BOSTON — Where's the beef?
Where were the Hall-of-Fame coaching adjustments when the game mattered in the third quarter?
Where was the sense of urgency in the first quarter?
Where were the 45 points from Kobe Bryant?
Where's the Los Angeles Lakers defense?
Where oh where are the Lakers who buried three behemoths — Denver, Utah and defending champion San Antonio — in succession before these finals?
None of it was evident in the Celtics' 108-102 victory last night.
This was supposed to be the two weeks the Boston Celtics and the Lakers took the NBA back to the future, back to Larry vs. Magic, Havlicek vs. West and Russell vs. Wilt.
Instead it was Leon Powe (21 points) versus a Lakers defense that, at least for one coast-to-coast drive by the power forward, didn't exist.
Through two games there is only one observation to make: What a disappointment the Lakers have been.
I don't want to hear the Lakers made a game of it late last night, outscoring the Celtics 41-25 in the fourth, cutting the margin to two points with 38 seconds left, but Paul Pierce and James Posey hit free throws to insure it was too little too late.
The Celtics got fat with a 24-point lead with 7:40 left in the fourth, and L.A. took advantage with seven 3-pointers. But you knew they weren't going to lose this one.
The Lakers had to win last night if they were going to play a role in saving the NBA, or least winning over several million new fans the way Larry Bird and Magic Johnson did in the early to mid-1980s.
It's not supposed to matter when or where a game is played. Championship teams, or at the very least contenders, find a way.
The problem is the Lakers are used to it being easy. Bryant is unstoppable one-on-one. Pau Gasol is both sneaky and quick down low. And Vladimir Radmanovic, Sasha Vujacic or Derek Fisher hit wide open 3-pointers as good as any trio does in the league.
The problem is when you play the Celtics, offense is never easy.
Bryant, rarely if ever, has the ball when he is driving to the basket. Gasol would rather run out of bounds rather than run for the first down, if you know what I mean. And wide open "3's" against the Celtics are the exception instead of the rule.
The Lakers, though, aren't giving an inch here.
After Game 1 it was wide open misses, according to Kobe Bryant.
Last night, it was the referees, who sent the Boston Celtics to the line 38 times compared to only 10 for the Los Angeles Lakers.
"I've never seen anything like it in all my years in the finals," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. "When (Leon) Powe attempts more free throws than our entire team does (13-10) I have a problem."
"Doc told us we had to be aggressive if an opening was there," said Powe, who had two dunks late in the third. "I drove and nobody came over to me. I saw two defenders and I just split them. And I dunked it."
If it seemed so simple, well, it was.
Boston has scored at will. If it's not Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce getting wide open look after wide open look it is Powe imitating Dave Cowens by bruising his way to the basket for either an easy lay-in or two free throws.
But we know better. The Lakers defense deserves most of the credit ... or rather blame.
It's great being up 2-0 really only needing one win out of three in Los Angeles over the next week. But I have to say I thought this was going to be tough. I thought the Celtics might need a break or two. I was wrong.
The Celtics need only show up, throw an elbow or two, and show the Lakers who is boss.
Really, it's been that easy.
E-mail Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org, You can also read his blog, "Burt Talks Sports," at blogs.eagletribune.com/sports.