The Celtics were expected to compete with the Lakers because of their defense, but with 19 fouls called in the first quarter of Game 1, Boston never got a chance to be physical.
It's only Game 2 of the NBA Finals, but things are already getting tight for a Boston Celtics
squad that got pummeled by the Los Angeles Lakers
in Game 1. The Celtics will attempt to even the series Sunday night.
Most offshore sports books monitored by the Don Best odds product have opened Los Angeles as a six-point home favorite, with a total of 189½-points. The Lakers have jumped up to -300 series favorites after opening at -175.
The Lakers captured and covered Game 1 as six-point favorites, 102-89. The combined 191 points landed directly on the closing total.
The Lakers were never really challenged in the second-half, taking a 20-point cushion into the fourth quarter. They improved to 9-0 SU and 6-3 ATS at home during the current playoff campaign. The 89 points surrendered was the Lakers' lowest since Game 5 in the opening round against Oklahoma City.
Though the ‘under' is 2-0-1 in the Lakers' last three games, the ‘over' was 10-1-1 in their prior 12 contests.
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Los Angeles was the aggressor in Game 1 and it showed up in rebounding (42-31), points in the paint (48-30) and second-chance points (16-0).
Phil Jackson's squad lost the 2008 Finals due to Boston's toughness and borderline intimidation. Lakers' power forward Pau Gasol
was controlled by Kevin Garnett
in that series, but the Spaniard was very aggressive Thursday en route to scoring 23 points and grabbing 14 boards.
Kobe Bryant was again brilliant, notching 30 points. He has 30 points or more in 11 of his last 12 games.
The Celtics didn't look anything like the team that blew through Miami, Cleveland and Orlando in the first three playoff rounds.
There were 19 total fouls called in the first quarter alone. That was bad news for Boston, as the refs made sure the game wouldn't get too physical. Ray Allen, who was whistled for three early fouls, had just 12 points in 27 minutes.
Boston shot 43.3 percent from the floor and just 1-of-10 from three-point land. The Celts also allowed the Lakers' starters to shoot 50 percent from the floor. The Celtics had allowed an average of just 91.4 PPG in their first three playoff series.
After going 4-0 both SU and ATS on the road, Boston has now been easily handled in its last two away games
The Celtics will look to their Cleveland series for inspiration. They dropped Game 1 on the road 101-93, before a 104-86 blowout win. Boston swept the first two road games in the Orlando conference finals, but this is its toughest test yet.
There are some ominous stats for Boston regarding this series. Phil Jackson's Lakers and Bulls teams have won 47 straight playoff series after winning Game 1.
Also, teams that go up 2-0 in the NBA Finals seldom lose. Boston will play Games 3-5 at home in the controversial 2-3-2 format, but it's very hard to sweep the middle three.
Injury talk was plentiful before Game 1. Andrew Bynum's drained knee was a concern for the Lakers. Rajon Rondo and Rasheed Wallace had back issues for the Celtics.
Bynum gave Los Angeles 28 very solid minutes (10 points, six rebounds). Rondo didn't look great with 6-of-14 shooting and eight assists. Much of that was due to the bigger Bryant guarding him.
ABC will have the earlier 5 p.m. (PT) broadcast from Staples Center.