I love this game. Like several other great Game 1's we have seen throughout these playoffs, the epic Celtics Lakers Finals tipped off with another amazing game. Here are some quick first thoughts:
- REBOUNDS - Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom need to learn how to box out. The Lakers were constantly missing out on critical rebounds, most notably Kevin Garnett's thunderous putback dunk after Posey's three point miss late in the fourth quarter. The teams shot nearly identical from the field (32-77 and 32-76) but the Celtics outrebounded the Lakers 46-33.
- PIERCE COMEBACK - Paul Pierce's Willis Reed moment coming back in the third quarter after being wheeled away with an ugly knee injury. This is more homecourt advantage than anything else, as adrenaline led Pierce to hit a couple big three point baskets. It will be interesting to see if this injury lasts.
- KOBE - 9 of 26 from the field is not going to do it in Boston. Kobe may have forced a couple tough shots, but those same shots can and will go in, and then we can and will be having a completely different story.
- RAY ALLEN - Do not underestimate the presence of Ray Allen. Jesus Shuttlesworth does not need to score or be popping threes to be effective. Notice the great spacing the Celtics have when Ray is on the floor, running around and spotting up. The Lakers cannot cheat off him on defense, and were often trapping him out of screens, freeing up other players for shots.
- SAM CASSELL - Although he made some important shots, Sam also turned the ball over in situations where the Celtics could have blown the game wide open. Doc Rivers should think about giving Eddie House some time.
- PJ BROWN - Perhaps the most important forgotten player. Brown was big on the boards of course, not to mention keeping Kobe and the Lakers out of the lane.
- Looks like we have a classic series coming our way. Here is hoping this is where amazing happens.