Pau Gasol led the defensive charge as the Lakers challenged and contested every move the Celtics made. Pau grabbed 14 rebounds, blocked three shots, and added 23 points as the Lakers defeated the Celtics 102-89 at the Staples Center. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers offensive charge with 30 points, six assists, and seven rebounds.
Ron Artest scored 15 points after being issued a double technical, along with Paul Pierce, a mere 27 seconds into the opening game of the 2010 NBA Finals. Los Angeles outhustled and outworked Boston all night long. They held the Celtics to 43.3% shooting and outrebounded them 42-31. The Lakers were more physical and simply took whatever they wanted in Game 1.
If the Celtics hope to win their 18th championship banner they will have to find a way to take at least one game from the Lakers at the Staples Center. Game 2 will be their next opportunity to do so.
2010 NBA Finals Schedule
Game 1: Thursday, June 3, Boston Celtics 89 at Los Angeles Lakers 102, Lakers lead series 1-0
Game 2: Sunday, June 6, Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers, 5:00 PM PDT
Game 3: Tuesday, June 8, Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics, 6:00 PM PDT
Game 4: Thursday, June 10, Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics, 6:00 PM PDT
Game 5: Sunday, June 13, Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics, 5:00 PM PDT (if necessary)
Game 6: Tuesday, June 15, Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers, 6:00 PM PDT (if necessary)
Game 7: Thursday, June 17, Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers, 6:00 PM PDT (if necessary)
Down 1-0 in the series the Celtics will have to be much more aggressive in Game 2. In Game 1 Boston allowed too much dribble penetration and gave up 48 points in the paint. On Sunday look for the Celtics to be much more physical and aggressive on the defensive end. Boston will try to clog the lane and force the Lakers guards to take more jump shots. When the Lakers do penetrate the paint expect the Celtics to give a hard foul or two to try to discourage them.
Offensively the Celtics will try to get out in transition and score some easy buckets; the fewer times they have to run their half-court sets against the Lakers’ length the better off they will be.
Look for Boston to spread the floor and run high screen-roll from their half-court sets in an effort to pull the Lakers big men from the basket. This is how the Celtics will try to create driving and passing lanes for Rajon Rondo.
Boston will continue to run Ray Allen off a multitude of picks. At times he will flare to the corner looking for the short-corner three. But look for him to curl to the basket off of some of those screens (especially early in the game) to try to get some easy layups. Allen may also pop out to the wing area off of a few of those picks and then attack the rim if the driving lanes are there.
If the Lakers want to maintain their home-court advantage they will have to play Game 2 with even more grit, determination, and focus than they exhibited in Game 1. They cannot rest on their laurels and think that the effort they gave in Game 1 will be enough to deter the Boston Celtics. Los Angeles will have to maintain their focus throughout the game and not allow Boston’s physical play to distract them from the task at hand.
The Lakers must continue to be aggressive on the defensive end. Expect them to challenge and contest everything the Celtics do. If the Celtics do run high pick-and-roll look for the Lakers big men to half show and then try to get back to cut off Rondo’s driving lanes.
In Game 1 Paul Pierce scored 13 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and seemed to finally find a rhythm. Artest will do what he can early in the game to keep Pierce from getting any open looks. Ron must defend Pierce without putting him on the foul line. If Pierce gets to the free-throw line Artest will have to work that much harder to try to keep him in check.
In Game 2 expect Kobe Bryant to take whatever the Celtics’ defense gives him. If there are gaps in their defense look for Kobe to attack those gaps and get to the rim. If the Celtics close down the driving lanes by sending extra defenders at him look for Bryant to find the open teammate or take the mid-range pull-up jumper. If for some strange reason Kobe finds himself open on the perimeter he will not hesitate to lift up and take the open jumper.
Game 2 of the 2010 NBA Finals will be a physical battle. The Celtics will play hard and try to get the Lakers to thinking instead of playing basketball. Los Angeles will maintain their focus, keep their composure and remain undefeated at the Staples Center in the 2010 NBA Playoffs.
Click here for a series preview of the 2010 NBA Finals.
Click here for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Road to the 2010 NBA Finals.
Click here for the Boston Celtics’ Road to the 2010 NBA Finals.
Information from NBA Championships: Year by Year Champions, 2010 NBA Finals Schedule, Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers-Recap-June 03, 2010 and Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers-Play By Play-June 03, 2010 was used for this article.