Ford Keys to the Game

Celtics 89, Lakers 102

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Rasheed Wallace

Rasheed Wallace leaps over the courtside seats at Staples Center after chasing down a loose ball and attempting to save it back inbounds to his teammate, Nate Robinson, during the second half of Game 1.
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

The Celtics seemed to be a step slow and an inch short from the get-go tonight, but they still managed to hang around with the Lakers heading into the second half. At the break, Los Angeles led by only nine points despite one of the worst halves Boston had put together in the entire playoffs. In the third quarter, however, the Celtics' poor play was exploited and the Lakers opened up a commanding cushion that they would never relinquish.

The third period was Kobe Bryant's biggest quarter, and he was the reason why the Lakers were able to pull away. He finished with 30 points on the night, and nearly half of them (14) came in the third. Bryant put on a show, nailing shots form as deep as 22 feet while also slamming home a dunk and hitting four free throws.

While he was red-hot at one end of the court for the entire quarter, Boston's offense disappeared over the final three-plus minutes. Its only points in the final 3:17 of the period came from two Rasheed Wallace free throws. In that time span, the Celtics managed to take only four shots and they missed all of them. Boston also committed five personal fouls in that short time span, and Rasheed Wallace was whislted for his fifth technical of the playoffs, too.

When the end of that ugly quarter finally arrived, Bryant had carried the Lakers to a 20-point lead that seemed completely out of reach considering how each respective squad was playing. The Celtics did reach within themselves to put together one last fight, cutting the lead to 11 with 4:11 to play, but Los Angeles responded and put the game away with a Ron Artest 3-pointer that put the Lakers back up by 15 with less than two minutes to play.

It was a struggle for Boston at both ends of the court for the first three quarters of the game, but if there is a positive to take out of tonight, it was the inspired play in the final period that helped the C's outscore the Lakers 25-18. The final stanza was played with the intensity we've come to expect out of this Boston team during the 2010 postseason, and the hope is that they will ride that type of play right into Game 2 Sunday night.

Key Box Score Line

A quick look at the Celtics' box score would make you think that they hung in this game with similar balanced production to what they've gotten all postseason long. That box score, however, is relatively misleading, as Paul Pierce was the only Celtic who left a standing impact on the game.

Boston's captain got off to a great start, scoring nine points to go along with three rebounds in the first quarter. The second quarter was a struggle (zero points, two rebounds), but he regained his rhythm again in the second half. He went on to finish with team-highs of 24 points and nine rebounds, while also chipping in four assists and two blocks. Pierce shot the ball very well tonight, making six of his 13 field goal attempts (including 6-of-9 from inside the arc) as well as 12 of his 13 free throw attempts.

The C's will need more of the same from Pierce to grab a win in Game 2, coupled with some improved all around play from his teammates.

Box Score Nuggets

  • The Celtics were plus-10 in scoring during 13 minutes of playing time from Nate Robinson. He dished out four assists compared to no turnovers during that time.
  • Kobe Bryant recorded a game-high of 30 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists.
  • Boston was outrebounded 42-31, including 12-8 in offensive rebounds.
  • Of the Lakers' 12 offensive rebounds, eight came from Pau Gasol.
  • Each team attempted 10 3-pointers, with Los Angeles making four and Boston making only one.
  • Gasol finished with a game-high 14 boards to go along with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
  • The Celtics actually finished with more assists (19) than the Lakers (18).
  • Los Angeles outscored Boston 48-30 in the paint and 12-5 in fast break points.
  • Both teams shot fantastic from the free-throw line: 30-of-36 for Boston and 24-of-31 for Los Angeles.
  • Rajon Rondo dished out a game-high eight assists.
  • Ray Allen, hampered by foul trouble, played only 27 minutes and finished with five fouls.
  • Paul Pierce recorded team-highs of 24 points, nine rebounds and 45:39 of playing time.
  • Gasol was the only player on the court more often than Pierce, as he finished with 46:34 of playing time.
  • Rasheed Wallace scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds off the bench for the C's.
  • Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins combined for only seven rebounds, which is one less rebound than Gasol grabbed solely on the offensive glass.
  • Garnett finished with 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting.

Quote of the Night

Paul Pierce on what makes a good rebounding team: "It's effort, there's no skill. There's no designed play to get rebounds. It's just about the mentality you've got to have when that ball goes up, when the ball is loose, to go out there and get it, simple as that."