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Kobe Bryant guides LA Lakers to opening finals win

LA Lakers' Kobe Bryant holds off the Boston Celtics defence

Lakers draw first blood in NBA Finals

NBA Finals: LA Lakers v Boston Celtics
Coverage: Video highlights each day on the BBC Sport website (UK only)

Kobe Bryant hit 30 points as the LA Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 102-89 in the first game of the NBA finals in Los Angeles.

Bryant also had seven rebounds and six assists, and the Lakers dominated the game almost from the start after Boston had opened the scoring.

The home side led by five after the first quarter but stretched that to 20 points with 10 minutes still to play.

The Lakers also host the second game of the best-of-seven series on Sunday.

As well as Bryant's contribution, Pau Gasol had 23 points and 14 rebounds, with Ron Artest also scoring 15 for the Lakers who had been out-muscled by the Celtics in the 2008 finals.

The game got off to an exciting start after just 27 seconds when Artest and Boston's Paul Pierce got double technical fouls after crashing to the court back-to-back with elbows locked.

That early clash set the tone for the game and the mood did not improve much with the game featuring 54 fouls.


Bryant excelled as playmaker as he drove Los Angeles on and they were even able to survive a late revival by the Celtics.

Boston's Ray Allen coped well enough with guard duties on Bryant to be able to score 12 points in 27 minutes but Boston encountered foul trouble, with Pierce also suffering.

Kevin Garnett struggled with only seven for 16 from the field and he managed just four rebounds.

It was the 12th straight post-season home win for the Lakers and it means the Celtics face a vital second game on Sunday.

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see also
Deng tips Lakers to win NBA title
03 Jun 10 |  Basketball
NBA team sale to Russian approved
12 May 10 |  Business
NBA star Gordon to make GB debut
07 May 10 |  Basketball

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