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NBA finals Celtics Lakers Game 1: Pau Gasol tears the Big Ticket in half

Jun 4, 2010, 2:40 AM EDT

pgasol_dunk.jpgThe spirit was willing. The body was not.

Kevin Garnett reached up with the ball to dunk and found it just.. wasn’t there.

In Game 1 of the NBA finals, there were many reasons the Celtics fell to the Lakers by 13 (at one point down 20). But it cannot be overstated the level of Pau-nage that Pau Gasol unleashed upon Kevin Garnett Thursday night. Whereas Garnett enjoyed size advantages over Udonis Haslem, Antawn Jamison, and Rashard Lewis, facing seven foot Gasol was a completely different matter.

Gasol finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 assists, with two considerable blocks on Garnett in the block. There was nothing the Celtics could do against Pau. He was a monster. 8, count ’em, 8 offensive rebounds. He had the mid-range, nailing contested shots with a hand in his face. He had the inside game going, cleaning up misses and working the pick and roll superbly.

Garnett? On the long list of red flags for the Celtics after Game 1, Garnett has to wave the brightest and most alarmingly. It wasn’t just how Gasol blocked him, dwarfing Garnett, but it was the measure of fail. The play that encapsulated his night was a fourth quarter bunnie miss where all he had to do was dunk with two hands. But the ball just came out, Garnett got almost no lift and the Lakers walked away with possession.

Garnett had made a living in the playoffs off the pick and pop 18 footer. But not only was Gasol’s length covering the shot itself, but the Lakers’ perimeter defense picked off Garnett’s passes resulting in deflected resets and a few steals. Garnett was out of his zone, and then his age did the rest of the damage. 

It was one game, something Garnett can brush off. And he recognizes he has to play better. But the question is what Garnett can do to combat the physical and talent advantages Gasol presents.

One thing’s certain. Screaming, yelling, cursing, and hitting your head on a stanchion isn’t going to get the job done.

  1. T - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:24 AM

    Congrats, Garnett scored as many points as Ron Artest. HA

  2. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 4, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    I like the sound of that. LOL!

  3. JD - Jun 4, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    Well obviously that was not the Garnett we’re used to seeing. Doc has got to a WAY BETTER JOB managing Garnett’s minutes he just looked out of gas in the 4th quarter.

  4. Mick the Ripper - Jun 4, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    Pau’s good but he is still the greasiest guy in the NBA.

  5. Shawn - Jun 4, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    Take it from a Minnesota basketball fan, what you saw out of Garnett, is what we saw all the time. When things get tough, aaahhhh he disappears. Pierce, Rondo and Allen are the ones that carry that team. Garnett is just a good compliment to them and an all around good player, but not a super star. His stats when things are easy and going well are pretty good, but come crunch time take a look at those stats.

  6. DougTucson - Jun 4, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    When that unbelievable trade happened that brought Gasol to the Lakers, I thought it could make them a really good team. He is a very good player and getting better. And he is really long.

  7. DCLAKERFAN - Jun 4, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    AND YOU ONLY ***LOST*** BY 13…..?WOW

  8. lakerD - Jun 4, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    Celtic Defense, just met the Laker Defense and got crushed!

  9. Omnius - Jun 4, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    Kevin Garnett looked old and weak last night, so weak he couldn’t even make an easy two handed uncontested dunk. His Pau-nage just outmuscled and outfought KG and made him look like a little private. I loved how Gasol sent an early message giving Ray Allen a big chest thump and all Ray could do was smile afterwards. Yeah Pau has shown he’s now a real tough guy who can bang with the bully Celtics and bully them around. Bynum also did a great job of making the Celtic Bigs look Small and Odom just outhustled his way to many rebounds. The Laker length will control the paint in this series which is all over except for the final tally and handing the Lakers their well deserved 16th title. Now the only mystery is will the Lakers clinch at TD Gardens or at home.

  10. observer - Jun 4, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    Well its just game one. Celts obviously didnt play celtic Basket ball. We lost Game one against the Cav’s and the media was shopping for the celt’s casket.Only to realise that they had the funeral of a king on their hands.The second time around will be much better than the first.

  11. LakersFan - Jun 4, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    “Well it’s just one game”… that’s what Scott Brooks, Jerry Sloan and Alvin Gentry said too. These coaches and their players are watching the NBA Finals now or on summer vacation. The difference between losing Game 1 to Cavs and losing Game 1 to the Lakers are totally two different things. The Lakers are the reigning NBA’s World Champ and Cavs are NOT-Cavs were the regular season “champion” with its regular season’s MVP winner. The Lakers are playing with pride to defend its title. LAkers in 6!

  12. PurpleNGold - Jun 4, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    I agree with “Observer”, it is only “game one”. Game two is much more critical, for both teams…The C’s of course would love to win because it would give them momentum going back to Boston, knowing that the following “3” games would be at their place….And for the Lakers, because of the aforementioned, and that they would lead the series 2-0; and winning 1 in Boston brings them back to L.A. up 3-2 in the series, for the final “2” games, “If necessary”.
    Both teams are very, very good, and deserve nothing but respect from here on out; Particularly Boston, after having to go through back to back powerhouse teams, in Cleveland and Orlando….And for the Lakers, because well, they’re the “Defending Champions”.

  13. deming - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    it was just one game…….
    technically yes, but look on the bright side….47-ZIP.
    that’s the record for Phil Jackson coached teams in the play-offs: IF HIS TEAM WINS GAME 1, THEY EVENTUALLY WIN THE SERIES

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