Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times: "The Celtics won Game 1, 98-88, on the momentum of a recovery that smacked more of professional wrestling than professional basketball. When Pierce crumpled on the floor after being apparently faked out of his kneecap by Kobe Bryant with 6:52 left in the third quarter, the Lakers led by four points. When he returned after just 1:45 had ticked off the game clock, the Celtics led by one. The 'Rocky' theme played. The crowd roared. Pierce hobbled out with drama dripping from every step. He was so hurt, he immediately began sprinting around the stunned Lakers defenders. He was in such pain, he hit consecutive three pointers late in the period that gave the Celtics the lead for good. At which point, a Lakers season filled with colorful adjectives had been reduced to one word. C'mon! Afterward, Pierce played the part of the resurrected hero, shaking his head at the wonder of it all. 'You know, I think God sent this angel down and said, 'Hey, you're going to be all right, you need to get back out there, show them what you've got,'' he said. The Lakers, meanwhile, were just shaking their heads, period. 'You know, you don't know what happens,' Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said of Pierce. 'Guys can break a shoelace and go out, the pants break down, a drawstring falls apart.'"
A theory that Kobe Bryant pressed extra-hard down the stretch in an attempt to win back some of the glory that Paul Pierce gained with his trip to the locker room.
On ESPN the Magazine's website, Baron Davis does a nice job interviewing Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups, and Kobe Bryant about what it takes to win a title. Bryant's response includes this: "When I was young, I was like, 'Take it or leave it. Train's gotta keep moving.' If you want to win a championship, if you're slacking, I'm going to let you know. And that went from Shaq down to Rick Fox. But when you have that togetherness, you don't get into finger-pointing. If a guy makes a mistake, loses a game, everyone plays the next game to redeem him. That attitude was critical to our getting the No. 1 seed this year."
TrueHoop reader Zach speaks for many who have e-mailed: "So, it is quite obvious that the ref blew two different backcourt calls. (Pau Gasol throwing the ball to Kobe Bryant was NOT a backcourt violation, as he had not established both feet and the ball in the frontcourt, yet it was called). Fast forward to KG running and jumping into the backcourt to save the ball, which led to Sam Cassell having a wide open J that he drained. He clearly stepped on the backcourt line before saving it, yet it wasn't called. The same ref was involved in both plays, and ordinarily I would just chalk it up to his incompetence ... but, with that hideous Larry O'Brien trophy engulfing halfcourt, it is hard to tell where the backcourt line is."
Basketbawful: "For a few glorious minutes last night, Sam-I-Am was every bit the spark plug that Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers prayed he'd be. But here's the problem with Sam: When he hits his first couple shots -- as he did last night -- he starts gunnin'. And that's not a good thing. Not by a long shot."
Chris Bosh as correspondent for Jay Leno.