Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NBA Finals: Boston Celtics @ Los Angeles Lakers - Game 1

The Boston Celtics brought their 'A' game to the STAPLES Center and left with a convincing victory, 101-85, courtesy of superior shooting and solid team chemistry on the floor.

The Los Angeles Lakers suffered from shooting woes all night, losing the shooting battle, 42% to Boston's 54%. Superstar, Kobe Bryant, only shot 30% (6-20) for a meager 14 points. Pau Gasol had a decent showing with 17 points and 10 rebounds, as did Dwight Howard (16 points, 13 rebounds). But LA's on-court flow, or lack thereof, was sorely distinguished from that of Boston, as LA lost the assists battle 17 to Boston's 24 and committed more turnovers.

Meanwhile, the Celtics addressed the issues that had cost them both regular season games against the Lakers, only losing the rebounding war by 5 and hitting the offensive glass to elicit plentiful rewards. Steve Nash finished with 21 points, but only 7 assists, another indication of LA's scrambled play. He was outmatched by Rajon Rondo, who while scoring 1 less in each category than Nash, was more effective at giving his teammates the ball, especially Josh Howard (29 points), who splashed in 7 amazing three-point shots by running around on the floor, using screens and defensive lapses to his advantage.

In Boston's front-court, Kevin Garnett had 14 points and Roy Hibbert's size helped Boston on the boards along with 2 monster jams. Paul Pierce (11 points, 35%) had a similar night to Kobe's, but luckily had other options to dish the ball to. The balanced effort on offense let everyone get rest on the bench, so when they came into the game, they were most effective. Kevin Martin strengthened Boston's lead with 13 points and Charlie Villanueva plopped in 12 points.

While LA stayed on Boston's heels, they failed to trim the lead to less than 6 and Boston's strong defense helped keep it that way. The Lakers should hope for a better scoring performance in Game 2 and try to increase the tempo despite Boston's urge to keep things slow in the half-court style. Ironically, Boston outscored LA in fast break points, 16 to 6. Regardless, Boston is definitely on the right path to a championship.

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