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NBA Finals, Lakers Celtics Game 1: Boston's defense may come as a shock to the Lakers system

Jun 2, 2010, 1:07 PM EDT

Kobe_Ganett1.jpgOrlando thought they were ready — they were a confident team coming off two playoff sweeps, their offense was clicking.

Then reality hit hard — Boston’s defense was overwhelming at the start of Game 1 for Orlando. Long arms and quick feet were everywhere. The Magic were coming off a long layoff, and there just is no way in practice to simulate what Boston does. The Celtics were up 7-1 in the blink of an eye. They led by 10 in the first quarter, as Orlando struggled to adjust. The lead got up to 15 and stayed in double digits for much of the second quarter.

The Magic adjusted — or Boston got sloppy, or some combination thereof, chose your own narrative — and almost came back to win. But that was an uphill climb.

The Lakers come into these finals confident group. They come in playing their best basketball this season, with Kobe Bryant on fire.

But they also come in off playing the defensively-challenged Phoenix Suns, who got some notoriety with their zone because it cut the Lakers shooting from an insane 58 percent in the first two games down to a just very good 50 percent in the next couple games. Before that, the Lakers played the undersized and outmanned Utah Jazz.

Could the Lakers be unprepared for the reality of the Celtics defense? Could the Celtics race off to an early lead and again hang on to steal Game 1 on the road.

Yes. Yes, they could.

You hear college football players say it all the time — you can see a team on film but the reality of their speed/size/strength doesn’t hit you until the ball is snapped. The Celtics defense is that way.

The Lakers know what is coming. They know there will be ball pressure on Kobe and others will have to step up, that ball movement is key. They have faced this defense before. But there is no way to replicate the Celtics speed, length and anticipation in practice. And coming off two soft defensive series, the Lakers have seen nothing like the Boston reality since a couple games in Oklahoma City (the Thunder are long and quick and pretty disciplined on defense).

Nothing is certain or easily predictable in this series. But don’t be shocked if the Celtics are up after a quarter against the Lakers. They bring a different reality to Staples Center than anyone before them.

  1. Randy Thunder Fan - Jun 2, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Celtics might sweep the Lakers. The Thunders beat the Lakers in two games, and almost won the series. The Celtics have 3 Hall Of Famers on it, KG, Pierce, and Wallace. Ronda is playing at that level now. Celtices were 23-5, or .821 before they had people get hurt. Lakers has only one Hall of Famer, Kobe.

  2. david - Jun 2, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    wow! do you watch basketball at all, lakers did not come into the playoffs playing there best basketball, actually they had a tough end to the regular season. they have gotting better since the playoffs began, but they were not playing there best coming in. and coming into the playoffs everybody was talking about the much improved suns defense! not that the suns play boston style but i’d didn’t anybody this year calling them defensivly challanged. maybe you should write about something you know about.

  3. NimRod - Jun 2, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    The Magic, with all their talent and etc, just didn’t have the mental toughness to deal with Boston.
    The Lakers, on the other hand, do. You are talking apples and oranges here. That ass whuppin’ back in 2008 coupled with Ron Artest, will make the differnce here. Let me add as well, you have to run a little bit to offset the Boston offense from getting set and honning in on its stategy. Orlando did that too late in the series and it cost them dearly. Look for LA to use Odom, Farmar and Brown a lot to run some transition offense. That will easily hurt Boston…Doc fears that the most. LA in six as they will win game one by a hefty margin and game two very convincingly… Lakers will win this series in six games…

  4. agnostica - Jun 2, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    I agree with some of your points. Ron Artest will be a key factor for the Lakers going into the Finals this year as he will be a tremendous help for the Lakers in defending against Pierce, but I think the one key factor that a lot of people are forgetting is that the Celtics bench has the edge against the Lakers. Farmar is hit or miss, as are a lot of the Lakers’ bench players. Celtics bench players are a bit more consistent. And I thoroughly believe the Lakers will not win the first two games. I think they’ll split the games and head to game 3 tied 1-1.

  5. tb - Jun 2, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    The Thunder and The Celts had the same record and OKC did it in a much stronger conference. Saying LA will be swept because OKC managed to win 2 games shows a lack of respect for how good OKC really is. Also, nobody who plays or coaches in the NBA would call the Utah Jazz a “soft” team on defense.
    The differences between 2008 and now:
    LA added Ron Artest, Bynum, and Pau got better, Fisher got worse.
    BOS added Rasheed, Robinson, lost Posey. Rondo got better, the big 3 got worse.
    LA has home court.
    LA in 6

  6. tom - Jun 2, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Tomorrow its time to BEAT LA. I got my shirt ready.

  7. BostonCrushesLASillyNannies - Jun 2, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    The LaLa Lakers, nor thier fem fans, are ready for the East Coast beatdown they are about to receive. Thier eunuch coach is already so afraid he’s pre-complaining that the Celtics are too rough and that his team might actually have to man up, strap on some testes and play real basketball, not that fem-dont-touch-me style they play out thier in land of the ass clowns. You dont get a title because you think you deserve a title, you show up and take it. And considering Odom’s tranny wife has more testosterone than the whole lakers starting 5, they will be going down harder than a lakers fan on that shriveled up has-been Nicholson. The only way LA sees a championship trophy is when Paul Pierce brings it home to put it next to his 2008 trophy. What the freak is a Laker anyway?? What a bunch of butt pirates

  8. KOBE_SUX - Jun 2, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    Lakers will lose in 5 maybe even a sweep is in the makings. Lakers r still soft and Kobe will try to immitate his king MJ, only to come up empty handed. Boston is too strong and physical. Say goodnight faker fans!

  9. KOBE_SUX - Jun 2, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    Seriously, who have the lakers played…….no one. The Eastern Conference has been by far the better conference. Stiffer competition, better all-around talent and physicality to match. Fakers have no chance. Go big green!

  10. BostonCrushesLASillyNannies - Jun 2, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    I’ll tell ya who the Lakers played. They played Oklahoma..really? Theres a b-ball team in Okla-freakin-homa? Nuff said…then they played the Utah Spaz…oooh, scary. Then the Suns and Steve ‘Who Plays Like He Has a Gash’ Nash. I’ve never seen softer teams or a softer conference in my life. There are some WNBA teams who could’ve breezed through those teams. The Celtics only dismantled the two toughest teams in the NBA this year with the two best records. And they made the best player in the league, King James, look like they made Kobe look 2 years ago. Like he was trying to
    b-ball after crapping in his shorts. I understand if your a LaLa lakers fan and you have to try to have some sort of confidence or hope in your team. But you’re fooling your pansie purple asses if you think your ready for whats coming. Your not. You have as good a chance of winning as Phil Jackson does of not throwing a hip out every morning.

  11. goLakers - Jun 2, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    Thunderfan, I don’t see how you can say the Thunder almost beat the Lakers. The Lakers won it in six games. Also, they bet them on their home court. Almost could mean getting to a game seven and Lakers winning it at the buzzer. Lakers in six!!!

  12. KOBE_SUX_BA>LS - Jun 2, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    ditto dat Boston crushes….deez lakers can roll on deez nu^s….Kobe looked like a little child. MJ would have never allowed that kind of destruction to happen….Kobe(wannabe jordan) will not win any more championships….MJ=GOAT….Boston, ur 2010 champs!

  13. KOBE_SUX_BAL6Z - Jun 2, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    KOBE WAS A HOT MESS IN 08, HE GOT KILLED FOR THAT REASON AND MANY OTHERS HE WILL NOT BE KNOWN AS THE GOAT….MJ would have never allowed it. He’s a softy, get ready world, KG and Boston, ur 2010 world champs!!!!!

  14. Carlos The Hyena - Jun 2, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    This article is dumb: “NBA Finals, Lakers Celtics Game 1: Boston’s defense may come as a shock to the Lakers system”….then again it might not…so what is the point of this article. Lakers could take this in 4, but will probably require 6 due to lack of concentration.

  15. LakerFans 4 life - Jun 2, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    When it comes down to it, nobody don’t care how Boston or Lakers plays defense or offense. Is who wins the final baby. I wouldn’t even care if the Lakers win by a half of point or by a half second. Just win baby.

  16. LakerFans 4 life - Jun 2, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    Dude! Boston played nobody that can match up with them. No# 1 King James team was out coached. They had the team to beat Boston but never executed. No# 2 Orlando had Dwight Howard and the rest didn’t show. If Vince Carter played liked anything when he was in his prime, Boston for sure would’ve lost that series. So I don’t know what the hell you are talking about. Anyway, we will see who’s the real King when the final is over.

  17. ralph - Jun 2, 2010 at 6:54 PM

    soft conferance ? Boston perhaps doesnt even make the playoffs if they were in the west! last yr LA was hoping to face Boston again but obiously they werent the best team in the East so we had to settle with beating the team that knocked off the celts.look at the dacade that just ended LA four titles six apearances and San Antonio four titles four apearances. it seems to me that winning the west was the hard part and by the time you get to the finals its a macthup between the the number one team against the fifth or sixth best team in the league,and the Lakers started the new decade with another title so lets see how this endsup before you can claim that the east is better ! boston wasnt even relavant for like twenty some yrs when they lost two of three finals to the lakeshow way back in the 80s.

  18. Omnius - Jun 2, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    The Ancient Celtics were lucky to beat Eastern CreamPuff Conference teams like the Cadavers and Tragic. The Tragic were soft because they played two total creampuff teams before running into Gang Green. The Tragic just plain gave up in game 1 and really wimped out in game 6, so unlike the game Suns who battled every game with the Lakers.
    The Ancient Celtics may well be surprised by the Lakers formidable offense, something they’ve never seen in the playoffs. In 2008 the Lakers were down two injured players, this year the Celts are one down. This year the Lakers have the all important homecourt advantage that the Celts had in 2008. Showtime Lakers in 6 games though it would be sweeter to see them finish off the Celts in Boston and party on the same floor they lost on in 2008.

  19. LakerFans 4 life - Jun 2, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    U tell’m dude. The EAST sux anyway.

  20. LakerFans 4 life - Jun 2, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    Love that thought of celebrating on the Boston the floor.

  21. jonnymac - Jun 2, 2010 at 8:09 PM

    Wow….there’s a lot of Boston trash-talkers on this post!
    Okay let’s understand something…when the LAKERS play their best, and have Bynum and Odom aggressive…..there isn’t a team on this planet that can beat them. Believe that.
    And who was the idiot that said the eastern conference is tougher?…..child please!…..ooooh all of 3 competitive teams….I’m so scared!
    The Thunder almost beat the LAKERS?…..since when is losing 2 games to 4 almost?..keep in mind when Kobe decided to play ‘westbroke’ he locked him up. And let’s not get into what Artest did to the so-called best scorer (foul-shooter) in the league.
    Child Please!…..Artest will lock the motherlovin daylights outta Pierce or Allen.
    And Odom and Gasol will definitely tap that A*%!…and the Black Mamba will most certainly put a hurting on them “lepper-Cons”.
    Trust me boston fans….the LAKERS and their fans are out for blood on this one….and this time?….oh, it’s personal!……unlike the other 11 Finals meetings where it was actually quite convivial….LOL as I’m writing this!!!

  22. luffy - Jun 2, 2010 at 8:33 PM

    Celtics Defense? WTF? are you kidding me? The Celtics Defense is overrated! The teams in the East just suck in shooting the ball, everybody choked. All these teams that Boston beat are a bunch of kids which is so dependent on their star players… Let me break it down for you…
    Thunder – Team Play + good coach Scott Brooks
    Jazz – Team Play + good coach Jerry Sloan
    Suns – Team Play + good coach Alvin gentry
    Lakers – Team play + best coach Phil Jackson
    other teams in the West…
    Spurs – Team Play + 2nd best coach Greg Popovich
    Portland – Team Play + good coach Nate Mcmillan
    Nuggets – Somewhat team play + too bad George Karl wasn’t present
    Dallas – Team play but choked + good coach Rick Carlisle
    Ok, now let’s go to the teams that the Celtics beat…
    Miami – Wade + young coach who I don’t know?
    Cavs – Lebron + the great mike brown, wow!
    Magic – Howard + the great van gundy, wanna shout w/him til you loose your voice?
    Now tell me the difference, your thoughts please…

  23. Anonymous - Jun 2, 2010 at 10:52 PM

    Go back to school idiot and learn english
    “Love that thought of celebrating on the Boston the floor.”

  24. luffy - Jun 2, 2010 at 10:55 PM

    You’re kinda picky but agreed it’s kinda funny…
    “Love that thought of celebrating on the Boston the floor.”
    Lakers in 5 or 6…

  25. JC - Jun 2, 2010 at 11:25 PM

    Watch Rondo’s lighting speed and the great 3C’s. They put up great defense and plays the game cohesively. They have great Team work. Dont blink, because before you knew it game is over.

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