*So the Celtics want to play rough again? Kobe Bryant and the Lakers look ready this time around, and they barged into an early lead in the NBA finals.
Bryant scored 30 points, Pau Gasol had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and defending champion Los Angeles got tough in a 102-89 victory over Boston in the NBA finals opener Thursday night.
Ron Artest scored 15 points after tumbling to the ground in a tangle with Paul Pierce in the opening minute of the 12th finals meeting in the NBA’s most scintillating rivalry. Bryant and Gasol then led a gritty physical effort against the Celtics, who memorably pushed around the Lakers while winning their 2008 finals matchup in six games.
“They were the more physical team by far,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “They were more aggressive. They attacked us the entire night. I didn’t think we handled it very well.”
Pierce scored 24 points and Kevin Garnett added 16 after a slow start for the Celtics, who might not want to know Lakers coach Phil Jackson’s teams in Los Angeles and Chicago have won 47 straight playoff series after winning Game 1.
“I wish I had put it in the bank, so to speak,” said Jackson, the 10-time champion. “We’ve got to play this out. … Our defense stiffened at various points in the game, was very effective. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but it’s nice to know that (the 47-0 streak) is on our side.”
Game 2 is Sunday night at Staples Center.
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Watch the top 5 plays from Game 1: