NBA Finals: Game 1
The Lakers and Celtics get set to face off in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1987.
Paul Pierce left the game in a wheelchair in the third quarter after injuring his knee, only to make a dramatic return to the court a few minutes later. His inspiring second-half performance helped rally the Celtics to a 98-88 victory in Game 1.
Kevin Garnett shot only 3-of-13 from the field in the second half, but one of his baskets was this put-back dunk in the fourth quarter.
Kobe Bryant scored 24 points on only 9-of-26 shooting from the field against Ray Allen and the Celtics.
Kobe Bryant was one of the Lakers who tried to slow down Paul Pierce, who scored 19 of his 22 points after halftime.
Ray Allen, shadowed by Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic, scored 19 points in the first NBA Finals game of his 12-year career.
Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett sandwich Kobe Bryant -- a fine example of the NBA's top-ranked defense at work. The Lakers, in fact, scored only 37 points in the second half.
Kevin Garnett's trademark intensity was on full display in the series opener. He finished with 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Derek Fisher, one of the few Lakers players with Finals experience, was solid in Game 1 with 15 points and six assists.
The Lakers' Pau Gasol and P.J. Brown battle for a rebound. Gasol collected 15 points and eight rebounds, while the 38-year-old Brown gave the Celtics some valuable minutes off the bench.