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Tuesday , Jun , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant to the Lakers: ‘man up and play’

We’ve regressed since Game 1,” Bryant confessed to Yahoo! Sports. “Our defense belongs on milk cartons in the last two games.”

“Just man up and play,” Bryant sniffed. “What’s the big deal? If I have to say something to them, then we don’t deserve to be champions.”

“Listen, if you told me at the beginning of the year that we’ve got two games at home to win a championship, yeah, I’ll take that [bleep].”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Kobe Bryant’s outburst a ploy to motivate teammates or is he legitimately feeling the pressure of the NBA Finals?

On the one hand, Bryant is the game’s greatest competitor. Losing isn’t acceptable. And he’s never had issue challenging his fellow Los Angeles Lakers.

On the other hand, the superstar knows the stakes are high. If his heavily favoured Lakers lose the NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics, his standing as an all-time great player and with the purple-and-gold will forever be altered.

Whatever his motivation, whatever his reason, Bryant is clearly desperate. He needs someone, anyone to step up in game-six and seven.

Got thoughts on Kobe Bean’s comments?

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Monday , Jun , 14 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

The Big Four Deliver: Allen, Garnett, Pierce, and Rondo lead Boston to game-five win

It's looking a lot like 2008 again, with Paul Pierce carrying the Boston Celtics to victory in the NBA finals and leading them to the brink of yet another title.

Pierce scored 27 points -- his best performance of this year's finals -- and the Celtics withstood 38 points from Kobe Bryant to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 92-86 on Sunday night and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: On Friday, Kobe Bryant told reporters he was miserable because of his poor play. Tonight, he'll be miserable for a different reason.

The Los Angeles Lakers' superstar raised his play, even scoring an astounding 19 points in the third quarter; however, his co-stars all had poor nights, which was the reason for the game-five loss.

For instance, Ron Artest struggled on both ends of the floor; Pau Gasol's 12 points and 12 rebounds won't cut it in the NBA Finals; Andrew Bynum - wonky knee or not - should've been better than 6 points and 1 rebound; and Lamar Odom was a non-factor.

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics won with balance. The Big Four delivered: Paul Pierce found his touch and had a team-high 27 points; Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo combined for 36 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists; and Ray Allen had an efficient 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting.

While the bench didn't repeat their game four heroics, they still contributed. Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, and Rasheed Wallace hit some shots, played tough defense, and, best of all, brought energy.

And this was the difference in game five. As a group, the Celtics seemed determined. Other than Bryant, the Lakers seemed flustered.

In the second half, Tony Allen gave the Celtics a surge with his tremendous weak side block on Pau Gasol. Then, in the closing moments, the 6-3 Rondo leaped the 6-10 Odom for an improbable tip-in basket to seal the win.

With the exception of Bryant, no Laker had a momentum changing moment or timely play. The purple-and-gold had too many passengers on this night.

Despite trailing in the series, the Lakers still have home-court advantage with game-six and seven at Staples Center.

The Lakers must improve, though. Or the Celtics will win the NBA championship and Bryant will be more than miserable.

Got thoughts on game five? Get at us in the comment box below.            

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Saturday , Jun , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Good, Not Great: Kobe Bryant’s play in the NBA Finals

Bryant has averaged 28.3 points on 40.9 percent shooting in the four games. His points haven’t come easily, and in Thursday’s Game 4 loss he also committed seven turnovers, matching his most of the postseason. "That's just me playing like crap," Bryant said. 

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Good, but not great.

This is the best way to describe Kobe Bryant's play in the NBA Finals. He turned in solid performances through the first three games; however, he struggled down the stretch in Thursday's game four loss.

Bryant - who is his own harshest critic - will be the first to admit that good doesn't cut it in June.

To be fair, the Boston Celtics are an excellent defensive club. As a group, they're all about getting stops. And Tony Allen is making his bones as a lockdown defender in the NBA Finals against Bryant, successfully forcing the future Hall of Famer left and making him work especially hard for each and every point.

With the NBA Finals now a best-of-three affair, Bryant will step up. He understands his legacy at stake. Two losses in the NBA Finals to the Celtics would impact his standing both as an all-time great Laker and player.

Expect Bryant to be great, not good, for game 5, 6, and, if necessary, 7.

Got thought on Kobe's play so far?   

 

   

2010 NBA Finals Game 4 – Pierce punches ref’s face and Big Baby is good.
Saturday , Jun , 12 , 2010 J.N.

2010 NBA Finals Game 4 – Pierce punches ref’s face and Big Baby is good.

Come on Los Angeles. You’re better than this. Shout outs to Shrek and Donkey AKA Big Baby Glen Davis and Nate Robinson.  They stepped up when it mattered. Davis added 18 points and Nasty Nate provided 12 points. Lamar Odom disappeared as usual with 10 points in nearly 40 minutes of game time. Andrew Bynum could not get his game going, which resulted in Phil Jackson yanking him out early. The nagging injury is really affecting him.

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Friday , Jun , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Andrew Bynum the difference between L.A. Lakers winning and losing NBA Title?

Andrew Bynum said the swelling in right knee is the most it has been since he initially tore the cartilage April 30, but he is confident he will be back in action Sunday night for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. “It’s a little bit frustrating, but I’m going to play on Sunday, play hard on Sunday,” Bynum said after he played just 1:50 of the second half in the Lakers’ Game 4 loss to Boston.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: I see the difference. You see the difference. The world sees the difference.

The Los Angeles Lakers are a different team with Andrew Bynum playing -even if he's nowhere near full health. The young seven-footer anchors the middle with his length and size, which allows Pau Gasol to play the four-spot, his natural position, and embarrass opponents with his creative post moves and wonderful skill-set.

Consider Bynum's impact in the NBA Finals. With Bynum, the Lakers physically dominate the Celtics. Without him, the opposite occurs -the Celtics assert their will on the Lakers, especially in the all-important paint.

For instance, Boston's Glen Davis, at 6-8, probably doesn't dominate game four if Bynum, at 7-1, is playing because he'd have challenged and contested every 'Big Baby' shot and putback.

For the Lakers, it's a positive that Bynum will try to play in game five. Like it or not, he's the difference in this championship series.  

Got thoughts on Andrew Bynum?

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Friday , Jun , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Nate Robinson to Glen Davis: ‘We Like Shrek and Donkey’

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: They're getting the last laugh.

Right or wrong, fair or not, Glen Davis and Nate Robinson have taken their lumps. Just this year, Davis got heat for breaking his hand in a training camp fight with a college friend, while Robinson's animated antics wore thin in New York.

There was good reason for the criticism: 'Big Baby' and 'Kryptonite' had talent and, at their core, seemed like good people. Both had the potential to be impact players -exactly like they did to seal the win in game four of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

And both, while immature, love basketball. After all, these two described their game four play as being 'like Shrek and Donkey.'

Now is their moment to shine. Davis and Robinson are taking full advantage and - as the clip below demonstrates - getting the last laugh.

Watch the youtube video and get us with thoughts on this dynamic duos' post-game stand-up act and play in game four.

 

       

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Friday , Jun , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Praise the bench: Glen Davis and Nate Robinson lead Celtics to game four win over Lakers

Backup Glen "Big Baby" Davis scored half of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Celtics bench as it pulled away from the Los Angeles Lakers to win 96-89 on Thursday night and even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

Game 5 is Sunday night in Boston. The Celtics' win guaranteed them a trip back to Los Angeles and averted a 3-1 deficit that has never been overcome in NBA history.

Kobe Bryant scored 33 points and Pau Gasol had 21 for the Lakers.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Down the stretch, the Boston Celtics needed a spark. And their bench answered the call, winning game four for the green-and-white.

With starters Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo struggling, coach Doc Rivers went with four reserves and first-stringer Ray Allen for most of the fourth quarter.

And this makeshift unit responded in the final frame: Glen Davis tallied 9 of his 18 points; Nate Robinson scored and set up others; Tony Allen forced Kobe Bryant left and made the game's best player work for every point; and Rasheed Wallace's length and physicality eventually wore on Pau Gasol.

Best of all, Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Davis, Robinson, and Wallace brought an energy that Boston was missing for most of the game.

The news gets worse for the Los Angeles Lakers: Andrew Bynum sat out the entire second half and only played 12 minutes because of his injured knee.

Bynum's numbers have been mediocre due to his poor health; however, his height and length has given the Celtics problems. Also, with Bynum on-court, Gasol can shift to the four-spot, his natural position.

However, give the Celtics credit. They capitalized on Bynum's absence. And their bench came through in the clutch.

Got thoughts on game four?   

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Thursday , Jun , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Doc Rivers right? Is Derek Fisher a flopper?

Count Celtics coach Doc Rivers as one person who won't be marching in the Derek Fisher appreciation parade that commenced Tuesday after the 14-year veteran scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Lakers to a 91-84 Game 3 victory in the Finals.

When asked how Fisher was able to be so successful drawing fouls while being screened, Rivers replied: "What? Besides flopping? He doesn't do a lot extra.

"He plays hard. He's been in the game long enough to understand. I thought he got away with a lot last night. I thought there was a lot of holding going on and a lot of flopping going on and he finally showed that last one."
 
 
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Doc Rivers is right.
 
Derek Fisher - while not an all-time great flopper like, say, Manu Ginobili or Vlade Divac - is known to embellish. However, Rivers doesn't care that Fisher could serve as an honorary member of the Italian national soccer; deep down, he respects the veteran combo guard.
 
The Celtics sideline boss is using the media to lobby the refs for calls in game four. It's the game within the game. Every coach does it.
 
And Fisher's fine play in game three and reputation for embellishing contact caught Rivers' eye. Nothing more.

Is Rivers right? Is D-Fish is a flopper? 
2010 NBA Finals Game 3 – Paul Pierce is going back to Los Angeles.
Thursday , Jun , 10 , 2010 J.N.

2010 NBA Finals Game 3 – Paul Pierce is going back to Los Angeles.

Paul Pierce should have never opened his mouth towards the end of game 2. The Celtics have to pull an LL Cool J by headin’ back to Cali stylin’ and profilin.’ The game was embarrassing for P-Squared. He was to be out done by Ray Allen. He was scorching hot in game 2. He played like a bumbling idiot in game 3. Ray Ray couldn’t hit any type of shot out there. 0-13? That’s bloody awful especially in the NBA Finals at home. I thought he was entering John Starks’ level. I was wrong. He went beyond that.  

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Wednesday , Jun , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Boston fans call Lamar Odom’s wife Khloe Kardashian the ‘Ugly Sister’

"Maybe the best chant ever heard at a sporting event, to Lamar Odom at FT line: "UG-LY SIS-Ter"!. Clap-clap, clap-clap-clap."

Ken Berger, CBS Sports, via Twitter,

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call:  Nothing is off limits in the NBA Finals, especially between the Celtics and Lakers.

But the Boston faithful's insults had no impact on Lamar Odom's play, even if they went after his wife, Khloe, whose sister is socialite Kim Kardashian.

Odom went 5-for-5 from the floor for 12 points to go with 5 rebounds. Best of all, he was active. He attacked the basket, avoided foul trouble, got into the open court, and played multiple positions.

In fact, this was the versatile forward's best game of the NBA Finals. Perhaps, the "UG-LY SIS-Ter" chant served as motivation.

Got thoughts on Boston calling Khloe Kardashian ugly? Get at us in the comment box below.

 

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Wednesday , Jun , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Height and heart: how L.A. beat Boston in game three

Kobe Bryant scored 29 points and Derek Fisher added 16 to lead Los Angeles to a 91-84 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night and give the Lakers a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

Bryant had 25 points after three but did not score for the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter. That's when Fisher took over, adding four key baskets after Boston winnowed a 17-point first-half lead to one point.

The Lakers regained home-court advantage they had lost when Boston took Game 2 in Los Angeles. Game 4 is Thursday night in Boston.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: In basketball, there’s a saying that ‘you can’t teach the height’. In game three of the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics couldn’t beat the Los Angeles Lakers’ height.

It didn’t matter that Kevin Garnett turned back the clock with an inspired performance. It didn’t matter that Rajon Rondo was brilliant. It didn’t matter that the green-and-white’s bench had a big second half.

It also didn’t matter that Kobe Bryant had an off shooting night or that Ron Artest struggled with foul trouble.

On Tuesday evening, the Lakers were bigger and stronger and ultimately better. For instance, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom were especially effective in the middle, disrupting passing lanes and contesting shots with their length.

Size was one factor. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce’s poor play was another.

Allen, who hit an NBA Finals record 8-three pointers in game two, missed every shot he took in game three, while Pierce wasn’t much better, going 5-for 12 from the floor, and ending with a disappointing 15 points.

This was Pierce’s second consecutive sub par performance and it came on the heels of his claim the Celtics ‘ain’t going back to LA!’

Of course, one of the Lakers’ smallest players, Derek Fisher, played like a giant. The veteran went 6-for-12 with 16 points, which included a courageous 5-for-7 shooting display in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory.

Yes, height was the difference in game three. So was the size of Fisher’s heart.

Got thoughts on game four? Get at us in the comment box below.

2010 NBA Finals Game 2 – Jesus Shuttlesworth sets a new record.
Tuesday , Jun , 08 , 2010 J.N.

2010 NBA Finals Game 2 – Jesus Shuttlesworth sets a new record.

Black Jesus was en fuego. How did the Lakers’ defense let this man get hot like that? After game 1, you had to know that the Boston Celtics were not going to play like that again. Ray Allen lit up the NBA world with eight three pointers – NBA Finals record. The certified top 4 point guard in the league, Rajon Rondo, posted up a triple double: 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce played like trash, but the Celtics escaped LA with a win.

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Monday , Jun , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Paul Pierce: “We ain’t coming back to LA!”

Striking a similar tone as he did in Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals, Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce directed a bold prediction at Lakers fans in the final minutes of his team's victory in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night in Los Angeles.

After Pau Gasol committed a hard foul on Kendrick Perkins with 1:12 remaining in Game 2 and the Celtics leading, 97-90, Pierce, as he helped his teammate off the floor along the baseline near the hoop was heard on video replays yelling, "We ain't coming back to LA!"

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Paul Pierce has reason to be confident.

Yes, his Boston Celtics looked solid in taking game two of the NBA Finals. And yes, the heavily favoured Los Angeles Lakers' struggled on Sunday evening.

Pierce's outburst was, in part, due to the championship series switching to a 2-3-2 game format, meaning the lower seeded team - the Celtics in this case - have the next three matches in Boston. 

The league uses a 2-2-1-1-1 game format for the first three rounds of the playoffs and critics believe the 2-3-2 format of the NBA Finals gives the lower seed an unfair advantage.

Years back, the suits at league head office thought the 2-3-2 format was appropriate for the NBA finals because it reduced travel. Today, every team has their own luxurious, five-star plane, so travel isn't as great an issue. 

With the next three games in Boston, the 2-3-2 format is an issue for the Lakers. And this has Pierce confident he "ain't coming back to LA!"

Will the Celtics finish the series at home? Is the 2-3-2 format fair? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Monday , Jun , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Mini-movie of game 2 between Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers

HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: The only thing better than an original is a sequel. Not in all cases, but wasn`t game 2 of the NBA Finals far more competitive and entertaining than game one?

The good folks at NBA.com agree. They`ve made another mini-movie of game two highlights, so click the video below and relive this barn-burner between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. 

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Sunday , Jun , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Pau Gasol right? Has Kevin Garnett lost a step?

Lakers big man Pau Gasol said Celtics forward Kevin Garnett is not the player he used to be, but Boston coach Doc Rivers stressed on Friday that there is nothing physically wrong with KG.

The Lakers held Garnett to 16 points and only four rebounds in a 102-89 win in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

"On Kevin's part, he's also lost some explosiveness," said Gasol, who had 23 points and 14 rebounds. "He's more of a jump shooter now you could say, comes off the lane. Before he had a really, really quick first step and was getting to the lane and he was more aggressive then. Time passes and we all suffer it one way or another, but he's still a terrific player, a terrific competitor, and he's going to bring everything he's got. You can count on that."
 
 
HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Pau Gasol may be absolutely right, but he should not have gone there.
 
By politely calling out Kevin Garnett in the post game press conference, Gasol has provided The Big Ticket with extra motivation.
 
To be fair, Garnett is a shade of his former self. Wear and tear and injuries have taken their toll; however, the legendary post can still raise his play in a short series, especially if he feels slighted.
 
For instance, the Cleveland Cavaliers had their hands full with Garnett in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
 
So Gasol should just stay quiet and play -even if he is right.

Is Gasol right? Has Garnett lost a step?
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Saturday , Jun , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Movie Video: Game One NBA Finals Highlights Between Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers

Did you miss game one of the NBA Finals? Or did you catch the opening tilt between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, but wanted a refresher before Sunday's game two?

Well, the good folks at NBA.com have a movie style video of the game one highlights for your viewing pleasure. So enjoy!

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Friday , Jun , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Dan Gilbert let LeBron replace Ferry as Cleveland’s de facto GM?

Danny Ferry is out as general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, choosing not to re-sign his contract that was set to expire in June. The decision comes as a surprise but was made days ago, and complicates the most important offseason in team history.

Ferry's departure Friday after five seasons occurred two weeks after the club fired coach Mike Brown following the team's second-round loss to the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs. It also comes as the team is making plans to try to re-sign two-time MVP LeBron James, who will be a free agent next month.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: It's official. The inmate, LeBron James, is running the asylum -even if he has a foot out the free agent door.

Ferry's firing comes as a surprise because days ago reports indicated the retired forward and owner Dan Gilbert had essentially agreed on an extension.

Apparently, the stumbling block was authority. Ferry rightfully thought a GM needed control over basketball operations. He wasn't prepared to deal with Gilbert or James meddling in personnel decisions.

So he left.

Assistant GM Chris Grant will slide into the big chair in the executive suite. However, it remains to be seen how much authority Grant will have as the new GM.

Expect Gilbert to be very involved this summer. If James resigns, Gilbert and Grant will likely let the superstar pick the new coach and have a large say in all basketball related decisions.

This isn't the way to run a winning organization. For instance, Tim Duncan always defers to coach Gregg Popovich and executive R.C. Buford. The Los Angeles Lakers started winning when Kobe Bryant quit commenting to random fans outside of strip malls about swapping Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd and focused on basketball. And even the great Michael Jordan had little say in the happenings of the Chicago Bulls.

So Gilbert, who doesn't have James' name on a new deal, is taking a risk in re-structuring his entire organization to suit his free agent superstar.

Got thoughts on Ferry leaving the Cavaliers? Let us know in the comment box below.

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Friday , Jun , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Why Kobe Bryant really ignored Chris Rock

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He had nothing.

During a second half timeout in game one of the NBA Finals, comedian Chris Rock, who was lounging in courtside seats next to the Los Angeles Lakers' bench, tried talking smack to Kobe Bryant.

The shooting guard ignored him. It was like Rock - the loudmouth star of critically and commercially successful films like Death at a Funeral, Head of State, and Down to Earth - didn't even exist. 

ABC broadcaster Mark Jackson suggested Bryant was able to tune-out the former Saturday Night Live star because of his incredible focus. And Bryant was certainly in Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight mode. 

However, Bryant has a memory -a very long memory. And perhaps, he had seen Rock's notorious stand-up act (please use your discretion if clicking the link) and was keeping his emotions in check.

Get at us with thoughts in the comment box on Kobe vs. Chris? 

Phil Jackson never loses after winning game one. Vol. 47-0
Friday , Jun , 04 , 2010 J.N.

Phil Jackson never loses after winning game one. Vol. 47-0

The Los Angeles Lakers crushed the Boston Celtics in the first game of the NBA Finals, 102-89. Kobe Bryant cleaned up with 30 points on 10-22 shooting (1-2 from three, 9-10 from the line) to go with 7 boards, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, and 4 turnovers. Pau Gasol produced 23 points on 8-14 shooting (7-10 from the line) to go with 14 boards (8 offensive), 3 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, and 3 turnovers. At one point, the Lakers were up by 20. The most alarming stat is Phil Jackson’s 47-0 perfect record when he leads his team to a game one victory. Wow.

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Friday , Jun , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers bang, bully, and beat up Celtics, win game one

So the Celtics want to play rough again? Kobe Bryant and the Lakers look ready this time around, and they barged into an early lead in the NBA finals.

Bryant scored 30 points, Pau Gasol had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and defending champion Los Angeles got tough in a 102-89 victory over Boston in the NBA finals opener Thursday night.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: After getting banged, bullied, and beaten in the 2008 championship series, the Los Angeles Lakers turned the tables on the Boston Celtics in game one of the 2010 NBA Finals.

The Lakers went inside early and often, using the size of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol to grab a half-time lead. Then Kobe Bryant took over with a strong third and fourth quarter to seal an easy win.

However, this game was decided in the middle. The Lakers' bigs showed up. Other than Glen Davis, the Celtics' bigs did not.

For instance, on one sequence in the final frame, Kevin Garnett missed two point blank attempts. The purple-and-gold corralled the rebound, found Gasol on the elbow, who then threw a bullet pass to the lanky Lamar Odom for an easy hoop. 

Boston better get physical on Sunday or they'll head home down 0-2. 

Get at us in the comment box with thoughts on game one of the NBA Finals.