Kobe Bryant scored 30 points and Los Angeles won Game 1, 102-89, Thursday night at the Staples Center behind great defense and rebounding.
The Los Angeles Lakers held Boston to just 43% from the floor and the Celtics only one made three-pointer. Los Angeles also out-rebounded Boston 42-31, outscoring the Celtics 10-0 on second chance points in the first half.
Both Bryant and Pao Gasol (23 points, 14 rebounds) were fantastic offensively for the Los Angeles Lakers. Because the Lakers shot so well–49% from the field– Boston had trouble igniting the fast break, scoring just 5 fast break points for the game.
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo had 13 points and 8 assists, but he took 14 shots and was unable to set the pace for a suddenly dysfunctional Celtics offense. The Big Three shot a combined 16-37 from the floor and the lone bright spot for the Celtics was the 13 free throws Paul Pierce was able to generate while Ron Artest guarded him.
Pierce finished the game with a team–leading 24 points and,even more telling, a team-leading 9 rebounds. Pierce and Rondo–not Kendrick Perkins or Kevin Garnett– were the only Celtics with more than 5 rebounds.
The Lakers led 50-41 at halftime and the game did not get much closer the rest of the way. Bryant had 14 third-quarter points, leading a third-quarter charge that gave the Lakers their biggest lead of the game at 20 points, 84-64. Boston never recovered after a poor third quarter, despite multiple mini-runs that cut the lead to 11.
More coverage and analysis to come tomorrow at Celtics Town. Stay tuned.