Go Lakers!

Important Note – I am a great fan of Bill Simmons’ columns on ESPN. But Bill is a Boston fan and I am a Lakers fan. So no point reading Bill’s writing during the finals and getting foolishly carried away by the Celtic Magic. This is my anti-Bill Simmons column in support of my Beloved Lakers. Go Lakers

The Boston Celtics have defeated the Lakers 98-88 in game 1. As a Lakers fan I am a little worried because for the third time this season, the Boston defense managed to clamp down on Kobe Bryant. If KB24 cannot be a dominant scorer in this series, the Lakers will struggle for sure.

The supporting cast and the bench alswasn’t great for the Lakers. Except for Derek Fisher in the first half, nobody really came out with his reputation intact. Three-point shooting was atrocious.

The big 3 fired for Boston. This is something which hasn’t happened a lot these playoffs. Have they raised their game for the biggest series of their individual lives?

Young point guard Rajon Rando played quite well against wily veteran Derek Fisher. He was unfazed by the enormity of the occasion.

Boston Coach Doc Rivers won the battle of the coaches against Phil Jackson. Has he finally learned to coach the playoffs?

The Lakers were supposed to have an edge down the stretch. But Boston controlled the game really well and there were no late runs from the Lakers.

Kevin Garnett had a monster game. The Lakers had struggled to contain a great power forward – Tim Duncan in their last series and looks like another great one is going to fill the stat sheet in this series.

Paul Pierce on one leg turned the game on its head. I am scared to think of what he would do on both legs

That’s quite a list. Seems everything went right for Boston and nothing clicked for LA. Exactly. And that is why I am only a ‘little’ worried. Because on a day when Boston played perfectly and LA were horrible, the game was still close till late in the fourth quarter. Actually, there are other reasons as well

This game was played in Boston. These playoffs have seen an extremely high percentage of home wins. And no one exemplifies it better than the Celtics. They won two series’ by just winning their home games. So, no need to worry too much.

The home game also explains the great play of Rajon Rando and the poor play of Lakers’ supporting cast. But the Lakers have every reason to believe this will change. They lost their first away game to both the Jazz and the Spurs but rebounded to win subsequently on the opposition’s home court.

The Boston defense had initially choked LeBron as well. But James managed to overcome them and get back to his regular scoring self. I would expect Kobe to do the same and sooner. Infact Kobe’s bad game was still far better than LeBron’s bad game . And this is a different Kobe my dear Bostonians. He will not be trying to become the man and self destruct.

Paul Pierce on 1 leg was the difference makes in game 1. But he might not be around for a few games. Boston will find it extremely difficult without their main go-to guy. Remember he scored 15 points in the decisive 3rd quarter. And Boston fans have no reason to crib about it. Remember the Lakers are also missing Andrew Bynum.

The big 3 played well together. But the big 3 might be reduced to a big 2 for a few games. And even if it that doesn’t happen, Lakers need not worry too much. These guys were playing their ‘first’ NBA finals and must have been overflowing with adrenalin. They will not have the same energy for the later games and will be back to their disjointed ways.

Doc Rivers had a great game. But this was game one and this was in Boston. We’ll talk coaching stratagem when the series really heats up and the LA crowd is baying for Doc’s blood. Or when Doc makes his typical mistakes and even the Boston crowd starts chanting for his blood. Then the real Doc Rivers will make an appearance.

As for KG’s great show, let him play. The Lakers won 4-1 against the Spurs with Duncan getting a 22-17. KG can win the finals MVP trophy as long as Kobe wins the NBA trophy.

There was enough proof that Lakers triangle offense will work against the Boston defense. The Lakers lead and scored consistently till the one-man on one leg show happened. So the Lakers just need to continue to do what they have been doing all play-offs long – execute their offense and pass the ball around.

Avnish Anand

[image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pkeleher/2489198729/]