NBA Finals: Game 1 Live Blog
Relive the Lakers’ great start.
LOS ANGELES — We in the house!
We got to our seats in the press section just in time for the National Anthem. It was apparently sang by Ozzie Osborne’s dad, or at least that’s what Lang tells me.
The crowd here sounds nervous, and a bit quiet. Not exactly a shocker considering where we are. Let’s see if the Lakers can give them something to get amped about early on.
Dwight easily wins the tip off. And…it’s go time!
Speaking of Mr. Howard, he opens the festivities by abusing Bynum inside for an easy two. Andrew comes back with a strong finish inside. Bynum vs Howard, it’s the NBA Finals on ABC!
After a Hedo baseline three, Bynum sinks a jumper. But Dwight answers with a nice running leftie hook. Battle of the bigs early on. 7-6 Magic.
The Artist Formerly Known as Derek Fisher with a putback. Which is quickly negated by a nice reverse layup from Hedo Turkoglu. I thought he was in there to only shoot threes?
Let the record show that it took Andrew Bynum just over four minutes to register his first foul of the night. Alright, we can build on this!
(Dwight, by the way, sinks one of two. We watched him hit a whole bunch of freebies prior to the game, so it’s safe to say he knew he’d be spending a lot of time at the line tonight.)
How do you say “he’s on fire!” in Turkish? Because Hedo is exactly that. After a goaltend by Dwight on a Kobe drive, Lakers lead 14-12.
The biggest cheer of the night so far comes after Bynum fakes Howard out of his shoes, and gets hit on the arm on a short jump hook. After the timeout, Andrew is going to the line. Tie game, 14-14.
Pietrus is in the game. He was still wearing Kobe Nikes during warmups, by the way. Can you guys confirm what he has on now?
Gasol, despite the height advantage over Lewis, is struggling with his shots from close range in the early going. Derek Fisher, though, is not. He cans a jumper to give the Lakers a 2 point lead with just over three minutes to go in the opening quarter.
As expected, Andrew Bynum commits an impressively awful foul on Howard near the hoop, his second of the night. Oy.
Speaking of awful fouls, Ariza picks up his second foul on a runner from Hedo Turkoglu. And we have a timeout.
Luke Walton with a nice feed inside to Pau for the dunk…On the other end, Dwight buries his head in Gasol’s chest (that had to hurt, by the way) and picks up his second foul of the night. Early foul trouble for the two centers. Lakers up 22-20.
Rafer with a nice runner across the lane, giving Orlando the two point lead as the seconds tick down….
Kobe has a layup spill out to close out the first quarter. 24-22, Magic.
It’s clear what the Laker strategy on defense is: They’re letting Dwight operate inside one-on-one, and staying home on all of the shooters. As a result, Orlando has only hit one threeball so far. We’ll see if this keeps up.
Jameer Nelson is in the game! This should be interesting.
Nelson finds Marcin Gortat for the cram, registering his first assist in what seems like three years. Rashard then hits a three on the ensuing possession.
Courtney Lee with a nice swipe inside on Gasol, and he’s rewarded on the other end by Jameer with a pretty feed for a layup. Nelson has clearly never heard of the word “rust”.
Lang and I are also tweeting during the game, and trying not to kill ourselves each time Kareem posts one of his unbelievably mundane tweets. Way to state the obvious, Cap.
Lakers regain the lead as Kobe steps around Courtney Lee for a bucket in the lane, 34-33. Leading to an Orlando timeout.
A semi-inspired “Magic sucks!” chant starts up in the crowd, and Lang adds the following: “They should show Magic Johnson on the jumbotron during this.”
Kobe is catching fire, hitting two consecutive jumpers from virtually the same spot. And of course the crowd loves it. Another timeout for Stan and the gang. 38-33, Lakers.
After a no-call on one end, Bynum picks up his third(!) of the night on a Dwight spin move. The crowd here is less than pleased, to say the least. Howard splits the pair of freebies.
Bryant finds Fish for a baseline three. Derek Fisher, ladies and germs. Lakers with their biggest lead of the night.
Howard is headed to the line again, after a hack by Pau Gasol.
Kobe with an absurd turnaround over Pietrus. Who, not to be outdone, hits an open three on the other end. Kobe then answers with another jumper. Could we be headed for a Bryant-Pietrus shootout? Um, no. No, we’re not.
The Candyman, AKA Lamar Odom, finishes a nice alley from Kobe. Lakers with their biggest lead so far, with just under two minutes remaining in the half.
Jameer with his first basket of the night. Quicky answered by Pau on the baseline. 49-41, LA.
Were it not for all of the ticky-tack fouls, the Lakers could easily be up 15 at this point. Orlando can’t connect from the arc, and Dwight has been relatively quiet. Meanwhile, the Lakers are getting whatever they want on the offensive end.
Kobe closes the half by slicing through the entire Orlando defense for a layup, giving him 20 points at halftime. Lakers lead 53-43. See you after the break….
Second half underway, and Kobe continues to sizzle. A layup and turnaround give him 24, and the Lakers a 14 point lead.
Rashard cuts into it with a baseline three, his first sign of life this evening. He does realize the Finals have started, doesn’t he?
Dwight just got gang-tackled by the entire Laker team, but only Lamar got the foul tagged to him. Seems a little unfair.
With Kobe going to the line, I guess we should mention that Andrew Bynum has four fouls. Come on, Phil. Put DJ Mbenga in the game!
I never thought I’d say this, but Howard looks really tentative in the post.
(Kobe Bryant, however, doesn’t know what tentative means. He just canned a jumper, plus the foul on Pietrus. The MVP chants are getting louder by the minute in here. 14-point Laker lead, and Bryant has 27 so far.)
The Triangle Offense, worked to perfection by Bryant, Gasol, and Odom. The latter is going to the line, after canning a short hook in the lane.
Following a nice feed inside to Pau from Kobe, Stan Van Gundy leaps off his chair and calls a timeout. Nice hops, coach. Maybe you could help your team snatch a board out there next time.
Some maniac near the Laker bench is wearing one of those gaudy championship jackets from, like, 2002. He is up and giving the refs an earful after the foul call on Fisher. So much for Laker fans being dispassionate.
Things are getting ugly, as Ariza swats a shot after a nice drive by Kobe.
Kobe may get 40 before the fourth quarter starts if this keeps up. And Pietrus may need to visit with a shrink following this game.
As the fourth gets underway, it’s a 23-point Laker lead after Jameer cans a shot. Orlando has erased huge leads numerous times this postseason, so this puppy isn’t over just yet.
Lamar just nearly blew the roof off this place, as he extended way above Gortat (Polish Smash!) for a layin, plus the foul. Lead up to 28 now. Is this really the NBA Finals?
Pietrus with a nice hanging bucket. He’s going to the line, as Luke hacked him on the arm. Timeout, LA.
Lil’ Wayne is in the hizzie, wearing a Laker tracksuit. The ladies, I’m told, are loving it.
Bynum and Howard are back in the game. I guess Phil wanted to make sure ‘Drew used up all of his fouls this evening. Speaking of which, he just split a pair at the line, giving LA a 27 point lead.
It’s pretty dead in here now. A 24-point lead by the hometeam will do that to you. Even in the NBA Finals, apparently.
Celeb-watch: Kanye in stunna shades, one of the Baldwins, some guy from Entourage, Jack Nicholson (who gets a huge cheer as always), David Arquette, plus Weezy and his Laker tracksuit.
The Magic have attempted 22 threes tonight, and hit only 7. Yikes.
As Kobe gets his fortieth point of the evening, pushing the lead back up to 24, Phil Jackson signals that he’s going to empty his bench. But not until we head to this commercial break.
With just under 2 minutes to go, the house is still pretty packed.
DJ Mbenga just got a huge ovation from the capacity crowd. In the NBA Finals. Think about that for a moment.
100-75 is the final score. Lakers take a 1-0 series lead. Kobe scores 40, and all is well in the City of Angels.
Off to the locker rooms for reactions …
That’s it from me tonight. Thanks for playing along. See you on Sunday for Game Two.