What a fabulous time for basketball in the City of Angels……Los Angeles and Boston. Led by Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Phil Jackson the defending world champion Lakers are in the thick of their third straight NBA Finals and facing them, their arch rivals, KG, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics. INCREDIBLE!
63 champions in the history of “the Association” and these two teams have combined to win 32 of them. Boston has won 17 titles in 21 tries while the L.A./Minneapolis Lakers have earned 15 championships in a staggering 30 tries.
Think about it. The Lakers have represented the West in almost half of the finals while the Celtics have represented the East in a third of them. INCREDIBLE!
This is the 12th time these franchises have clashed head-to-head for the title with the Celtics winning a lop-sided nine of the first eleven including the one two seasons ago.
Lakers came out with purpose in game one of the 12th installment, their 31st finals appearance, at Staples Center in Los Angeles Thursday night beating the Celtics, 102-89.
The Lakers had everything going especially on the defensive end looking like the Celtics usually do……………STRAIGHT UP, PHYSICAL!
Meanwhile, the Celtics looked old, beat up and just plain tired.
The Lakers out-rebounded the Celtics, 42-31. The Lakers limited the Celtics to one for 10 from the three-point line and took the all-important “second chance points” category, 16-0. Quite uncharacteristic of the Celtics.
Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant led everyone with 30 points. Pau Gasol had 23 points to go along with 14 rebounds. Finals “rookie” Ron Artest had 15 points but gave Celtics forward Paul Pierce fits on the defensive end. Pierce did have 24 points but those were mostly in garbage time. Same goes for Kevin Garnett. He had 16 for Boston but looked like his knees were smarting and was completely out-played by Gasol.
OK. Remember, it’s just game one. In four other meetings between the two teams in the finals, the Lakers have taken the first game only to see the Celtics come back to win three of their 17 championships.
You can bet the Celtics will play more like themselves come game two Sunday back at Staples. They’re champions and Celtic Pride is quite a force when summoned.
Expect game two to be much closer and much more physical on both ends. Expect the Lakers to get a hard-fought win and a two-zero series lead going into Boston for the middle three games of the series next week. ENJOY!
- God bless “The Wizard of Westwood“, 99-year old John R. Wooden.
- The former UCLA Basktball Coach who led the Bruins to 10 NCAA Championships lies in grave condition. Talk about a man who lived by “carpe diem“.
- Considering freshmen couldn’t play when Wooden coached and he practically had to change his roster every three years, Wooden is the greatest coach in team sports history.
- Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” is a blue print for, not only sports, but life in general.
- As a sports fan who was raised in Los Angeles loving the Los Angeles Rams, Lakers, Kings and Dodgers, is it wrong that my favorite baseball player is New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter? As a fan mind you, I CAN’T STAND THE YANKEES!
- LeBron may be known as “King James.” But Kobe Bryant’s “The Lord of the Rings.”
- “King James” might be the reigning two-time NBA MVP, “Kid Kobe” is STILL the best basketball player on the planet.