Boston came out pushing. LA pushed back. The Cs tried to bully the Laker bigs and for a quarter, it kinda worked. Boston had tempo in their favor and trailed by only five, 26-21. Gasol had a nice statistical first quarter but was still spending lots of time flopping around and putting up weak shit (that was going in). Andrew Bynum, on the other hand, was proving to be harder to displace. The oft-maligned manchild camped out in the paint on both ends and there wasn't a damn thing any Boston player could do about it. He dunked, changed shots and generally looked about a foot taller than anyone else on the floor.
Also looming larger than usual was Satan incarnate, Joey Crawford, who seemingly chose to blow his whistle whenever he fucking exhaled. Honestly, that crew called one of the worst games I've ever seen called by any officials anywhere, and that includes twenty years worth of clueless douchebags getting paid $20 to work in C League. In particular, the call for Ray Allen's 5th foul was ridiculously awful. Tim Donaghy might have blushed at that one. But it's not like the zebras were only favoring LA. There were also headscratching calls against Fisher and Kobe, phantom calls that put starters on the bench. 67 FTs. Weak. Hopefully, that crew doesn't see the court again in this series.
Speaking of not seeing the court, Michael Finley made a surprise entrance and was so unspeakably bad on D that Doc pulled him after two minutes. Two minutes. I'm guessing we won't see Old Mike again. Nate Robinson, hailed as a savior for his shooting in Game 6 against Orlando, now is left to wonder why that busted old man got off the bench ahead of him. Bad coaching move by Doc.
The game was relatively close until Artest and Fisher (both saddled with foul problems, of course) re-entered the game in the 2nd and pushed the lead to double digits for the first time.
But the 3rd is where the wheels fell off for Boston. Kobe had a breakaway dunk to push the lead to 13 and nobody from the Cs was back on D. Nobody. I can't remember the last time I've seen that from this team. Rivers called timeout to try and inspire his troops. A couple minutes later, Artest hit a three to push the lead to 20, 84-64.
The fourth quarter was a complete non-issue.
Rajon Rondo, Boston's playoff MVP, was effectively muzzled by Kobe Bryant. He got free for a couple layups early but it was only because Bryant left him to double. Like most other Celtics, Rondo spent the large portion of the evening allergic to the painted area.
So what happened to this clash of the titans that we've all been waiting for? It fell really, really flat. The tough guys got punched in the grill and responded by going home and crying to their mommas. And I'm sure Team Green is spending a lot of time today blaming Joey Crawford but honestly, they got punked. They got pounded on the glass. They shot more jumpers than the Mavericks. And they played D like Los Suns.
If they come out in some pussified zone to hide their deficiencies in Game 2, we'll know this series is probably over.
Pictured: shook ones