What Went Right:
• Derek Fisher showed improvement from his disappointing series against the Spurs, tallying 15 points while making 4-9 shots from the field.
• As been the case for most of the post-season, Ray Allen struggled to find his shot, only making five of 13 field goals. However, he made some big shots down the stretch, absolving him of his poor shooting night.
• Despite shooting just 42% from the field, the good news for the Lakers is that Boston wasn’t able to do much better, matching the poor shooting number. The difference? The Celtics shot 35 free throws, nailing 28.
• The Lakers successfully weathered Boston’s early adrenaline onslaught, leading their rivals by five going into the locker room at halftime. Unfortunately, by the end of the third quarter, the Celtics flipped the script and pulled ahead by four.
• While the offense wasn’t always crisp in Game 1, the purple and gold can’t blame turnovers for their problems as they only gave it away eight times.
What Went Wrong:
• Paul Pierce’s emotional return from a third quarter injury to his knee ignited the Celtics just when it seemed like the Lakers were ready to seize control of the game. Overall, the longtime Boston forward had 22 points.
• Deja vu for L.A. as Boston outrebounded them by a hearty 13 boards (46-33) much the same way Utah did in the Second Round.
• Kobe knocked in 26 points, but the Celtic’s swarming defense held him to just 9-26 shooting on the night.
• Although the stat sheets says that the Lakers bench was outscored by only a single basket 17-15, they were not much of a factor in the game, with only Vujacic’s eight points having a temporary impact on the game. The opposite was the case for Boston as Sam Cassell chipped in a timely eight of his own to keep Mr. Momentum firmly on the Celtic’s side in the second half.
• Lamar Odom never really found his groove in his first Finals game, mustering just 14 points and six rebounds while displaying the inconsistency that has plagued him throughout this year’s post-season run.
• The Lakers had no answer for Kevin Garnett as the former Timberwolve got pretty much whatever he wanted down low, resulting in a team-high 24 points and 13 rebounds.
• Pau Gasol’s offensive woes in the playoffs continued as he finished with only 15 points despite a strong start to the game. Moreover, Gasol was unable to match the physical play of Kendrick Perkins and KG.
• The Lakers were unable to break the century mark for the third consecutive meeting against the Celtic this year, only managing to score 88–a clear sign that Boston’s vaunted defense won out over L.A.’s proficient offense, for Game 1 anyway.