Friday, June 4th, 2010 at 5:30 am  |  53 responses

NBA Finals: Game 1 Report

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

With all the talk about the humiliation they faced at the hands of the Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals — how they were outrebounded, out-toughed, got their “manhood” taken away, and so on — you knew the Lakers would come out with a vengeance to kick start these NBA Finals.

L.A. did just that: the Lakers grabbed more boards (42 -31); the guards neutralized Rondo to some extent (though he did end up with 13/8/6); and the Lakers’ two biggest stars outshined Boston’s stars (Kobe and Gasol were simply spectacular last night.)

Walking around Staples Center, you could feel that things had changed since 2008. Back then, when I talked to folks in the stadium, there really was no hatred of the Celtics. Instead, people spoke of how “cool” or “neat” it was that L.A. and Boston were playing for the championship again. Not this time around.

“Boston Sucks!” chants could be heard well before tip-off, and the crowd was loud from beginning to well past the final whistle.

Due to the soul-crushing traffic in Los Angeles, it took me nearly two hours to drive from where I’m staying in Hollywood to the arena, and I was unable to make it down to Staples early enough for all the press conferences and pregame fun (though, Lang did). However, I did stick around long enough after the game to jot some notes down.

Here are some of the things I spotted and heard while taking it all in following Game 1 of the 2010 Finals:

-The immortal (and omnipresent) Jimmy Goldstein was stalking the hallways beneath the Staples Center, and so was Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant — with their two daughters in tow. And even though Vanessa was talking and laughing easily with a friend of hers, I maintain that she’s more intimidating that 99% of the players in the League, and that includes her husband.

-I ended up sharing an elevator with Brent Barry, and was shocked to see how many people stopped him and asked to take pictures. I guess they must like his NBA TV work. That, or they still remember the warmup jacket he wore during his Dunk Contest triumph.

-’Sheed was the first Celtic to bolt from the over-crowded locker room. Soon as the media walked in, Wallace had already showered, dressed and had his shades on. He stormed past all of us without uttering a peep, robbing the world of what would surely have been hilarious and controversial commentary on what took place in the series opener. Oh well.

-When you hear the term “media crush”, that’s exactly what it is. A crush of humanity. Journos, bloggers, photographers and camera men/women jostle for position in front of the dressing players as though they were fighting for a rebound. Standing in an NBA locker room is not exactly the most enjoyable of experiences. As Chuck Klosterman once wrote, people are tired, people are naked and people are tall.

-Speaking of naked, Glen “Big Baby” Davis found a clever way to clear a path through the crowd. After taking a few questions, Davis stood up and began marching toward the showers while loudly announcing the following: “Naked man coming through! Naked man coming through”

(Needless to say, we all quickly moved out of his way.)

-Two strange and unexpected sights in the Celtics locker room: Tyronn Lue, and Felipe Lopez (who, due to the sweltering heat, was sweating profusely.)

-Boston had a postgame spread of pasta, leaky mashed potatoes, lettuce, and some other strange-looking greenery. Yum. It was telling that no one approached the food.

-Rajon Rondo’s enormous tattoo on his back — which reads, not so imaginatively, “RR” — is a pretty jarring sight to see up close. The thing is simply huge.

(Rondo, conversely, is absolutely tiny. I’m about six-foot three, and when we crossed paths, I immediately felt like posting him up.)

-Nate Robinson, another diminutive human being, was rocking some bespoke AF1′s, gray jeans, a multi-color backpack, with a fitted to complete the ensemble. His outfit was a lot more impressive than his performance in the game.

-Just before I walked out of the C’s locker room, Big Baby re-entered after taking a shower, this time bellowing out, “Wet man coming through! Wet man coming through!” I took that as my cue to hightail it out of there.

-Walking toward the large media room, where the postgame news conference takes place at Staples, Lang and I bumped into Scoop Jackson and chatted him up for a while. I had introduced myself to Scoop outside the arena prior the game, and having been a big fan of his work since way back in his SLAM days, it was a pretty big thrill for me. Nicest guy in the world (hugs, pounds, etc. immediately after the intro); funny, too.

-On his way to the podium to answer questions, Pau Gasol stopped and gave a hug and kiss on the cheek to a camera woman. He then tried to downplay how much he dominated KG and the rest of the Boston front-line. With the 2008 Finals still fresh in every Laker fan’s mind, Gasol faces enormous pressure to be the aggressor against the rough and tumble Celtic bigs during this series. So far, so good.

-Kobe Bryant tries extremely hard to seem as bored and disinterested as humanly possible when taking questions from journalists. One day, I’m convinced he’s going to fall asleep mid-sentence with the cameras rolling.

-The most telling sign of just how frustrating and disappointing a night this was for the Celtics was a single (and unidentified) voice coming from their showers, which screamed out at the top of their lungs: “F*CK!”

We’ll have much more from L.A. prior to Game 2 on Sunday night … stay tuned.

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  • aubin

    series is over….lakers are gonna take it…the stats don’t lie

  • http://www.newjackblogger.blogspot.com dfeezy

    1st. for real tho? david wilson was the best feeder of all time

  • Drolfe

    Someone might have stolen that money doc hid in their change room while they were playing.

  • Clay

    F#%k! C’mon Boston! Let’s get it together and win game 2

  • http://www.twitter.com/GerardHimself Gerard Himself

    nice write-up Marcel! Also: I would run like hell is Glen Davis is yelling “naked man coming through”

  • Ali

    Thank you Pau! Thank you Bynum! Thank you Bench-Mob…Need more outta L.O. though.

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/features/overdribbling chiqo

    what other job requires you to be naked or in various stages of undress as people gather around you with recording devices and attempt to get you to speak to them?

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    Is it just me or did KG play absolutely HORRIBLE? I watched that last quarter wondering if the Lakers had paid him to suck. lol

  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com Mo Charlo

    This is going to sound offsetting, but I just want to party with Glen Davis. No homo.

  • LB

    Sheed..”One team played hard”

  • Javy

    For those of you who tought Rondo is an Allstar.
    This proves my point when I say that other teams fear the big 3 so he’s able to play freely. Obviously he has 3 really good players to pass it to.
    Did you notice how the Lakers put Kobe on him.This tells you that if we was on a sucky team he would be another Ariza.
    Play good in a caliber team, suck in a regular team.

  • Jackie Moon

    I went through the archives and discovered a fascinating stat after hours of research: did you know that Phil Jackson’s teams are 47-0 when winning the first game of a series?

  • d’bri

    easy recap, lakers dominate, Celtics look like the did most of the year. not the same team from the past month. they looked like they did in game 3 against clev. disheartening, but they’ve bounced back before, expect them to do same in game 2

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Thanks for the thoroughness, Marcel.

  • Goat

    Ray Allen must have said something about Joey Crawfords mom before the game…..he got straight robbed on at least half of his six fouls!

  • Fred

    Goat you’re so right, I thought the same thing. Officiating on him was ridiculous.

  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    I post when the Lakes lose….why don’t some haters come take the “Heat” when the Lakers win?

  • Goat

    The reason why I (and I assume many others) am a Lakers (read Kobe) hater is because they are simply too good. It’s no fun to cheer for them, expecting them to win. Personally I’d rather cheer for the underdog to win it. Same reason as a kid growing up in the 90′s I couldn’t bring myself to cheer for MJ. He was just too good. Obviously now I look back and wish I had jumped on the Chicago bandwagon and really enjoyed the ride for all it was worth.

    Oh also, I hate Kobe’s attitude/demeanor.

  • LD

    Chris Rock tried talking to Kobe, but Kobe just kept his Mamba focused stare on the game. LeBron would have been soaking in the attention.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    @Jackie Moon, hours of research? Why? That stat kept showing up “during” the game. Lol

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    lol at LB. nice report, The rebounding was the difference, do the math( 2 true 7footers plus one 6-11) against a no legs KG and Perk, 6foot5 Baby and out of shape Sheed? it hurts me to shame but as much as I like ( and i do ) Doc Rivers, Jesus Shatleworth and Nate Rob, im rooting for LA cause I really deslike every other Celtic but RRondo, who I just like to see play, but dont like.

  • http://Badnewzb8ller John cortez

    Overall it was an ugly game. Too many ticky tack fouls. There was no flow for either team. Both teams sucked. If saying the lakers played their best last night helps you sleep better, you must already be in deep sleep and dreaming. A lot more O left in the lakers arsenal. Phil Jackson even said it was one of the ugliest games he’s been a part of.

  • Javy

    I saw a shirt that read something like “Kobe on a mission unlike that impostor in Ohio”.
    Does anybody know where to get it?
    Also, @ Niq, yes I was going to post that exact comment. ESPN, ABC and even on Dancing with the Stars, they had that stat of 47-0….Jackie even posted “went through the archives” ….Wow, there’s probably a file cabinet dedicated Lies 2010.

  • Lawrence

    As what i have seen, i guess it’s a well officiated game because the refs stood well on making calls…every possession probably has a foul or other calls.(as it seems why there are less hand checking, moving screens and technical fouls)…the lakers just out played the boston celtics(to celtics fans, just accept it and try your luck next time)…As you can see with the stats, Lakers had a dominating game!!!the only bright side for the boston celtics were ray allen and rasheed…they didn’t used the zone def that much.but still a great team effort for a visiting team…

  • http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:OzhW3M1GBSKkgM:http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    @Javy @Nic Sarcasm, fellas …

  • Sparker

    weird game. lots of phantom fouls on both sides, incredibly poor shooting by the celts, nothing worked for them after they stopped making the extra pass, while everything the lakers tossed out there seemed to sing. i’ll give this to phil; the man is unpredictable. he didn’t wait to put kobe on rondo, ran his offense on pau’s back and sent sasha off the bench first. there was a moment in q1 when ron-ron started to get carried away on offense, but someone (probably kobe) must have said something like CUT THAT SH*T OUT. after that, everything they did was laker gold. shannon brown hit some clutch shots, farmar was active, michael finley was exposed as a human pylon. actually, i think kg was the only one who had a true game face on in the first half, and he was aggressive in putting up his shot when the rest of the celts weren’t doing much. but the lakers won every match up, and foul trouble did the rest. it wasn’t even close when it was reasonably close.

  • http://aol.com RUN’N'GUN21901


  • All Day

    The refs sucked, but what else is new with those cats! Sometimes when a player is fouled, why do the refs wait to see if the shot is made or missed before blowing the whistle? A foul is a foul and making or missing a shot should not determine whether or not they blow the whistle. That’s why there so many conspiracies surrounding NBA refs.

  • All Day

    LA played better basketball than Boston. More importantly, LA was more physical than Boston. I expect game 2 to be much closer than game 1. I think Boston will rebound and win game 2.

  • http://slamonline.com JL

    i hate joey crawford. the officials ruined the game. pierce still played well cuz he loves to get foul calls, and just charged into a crowd alot and got the calls. i don’t like the guy, but he’s got game and knows how to work the system.

  • topo

    i think “the truth” will bust out the wheelchair in the next game to fire his squad up

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I’ve said on a few other posts, but Lakers in 5. They’ll do it on Boston’s floor, no less.

  • permaculture james

    (before the 20 point gap) I was saying everything looked like LA and, weirdly, the score was tight. The teams are well matched. LA is winning the ‘desire’ battle and has a length advantage. I think it will come down to coaching and adjustments –duh: but more than other series. I’ll enjoy that as much as the playing. Slowing Rondo seemed to be a key in game 1 – it disjointed the Cs offense.

  • Tommy Patron

    LA nerdness.

  • http://slamonline.com Tzvi Twersky

    Saw Felipe at a few games this year. Also, Lue is on staff. They could use him on the bench. Good stuff here, Marcel. (PS: Get an MM tat on your back and challenge Rondo to that game.)

  • http://slamonline.com J Dizzle

    It would be nice to say that the Celtics choked, but that’s not the case. They just aren’t as good as people gave them credit for. They don’t have the hunger or the skill to beat LA this year.

  • Thedon

    A lot of BS calls on ray… I know David stern wants kobe to win and all but try not to make it so obvious

  • http://www.kwapt.blogspot.com KobeWearsAPurpleThong

    Interior D was awful, 1 for 10 from 3 and Rondo was not his normal “attacking” self. And as much as it pains me to say this, Gasol was great. C’s will need to be all the way turned up in Game 2 to steal one at Staples. I have faith in my boys.

  • BostonBaller

    i love it when ppl like Zee! says “laker haters” never post when they win..come on man get real..I think all the same ppl post regardless of if their team wins or loses. Get another come on line, that one doesn’t work any more. We (The C’s) were outplayed last night plain and simple…the refs did effect us at the very start but we simply sucked last night but don’t get it twisted, we are in this to win it. Green for 18.

  • BostonBaller

    posted on another post: #1 I’m encourage by P Double’s hussle at the very end and not giving up, plus he didn’t get many shot attempts last night (that will change) #2 I like that Kobe took and made an unnecessary 3 at the end to push the dagger in a bit deeper. Hopefully it stung us. #3 I like that Doc left the starters in (no perk for obvious reasons) to soak up the butt whoop’n first hand and get that bitter taste stronger in their mouths. #4 Sissy underhanded scoop layups will not cut it, we must attack the hole strongly. #5 Ray will be on fire in game 2. As I said before, this is game 1 and no one should get too up or down. GREEN for 18

  • javy

    Something was missed on game one: KG didn’t bark at all.No trash talking??? Wow….
    Maybe KG paid Chris Rock to do it instead!
    I actually think the C’s play good tough basketball and I do like that. The fact that you go over board like Perkins being dirty, Pierce thinking he’s better than Bird and Garnet trash talking on smaller players only when winning makes me lose respect.

  • Lawrence

    Lakers in 5/6….

  • Lawrence

    Lakers in 6…

  • the Big 3

    Celtics will make a comeback so celebrate now Fakers fan, there’s a lot more game left. I hope you guys thanks the refs for making ball hog Hobe life a lil easier. Its so obvious that those refs got paid hollywood style.Kobe might have even bought them rings to suck on. The record still stand that the Celtics beat Lakers 9 out of 11 meetings in the finals. That might be your last win of the season!!! Celtics still in 6!!!

  • JoeMaMa

    You have to love the combination of dispassionate basketball analysis, offensive remarks and blind loyalty by idiot fans, and illogical flip flopping done from one game to the next.
    I’ll place myself in the first category. It’s one game. LA is expected to win the first two, as they have homecourt. Boston didn’t play up to their standard, and LA did. It looks good for LA, but it’s too early to really say.

  • BostonBaller

    javy, it’s been established that KG doesn’t only bark when winning OR at smaller players OR at bench players. Most nights KG is barking even when he’s sleeping but the last game was truly strange. (Just ask Bosh, LBJ etc etc). PDoubles carrer numbers are right up there with other Celtics greats but I know he’s not Bird, his numbers are elevated b/c his teams sucked for many years and he had the ball all the time and played crazy minutes..bird had at least 2 orther HOFers and many other great playerson his teams PLUS L had better teams then. History my friend, you have to know the L’s History..past and present before making jaded statements.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Lakers in 4 and maybe 5 if Kevin Garnot can move a little better and try to make a basket in the paint. Lakers look very dominate first game and to me the Lakers did not play the best they can. Lamar gave nothing, Fisher did nothing and Bynum took up needed space and Gasol and Bryant carried and Artest is the new Robert Horry. Lakers to me are looking to sweep and this would evalate Kobe to even more heights, because think about the next three best players in the NBA lost to Celtics. Lebron, Dwade and Howard lost and the Celtics have never lost a series with starting five, until now. CAN YOU DIG IT!!

  • http://www.springbored.net letsmotor

    Artest is the new Robert Horry?!! HA. Ron made some good shots in game one, but come on. Big Shot Ron? More like Poorly Selected Shot Ron.

  • topo

    how can some of you say that the refs were giving most calls to the lakers!? the refs were calling phantom fouls both ways, just accept that boston got pounded!

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Oh really, the Celtics are getting swept now, Seed?

  • http://www.nba.com/suns Dacre

    I can’t wait to see Steve Nash’s coverage of the World Cup.

  • BostonBaller

    How is it that some of you harp on the same things over and over just to be fashionable yet dead wrong..not to call you out but topo you are the latest so I’ll address you: I reread all of the comments and there were 3 maybe 3.5 complaining about the refs actually causing The C’s the game. Most everyone else (myself) included said the refs sucked but that didn’t cause the loss or that the refs sucked period and blew calls both ways. I dare you to go back and carefully/completely read each entry above I guarantee that every Celtics win this series will get a “The C’s are dirty players” comments within the 1st 10 posted than complaints about refs causing the C’s the game from this post.

  • BostonBaller

    Oh I forgot..javy, your 1st comment at the top discredits anything else you every write about basketball b/c it shows your bball IQ and obvious onesided view. #1, Phil Jax would not have put Kobe on RR if he weren’t really good. #2 Even admitted Celtics haters have admitted that they were wrong about RR. #3 If he were on a “sucky” team all but his assts numbers would be b/c he’s control the ball even more. #5 Would Kobe have 4 rings if he were on a “sucky”: team, Would MJ etc etc? would kobe, MJ be ordinary players if they didn’t have talented players on their teams throughout the years? #4 If Kobe has a bad shooting night I’m sure you’ll say it was his finger or that the C’s were thugs, RR plays mediocre and no C’s fan complained about his hamstrings we just said he needs to be more aggressive etc etc. #5If you have ever written or said that “the Big 3″ were washed up or old then you can’t use them to try and prove a point that RR isn’t good by putting them on a pedestal. lol. #999 Phonics or School house rock…Run DMC/EPMD