Well that was boring, despite the strong following for this year’s NBA Finals.
With the two most storied franchises in NBA history taking center stage, everyone thought the start of the series would bring back visions from yesteryears; Wilt vs. Russell, Bird vs. Magic, but we were all left gouging our eyes out for a full 48 minutes.
Not even comedians David Spade, Chris Rock, Kevin James, and Adam Sandler sitting courtside could lighten the mood.
The Lakers manhandled a hapless Boston Celtics team to the tune of 102-89 making for one of the more unmemorable finals games in recent memory, while giving Celtics fans every reason to stick their head in a toilet to forget about the ‘stink-fest’ that had just taken place.
From the get-go, it looked as if the Lakers would control the first of a seven game series and they did it in an overwhelming fashion.
Led by Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles took control quickly despite a concerted effort by the Celtics to make the game interesting. By half-time, you could say the game was over.
Bryant finished the night with 30 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, cementing his status as the best player in the world despite not even winning the 2010 NBA MVP. Bryant wasn’t the only Lakers player to put on a show, helped out by teammate Pau Gasol who owned the interior scoring 23 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
Boston struggled to find a rhythm during the early parts of the game, with multi-talented point guard Rajon Rondo held in check for much of the game. He finished with 13 points, eight assists, and six rebounds, but it clearly wasn’t enough to put the Celtics over the edge. Fellow teammate Paul Pierce led Boston with 24 points, despite going 0-for-4 on three-point attempts to go along with nine rebounds, four assists, and two blocked shots.
While still early, the Celtics have to change their game-plan for Game 2 Sunday night. Rondo clearly has to be more assertive in trying to outplay an older and slower Derek Fisher. For most of the night, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson used Bryant as his ‘Rondo-stopper’ and it looked like it worked to perfection. Boston will also have to defend the low-post area on both ends of the court.
The Lakers are clearly the ‘bigger’ team with guys like Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum on the court, but the Celtics need to step it up. They were out-rebounded 42-31 in Game 1 and if guys like Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, and Rasheed Wallace don’t take their heads out of you-know-what, Boston could be headed home down two games to zip.
One thing is for certain. If the Celtics don’t win Game 2, it could be a long series for everyone, not just Celtics fans.