The star of the postseason shined once again. In the 12th Finals meeting of the Lakers and Celtics, Kobe Bryant made it clear he was out to win his fifth championship as he carried L.A. to a 102-89 rout in Game 1.
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Bryant ran all over Boston defenders to score a game-high 30 points, in addition to seven rebounds and six assists.
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The win puts the Lakers a step closer to avenging their 2008 Finals loss to the Celtics. It also puts them closer to making that fan very happy.
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Lakers 7-foot center Andrew Bynum, who played with a torn meniscus, made his impact early in the game, scoring three straight to give L.A. a 37-33 lead in the first half. He finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
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Pau Gasol took some heat for his lackluster showing in the 2008 Finals. But his 23-point, 14-rebound performance in Game 1 ought to quiet the critics.
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Rapper Snoop Dogg, an avid Lakers fans, sat courtside as Kobe went to work.
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The Lakers took a 50-41 lead at the break, but Rajon Rondo kept the Celtics close with 10 points in the first half.
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It was comedy row next to the Lakers' bench. Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James and Adam Sandler sat together to promote their movie "Grown Ups."
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After he and Ron Artest picked up double technicals in the opening minute, Paul Pierce went on to finish with 24 points and nine rebounds.
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Actor and comedian Will Ferrell also took in the action at the Staples Center.
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Bynum and Gasol proved too tough for the Celtics inside as they outrebounded Boston 42-31.
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Ron Artest scored 15 points in the physical battle with the Celtics' Big Three.
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Rondo, who's been hindered by back spasms lately, finished with 13 points, eight assists and six boards.
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Bryant continues his chase for a second straight title on Sunday, when the Lakers face Boston in Game 2 in L.A.
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