3-point play: Lakers dominate Game 1

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KG and Boston usually don't surrender on the boards, but Game 1 was a case of Laker domination.LOS ANGELES -- A look at three of our featured ESPN.com stories after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night at the Staples Center.

Forsberg: Poor rebounding tells story for Green

On the dry erase board at the front of the visitor's locker room, the first-half stats were still on display, the Los Angeles Lakers' 23-15 rebounding advantage over the Boston Celtics circled and starred for emphasis.

In one corner of the room, Kendrick Perkins, still in uniform, reclined all the way into his locker and shut his eyes as if trying to process what had just occurred.

From the back of the locker room, in the shower area, the voice of one of Boston's big men bellowed a four-letter expletive that concisely summed up the frustration of a Celtics team that ultimately got outrebounded, 42-31, for the game.

Boston's inability to compete on the glass -- something Celtics coach Doc Rivers pointed to as potentially the key aspect of the NBA Finals in the days leading up to the series -- spelled its demise in a 102-89 loss to the Lakers in Game 1 on Thursday night at the Staples Center.

"You definitely can't win a game, especially on the road, being outrebounded like that," sighed Kevin Garnett, who finished with a mere four rebounds -- only two of which were defensive -- over 34 minutes, 47 seconds of action.

"I gotta initiate that. I'm better than what I was tonight. I played like horse s--- tonight."

He might as well have been referring to the entire Celtics team.

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May: Rondo just wasn't himself

The numbers aren't bad. Thirteen points, eight assists, six rebounds. On most nights, Rajon Rondo would probably take those numbers -- and take his chances.

But those numbers were submitted Thursday after a certifiable spanking administered by the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, a 102-89 Los Angeles victory. And anyone who watched the Lakers' thorough conquest of the Boston Celtics knows that Rondo was, well, not the Rondo the Celtics need to win this series.

Three of his points came in the second half, when the Lakers effectively put the game one away. So did half of his assists and two of his rebounds. And the guy who was third in the playoffs in steals came up empty-handed in that department. That has happened only once before in the 2010 playoffs -- the Celtics' Game 1 loss to the Cavaliers.

There has been an almost universal (and justifiable) slobbering over the way Rondo has played this season. He made the Eastern Conference All-Star team and was named to the first All-Defensive team. He was generally seen as the Celtics' most important, if not best, player over 82 games. He is the possessor of a five-year, $55 million contract that kicks in next season. He is now in the discussion when the topic "elite point guards" is raised at any water cooler.

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Broussard: KG, Celtics lose Game 1 battle in paint

They can't be soft. They just can't be.

Not with Rajon Rondo having a power forward's mentality when it comes to rebounding. Not with Big Bad 'Sheed owning as much street cred as anyone who's graced the league over the past 15 seasons. Not with Glen Davis having the skills and physique of a defensive end.

So we won't go overboard and attach the dreaded "S-word" to the Boston Celtics. But know this: In Thursday's 102-89 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Celtics certainly looked soft.

For all the talk about the delicate Lakers, all the chatter about their fairly peaceful stroll through the finesse-riddled Western Conference, all the questions about the tall, lean Spanish guy (because, you know, Europeans haven't always displayed the fortitude necessary to capture titles), it was the Celtics who appeared a bit dainty in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

"I thought the Lakers were clearly the more physical team today," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought they were more aggressive. I thought they attacked us the entire night. I didn't think we handled it very well. They killed us on the glass."

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For more on Game 1, check out both ESPN Boston and ESPN Los Angeles for a glimpse of all our content. Here's some quick links to some other good reads this morning:

* McMenamin: Lakers hit 'Easy Button' in Game 1 win

* Land O' Lakers: One big moment for Pau Gasol, Lakers

* Rick Fox: Lakers won in first 30 seconds with physical play

* Daily Dime: Adande on what Lakers learned; Hollinger on Lakers' bench