • Second Chance Points: 16-0
  • Points in the Paint: 48-30
  • Rebounds: 42-31

Back in 2008 these stats would clearly favor the Boston Celtics, but tonight it was all Lakers in their 102-89 thrashing of the Celtics.
The tone was set in the opening seconds of the game when Ron Artest and Paul Pierce wrestled each other to the floor and got double technical fouls. However it was the Lakers who took it and ran while the Celtics were doing all they could do tread water.

Pau Gasol, who was labeled as a big softie in those 2008 Finals, came up huge for the Lakers with 23 points in 8-of-14 shooting and 14 rebounds with eight coming off the offensive boards. In fact he was so physical that he flattened Glen “Big Baby” Davis right to the floor. Atonement much?

And the rest of the Lakers weren’t afraid to get physical either with a lot of the starters in foul trouble early. That meant the bench players would have to enter much to the dismay of everyone in our metropolis, but lo and behold they held their ground. They weren’t dominant, but they also didn’t muck things up which is a nice change of pace.

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But what was startling was just how scared the Celtics played.

Kevin Garnett was content to revert to his love of the jumpshot as if the paint were filled with glowing coals. Rajan Rondo, on the occasions when he drove to the hoop, decided to be cute and not make contact for a foul. Although he had 13 points in the game, only three of those were scored in the second half.

Pierce got his 24 points but was clearly harassed by Artest making only six field goals.

And the scary Celtic defense was like most things in LA: an illusion. The Lakers shot 48.7% and forced their will upon the Celtics.

Oh, and did I mention that Kobe Bryant had 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists?

If things keep up in this fashion, I’m going to have to eat some crow. I would like that with shaved black truffles and oodles of cheese, thank you very much.