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NBA Finals Report Card: Game 1

NBA Finals Report Card: Game 1
Boston Celtics
 
C+
Rajon Rondo, PG
39 min., 13 points (6-14 FG, 1-4 FT), 6 rebounds, 8 assists
Rondo's numbers weren't bad and his ineffectiveness was heavily influenced by Boston's inability to get stops (and subsequently get out in transition), but he struggled to keep the Celtics' half-court offense flowing -- Boston's most consistent stretch came in the fourth quarter, when Nate Robinson was running the show -- and didn't impact the game much defensively.
C
Ray Allen, SG
27 min., 12 points (3-8 FG, 0-2 3PT), 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 TOs
Allen wasn't bad ... when he was on the floor. Plagued by foul trouble, Allen -- the ultimate rhythm player -- was never able to establish one. The Celtics couldn't get him many good looks off stagger screens and though he did capitalize on a few low-post opportunities, he didn't get enough. Still, Allen is a weapon Boston will look to take advantage of a lot in Game 2.
C
Kendrick Perkins, C
24 min., 8 points (2-2 FG, 4-5 FT), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 0 blocks
The good news is that Perkins didn't pick up a seventh, suspension-inducing technical foul. Perkins was outscored and outrebounded by Andrew Bynum. Boston's most physical player was often pushed around under the rim.
B-
Paul Pierce, SF
46 min., 24 points (6-13 FG, 0-4 3PT, 12-13 FT), 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 TOs
While wearing Ron Artest as a sweater, Pierce was quietly effective. He did most of his damage at the free-throw line but shot a decent percentage and got Artest in foul trouble early in the game. But Pierce let Artest get too many buckets and he didn't have the kind of dominating scoring night that Boston probably will need from him at some point in this series.
C-
Kevin Garnett, PF
35 min., 16 points (7-16 FG, 2-2 FT), 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
The matchup between Garnett and Pau Gasol is arguably the most pivotal head-to-head in this series, and K.G. lost this one -- badly. Gasol was dominant, wreaking havoc on the offensive glass and operating effortlessly out of the post while Garnett had a very quiet 16 points. Garnett also missed a point-blank shot at the rim early in the fourth quarter that could have curbed L.A.'s momentum.
C+
The Bench
69 min., 16 points, 5-6 FG, 9 rebounds, 5 assists
Only Rasheed Wallace (nine points) keeps this grade from being an F. While Wallace canned his jumpers, Tony Allen missed his, Glen Davis couldn't find his and Nate Robinson didn't come close to making any of his. Wallace aside, the Celtics reserves made just two of their 10 shots. Dribble penetration was an issue for everyone wearing green, including Boston's bench, which allowed Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown to attack the rim often.
D
Doc Rivers, Head Coach
The Lakers defense isn't impenetrable. Just ask Phoenix. But part of the Celtics' failures to operate successfully in the halfcourt falls on Rivers, who went deep into his bench but couldn't find the right answer.
 
Los Angeles Lakers
 
C+
Derek Fisher, PG
28 min., 9 points (3-8 FG, 3-3 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 TOs
Fisher picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter, setting the tone for a mediocre night. Fisher's jump shot wasn't falling and, despite not having to chase Ray Allen around screens too often, Fisher didn't distinguish himself defensively, either. Assuming Allen bounces back, Fisher will have a much taller task in Game 2.
A-
Kobe Bryant SG
38 min., 30 points (10-22 FG, 1-2 3PT, 9-10 FT), 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Bryant was his usual steady self, scoring in bunches (18 in the second half) and at a high percentage while managing the game effortlessly. Recognizing it was Gasol's night, Bryant made an effort to get his All-Star sidekick involved, though sometimes too often -- he finished the game with four turnovers. Still, Bryant scored almost at will and his defense was an effective deterrent to Rondo.
B+
Andrew Bynum, C
28 min., 10 points (4-6 FG, 2-4 FT), 4 rebounds, 1 block
About 20 consistent minutes was all the Lakers expected of Bynum coming into the game. But, despite a sore knee, Bynum played 28 solid minutes, providing an imposing presence on the inside and finishing most of his shots around the rim. Bynum will be a wildcard as the series moves forward, but in Game 1, he delivered.
B+
Ron Artest, SF
32 min., 15 points (5-10 FG, 3-5 3PT), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block
After picking up an early technical foul and launching a few ill-advised shots at the rim, you wondered what road Artest was heading down. But he calmed down as the game went on, made Pierce work for his shots and finished with a very respectable stat line. If Artest plays like this every game, the Lakers will take it.
A
Pau Gasol, PF
36 min., 23 points (8-14 FG, 7-10 FT), 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks
What more can you say about Gasol? He scored inside and out. He owned the backboards and was more physical than Garnett. Gasol played like a man determined to prove something. In Game 1, he did.
B
The Bench
64 min., 15 points (7-16 FG, 8 rebounds, 5 assists
The numbers aren't gaudy -- no Laker reserve finished with more than six points -- but L.A.'s second unit was quietly effective. With Phil Jackson making the rare decision to go 10-deep, the Lakers' subs kept the team in the game when Fisher, Gasol and Bryant exited with early foul trouble and kept the pressure on Boston late in the game. Lamar Odom (five points, five fouls) looked out of sorts, but the rest of L.A.'s bench picked up the slack.
B+
Phil Jackson, Head Coach
"Attack" was Jackson's message to his team, and they did very effectively. The triangle offense flowed seamlessly, Gasol got plenty of touches in the post and Bryant often found himself with room to operate at the elbow. There weren't many in-game adjustments from the Zen Master, but then again, not many were needed. The Lakers' offensive and defensive strategies worked well from the opening possession.
 
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