ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
The formerly soft LA Lakers convincingly beat the Boston Celtics 102-89 in Game 1 of the 2010 NBA Finals. In my Finals Preview, I predicted several reasons why LA would dominate this series. These predictions held, and the Lakers had a relatively easy win. There were moments when it seemed like the Celtics would get back into the game but they never did.
Things the Lakers did well
Pau Gasol & Andrew Bynum dominated Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins even though Bynum only played a few minutes in the second half (not sure if he even played in the fourth quarter). Gasol (23 points and 14 rebounds) outplayed Garnett and Perkins who together put up 24 and 7 rebounds. Bynum's numbers (10 points and 6 rebounds) may not look significant but he created openings for his teammates since the Celtics have to keep someone on him when he's near the hoop. He was also able to tap rebounds & loose balls to himself or teammates. Gasol and Bynum were largely responsible for the Lakers 16-0 advantage in second chance points.
LA's backcourt switched so that Kobe Bryant guarded Rajon Rondo. Early in the game Rondo created several scoring opportunities when Kobe left him near the hoop to help with post defense. For the rest of the game, Kobe did a good job of staying in front of Rondo and not leaving Rondo to help.
On offense, Kobe pretty much did whatever he wanted on his way to 30 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. He didn't have a great shooting night (10-22) but he was able to score and create shots for others. Kobe got into trouble a few times when he tried to shoot over two/three Celtics or pass after the defense was all over him.
Although Lamar Odom was mired in foul trouble during most of the game, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown came off the bench to give the Lakers some good minutes. Both guards were able to penetrate and collapse the Celtics' interior defense. Brown got to the rim at will. As a big guard, he creates some of the same matchup problems that Kobe does.
Ron Artest played extremely well on both ends of the court. This was despite getting into foul trouble late in the first quarter which prevented him from playing much of the second quarter. Sure Pierce ended up with 24 but Ron made him work for every point. He also played great defense when he rotated onto a center or power forward. Ron played well on offense hitting from all over the floor including three three-pointers.
Things the Celtics did well
Paul Pierce had a huge game (24 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists) even though Ron Artest played tough defense against him. Half of his points came from the free-throw line but he did miss all four of his three-point shots. His ability to get to the line could benefit the Celtics later in the series by getting LA's big men in foul trouble and creating open looks for his teammates.
Despite meager (12 points and 7 rebounds) numbers, Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis had productive contributions. They were both able to dictate how they wanted to play instead of being pushed around by Gasol and Bynum. Davis also did a great job when defending Gasol. He was able to push Gasol out to the three point line instead of allowing him to get the ball at the high post. And when Gasol went into the low post, Davis had already pushed him from his comfort zone.