In a game that saw its share of momentum swings and lead changes, the Celtics took a 1-0 in the NBA Finals with a 98-88 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at the Garden. Let’s get right into the coverage, as there is a ton of it this morning:
Marc J. Spears has the Celtics getting the needed second half stops to come back and beat the Lakers. Mark Murphy has Paul Pierce bouncing back from appeared to be a serious knee injury to lead the Celtics to the win. Kevin McNamara has some East coast grit providing the difference in game one. As usual, Dan Shaughnessy draws the Globe front page assignment for the game story. Jeff Howe has the Celtics stealing Kobe’s spotlight and taking game one. Bill Doyle has Paul Pierce’s heroic return pushing the Celtics to a game one win. Paul Doyle has Pierce carving out a niche for himself in Celtics lore last night. Scott Souza has Pierce perfecting his flair for the dramatic last night. Jim Fenton says that this one will stand up to the Celtics/Lakers games of old.
Bob Ryan counsels Boston fans not to get cocky, because after all, it is only one game and Kobe IS going to go off in one of these games. We did need a wet blanket this morning, right? Steve Buckley has Kevin Garnett starting off strong, but struggling in the fourth quarter, which leaves KG hungry for game two. Robert Lee has the Celtics going after their ultimate goal in the NBA championship. Lenny Megliola says that this game lived up to all the pre-series hype. Bill Burt says that these guys looked like the Celtics of old last night.
Michael Vega has a look at the injury to Paul Pierce, which threatened to ruin the festive Garden atmosphere, not to mention the Celtics’ chances. Mike Fine has Pierce’s return giving the Celtics a big lift. Tony Massarotti has a look at the miraculous recovery by Pierce. Lee has Pierce talking about the need to get back out there after his injury. Howe says that this series should answer some of the legacy questions about Pierce. Jeff Jacobs says you can’t keep a good Celtic down. Burt claims that Pierce enters Bird territory with that performance last night. Tim Weisberg agrees that Pierce deserves his own slot in Celtic mythology now.
Dan Ventura has a look at the job that Ray Allen did on Kobe last night. Monique Walker has the Celtics defense never resting on Kobe last night. Jennifer Toland has the defense standing tall down the stretch last night. Bill Reynolds has the Celtics stealing Kobe’s spotlight last night. Julian Benbow has a look at Sam Cassell, who made a big contribution off the bench. Steve Conroy focuses on P.J. Brown, who was also big off the Celtics bench last night, especially after Kendrick Perkins hurt his ankle. Reynolds has a look at Kevin Garnett, who has certainly changed the direction of the Celtics franchise.
Shaughnessy goes through some of his personal memories from Celtics/Lakers series of the past, and says that now young people are making their own memories with this series. Buckley has Wyc Grousbeck enjoying the ride. Ventura has Dr J remembering the origins of the Beat LA chant. Laura Crimaldi checks in with one of the Garden characters, former sweeper Rudolph “Spider” Edwards Sr. The Projo offers a quiz on the Celtics-Lakers rivalry.
Vega’s notebook has more on the injuries to Pierce and Perkins. Murphy’s notebook has more on the injury to Perkins. McNamara’s notebook has Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talking about his reception in Boston this time around. Doyle’s notebook says that many of the current Celtics and Lakers could use some history lessons. Doyle’s notebook has the Celtics using some of the predictions from the “experts” as motivation. The ET notebook has Rajon Rondo passing his first Finals exam. Fenton’s notebook has the Celtics doing their best to keep Kobe away from the basket.
Shira Springer has Kobe Bryant struggling a bit last night on 9-26 shooting. Steve Bulpett has Bryant really giving no credit to the Celtics defense following the game, instead saying that he just missed some shots. Barbara Matson has Pau Gasol and the Lakers frustrated by their missed chances last night. Toland says that Lamar Odom could be the key to the series for the Lakers.
Vega checks in with Kurt Rambis, now a Lakers assistant, about being taken down by Kevin McHale (who he hasn’t spoken to since) in game four of the 1984 Finals. Conroy looks at the wealth of championship experience that the Lakers coaching staff can boast of. Walker has a piece on Lakers reserve guard Coby Karl, who has already endured his share of adversity.
Springer’s notebook has Odom saying he doesn’t feel any adding pressure at having to match up with Kevin Garnett.
In a Courtside chatter segment, Spears has a number of notes from the game and series.
It was a crazy night at Fenway Park. A bench-clearing brawl with the Rays, Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis getting into it with each other in the Red Sox dugout, injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury and Ramirez, and a Red Sox 7-1 win behind Jon Lester. Catch all the coverage over at RedSoxLinks.com.
The Patriots start their full squad mini-camp today. Rich Garven has five things to look for in this camp. Mike Reiss reports on some minor surgery for Jarvis Green. Check all the stories at PatriotsLinks.com.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has a piece on ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.
David Scott has Bill Simmons taking a few shots at Rick Reilly, and catches up on some other media items.