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The game went back and forth the whole night and it was a battle throughout, but the Celtics were able to pull off a victory in this historic revival of the old Celtics and Lakers rivalry. The Celtics won this one, 98-88, and took an early 1-0 series lead. There were some scary injuries, a lot of lead changes, and great bench play that added up to a great game in the end.
The Big Three shined once again, but they did not have to do all the work in this one. Kevin Garnett lead the way 24 points and 13 rebounds, Ray Allen had 19 points and 8 rebounds, and Paul Pierce added 22 points. The scary thing with Pierce was when he hurt himself in the third quarter and had to be carried off the court and then wheeled out in a wheel chair back to the locker room. However, like Larry Bird and Willis Reed in the past, Pierce came roaring back to the game later on in the third and hit two clutch three pointers.
Rajon Rondo added 15 points and 7 assists. Every Celtic who came off the bench scored. Sam Cassell came out strong in the first half off the bench and finished with 8 points and P.J. Brown continued to play great minutes late in the game and grabbed 6 rebounds and blocked a shot.
The Lakers were led by none other than Kobe Bryant who had 24 points. Pau Gasol had 15 points and 8 rebounds, Derek Fisher had 15 points and 6 assists, and Lamar Odom had 14 points. The Lakers did provide a scare a few times, but the Celtics seemed to be in control of the game whenever it really mattered, especially in the fourth quarter. Bryant had an un-Kobe-like night, but do not expect this out of him the rest of the way. Kobe will explode at some point much like Lebron James did after he slumped with Cleveland against the Celts earlier in the playoffs.
This game was decided by a huge dunk by Kevin Garnett off of a missed three-pointer by James Posey in the fourth quarter. I keep coming back to the Cleveland series for comparison and I will again: the dunk reminded me of Lebron James’s huge dunk against the Celtics in game 3 of the Cleveland series. James was said to “have no regard for human life” by the broadcasters during that dunk. It was just a symbol of Cleveland’s playing that night and Garnett’s dunk just seemed to seal the deal for the Celtics and show how much of a force they are.
Tags: Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Derek Fisher, James Posey, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers, Lamar Odom, LeBron James, NBA Finals, P.J. Brown, Pau Gasol, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Sam Cassell