The Los Angeles Lakers had their way with the Boston Celtics in Game One of the NBA Finals Thursday night at Staples Center. Boston was outworked, out hustled and thoroughly embarrassed by the defending NBA champs and now it is time to look for an over reaction.
NBA analysts began heaping on praise immediately following the game and many were extolling the play of Pau Gasol over an aging Kevin Garnett. Don’t get too caught up in the hype that followed followed the Lakers shellacking of Boston. The Lakers have been good at home but Boston should be able to suck it up and give them a game on Sunday.
Pau Gasol remains the key to Los Angeles winning the NBA Finals.
The battle on the boards and in the paint is the key to this NBA Finals. Paul Gasol needs to continue attacking the basket and heading straight for Kevin Garnett every game as he did in the first game of the NBA Finals. Gasol said before the NBA Finals that he has wanted this match up since he was called soft against Garnett in their 2008 NBA Finals battle.
In 2008 Kevin Garnett had his way with Gasol and Gasol has been on a mission to check Garnett off his list. By the time this NBA Finals is over, Gasol may erase Garnett from the NBA if he continues to hammer him as he did in Game One. Gasol has risen to the occasion but now he has to be consistent and keep Garnett on his heels.
Los Angeles needs to focus in their games in Boston just as they are in the Staples Center.
Los Angeles as a team had one purpose in mind when they walked out onto the floor of Staples Center Thursday. The Lakers one singular focus was to drive to the hole and make contact. Knowing that Boston was still banged up and an older team, Los Angeles made them feel much older when the dragged themselves off the court on Thursday.
Look no further than team leader Kobe Bryant, to see how focused this team was. Boston had embarrassed Kobe and Gasol in their NBA Final Series in 2008 and Kobe was in a zone scoring 30 and making contact whenever possible.
The X factor Lamar Odom needs to show up in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Lamar Odom can be one of the best NBA big men in the league when he is motivated. The problem is why does he need to motivated in the NBA Finals. This is Odom’s stage to steal in these NBA Finals, the title is his to grab and he needs to respond. If Odom scores 22-25 in any NBA Final, Los Angeles will win easily. Look for Odom to come with his A game in Game Two.
Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers -6 NBA Final Word.
The Los Angeles Lakers will rise to the occasion and beat Boston to sweep the home games in the Staples Center. The only question that remains is can Boston cover the six points? Boston will want revenge for their blowout loss in Game One and they will force Los Angeles to change up their game plan. Look for Boston to even sit Garnett more in the first half to have fresh legs in the second half. Take Boston +6 to cover but lose by 3-4 points.
www.nba.com Lakers & Celtics stats.