BOSTON — Kurt Rambis says he sick of seeing the Kevin McHale clothesline from 1984 NBA finals. Well, he may get a reprieve because the Lakers are now on the let's-get-physical clock.
Yesterday was an uncomfortable day for the Lakers, and not just because they lost Game 1 on Thursday.
Questioning one's execution is one thing. Questioning one's manhood is another. Yesterday, the most prevalent storyline was similar to old Celts-Lakers issues. The Celtics were tougher and rougher Thursday night.
Ex-Laker great James Worthy was on a Boston radio station saying it. His former teammate, Magic Johnson, said it on a national radio program.
But we are not surprised because this is the Celtics' strength, playing East Coast maul-ball when necessary. The Celtics are noted for their defense (90.3 points allowed per game).
The Lakers, on the other hand, are an offensive dynamo with their "triangle offense," which spreads the floor. They have six players who put up more than 100 3-pointers, compared to four for the Celtics.
"When we shoot well, we are hard to beat," said Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic. "We had a lot of open shots that just missed. We have to make more of them against a team like the Celtics."
Kobe Bryant was buying into Vujacic's theory. That's convenient because he was a miserable 9-of-26 shooting.
Bryant said the vast majority of his misses were due to bad luck than rugged Celtics defense.
"I get those again, I'm foaming at the mouth. I want those looks again," said Bryant.
But Bryant did admit the Celtics were not going to let him drive to the hoop. They want him shooting outside. He knows that. The Celtics know that.
Despite what the league MVP says, maybe the Celtics' interior defense kept Bryant from even attempting to drive to the basket, "settling" for outside shots instead. He was credited with only two shots from in close, a missed lay-up and a dunk.