Tough Enough

For all the talk of the Celtics much-vaunted physicality, it was the Lakers who out-muscled their opponents in game 1 of the NBA Finals, winning in a trot – 102-89.  Really, the end result flattered the Celtics.
That it wasn’t 2008 became abundantly apparent with Gasol taking the game right to KG, finishing with 23 points, 14 boards, and 3 blocks.  Kobe continued where he left off against Phoenix, well… to a degree – 30 points, 7 boards, 6 assists (shooting in the high 40s %-wise) – a pretty damn good effort in a climate far more defensively intense than that which LA faced vs PHX.  No denying that Kobe – and the Lakers – were not the wide-eyed neophytes in this game.

From the very outset, Ron Artest was all over Priscilla Pierce like a postage stamp… the pair getting a double-tech from the outset. 
And largely, that set the tone of the game’s adjudication from the outset. Lots of whistle.
Lots of “Hey!  Look at me!” from the referees.
Pierce did well overall, but Ron helped set the defensive intensity for LA, and that was crucial.
Rondo did pretty well, especially a step-back long 2 shot at the end of the 1st quarter, but as is often the case with Rondo, he wasn’t completely there at the end of the game.  Suffice to say, he was definitely *limited* in his impact in the game by the Lakers help D.
The much-anticipated match-up between Gasol and Garnett was a bit of a non-event, as Pau slapped a collar on that doggie and took him for a walk.
KG: 16 points, 4 boards, 1 block.
A telling stat is that Garnett took about two thirds of his shots outside the paint.  Doesn’t exactly bespeak of confidence…
After a tight half, LA put the hammer down in the 3rd, racing out to 20 point lead by the last change.  By then, “… the game was in the refrigerator! The door’s closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the Jell-O is jiggling…”
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