June 4, 2010

Lakers Show Toughness in the NBA Finals Game 1

The Los Angeles Lakers are making us forget that they were deemed "soft" two years ago.

From the take-down action between Ron Artest and Boston's Paul Pierce to Pau Gasol's dominance in the low blocks, the Lakers set the physical tone throughout their victory in Game 1 of the 2010 NBA Finals. The Lakers out-rebounded, out-hustled, and out-played their historic rivals in a game that showed how evolved the team has become.

Apologies to Kobe Bryant, but the MVP of Game 1 for me is Pau Gasol. Gasol scored 23 points on 57% shooting, but his game-high 14 rebounds and 3 blocks were more noteworthy. Moreover, his eight offensive rebounds matched that of the Celtics' offensive rebounds as a team. This clearly mirrors the Lakers' intensity in Game 1.

Another huge boost for the Lakers was their bench play. Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown made key plays when foul trouble plagued the starters. Sasha Vujacic was able to help the Lakers maintain the lead by not making a huge bonehead play. A huge game from Lamar Odom was not needed as Andrew Bynum was not in foul trouble the whole game (surprise!)

Game 1's are critical as the team that wins the first game of the Finals usually would go on to win the title. But for now, I'm not yet ready to proclaim the Lakers as the next champs. The Lakers have to defend their home court and beat the Celtics in their home floor for me to really feel better.

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