Game 1 Thoughts

The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics squared off in Game 1 of their highly touted NBA Finals Series last night in Boston. The Celtics prevailed 98-88. Here are some of my thoughts on the game.

  • First and foremost, the Celtics won the game. There were some questionable calls and a lot of in-n-outs, but those can always be excuses; the Celtics played well and won the game.

  • The biggest reason the Celtics won is with what has been plaguing the Lakers since Andrew Bynum went down with a season-ending injury. Rebounding and interior toughness. The Celtics won the rebounding battle (46-33). Pau Gasol had 0 rebounds in the 1st half and only 3 points in the 2nd half. Pau needs to be more assertive on offense and needs to find a man and box him out on every defensive possession. Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe grabbed several key offensive rebounds with Gasol merely standing and watching.

  • Some of this blame also has to goto Lamar Odom. Throughout his career, he has been one of the most talented players in the league. A 6-10 Power Forward with guard-like handles. The problem with LO is that he is also one of the most inconsistent players in the league. He has improved this season especially after the acquisition of Gasol, but he needs to take it to another level if the Lakers want to win this series. Six rebounds in 40+ minutes is unacceptable.

  • It should also be noted that neither Lamar or Gasol are centers, they are both quick, versatile power forwards. Off the bench comes Ronny Turiaf, a more raw, tougher power forward. Still, the lack of a true center is what has hurt the Lakers. On another note, if you could combine the skill level of Gasol with the defense, toughness, and aggressiveness of Turiaf, you would find a player in the same league as a Tim Duncan. Bold statement, I know, but think about it.

  • The dramatics of Paul Pierce are another reason the Celtics were able to gain momentum and pull out the victory. I mean, come on, carried off the court and then in a wheelchair only to return a few minutes later running the fast break and banging 3’s with no noticeable limp. A bit of a drama queen if you ask me. But it was a knee injury and basketball players do freak out when they feel something weird happen in their knees. Pierce coming out to the ‘Rocky’ theme was a nice touch by the Celtics sound crew.

  • Sam Cassell is one of the more selfish players in the NBA. I, as a Laker fan, was glad to see him jack up early shots and make them. The cockiness from those shots led him to take several bad ones down the stretch. He never ran the offense when he was in; he dribbled around a few screens looking for an inch of space to jack up a shot.

  • Phil Jackson is going to have to play Trevor Ariza in this series, because Paul Pierce torched Vladimir Radmanovic.

  • The key to the Celtics win was their great 4th quarter defense. They held the Lakers to 15 points. Kobe took way too many jump shots as he tends to do at times. I do not know if this was due to the Celtics defense or Kobe’s unwillingness to drive into the lane, but Kobe needs to change his game plan.

  • Kobe’s defense needs to improve. He is a great help defender, but his tendency to over-help hurts the team as shown on two key Paul Pierce 3’s in the 3rd quarter.

  • Ray Allen played well, but Sasha Vujacic did a solid job on him save for a couple dumb fouls. Sasha’s defense will improve as the series goes on, but that is a key matchup to watch as Sasha is pretty much their 6th starter in these playoffs.

  • My biggest gripe about the game is that stupid HUGE NBA Championship trophy at mid-court. What the heck is the point of a half-court stripe if you cannot see it. There were two key plays called against the Lakers that were possibly muffed because of the lack of visibility of the half-court line. I have a feeling this will be changed next season.

  • Lastly, Laker fans should be concerned but not worried. This is the fifth Game 1 that Phil Jackson has lost during his run as a head coach. 3 of the first 4 still led to NBA Titles. Phil is arguable the best coach in the NBA at making mid-game and series adjustments. The Celtics showed that they have what it takes to win the NBA Title, now it is up to the Lakers to show the same in a pivotal Game 2 matchup Sunday in Boston.

I will be on vacation for the next week, so my next update will not be until after Game 4 in L.A.

Please disagree with me and leave comments or perhaps even agree. Thanks for reading.

838 Words