The Los Angeles Lakers began the NBA Finals with a decisive (102-89) Game 1 victory over the Boston Celtics at Staples Center last Thursday. The Lakers’ solid defense virtually eliminated Boston’s game in the paint. The L.A. squad’s big men – especially an aggressive Pau Gasol (23 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots) and Lamar Odom – put up big blocks on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. Kobe Bryant, who led all scorers with 30 points (along with seven rebounds and six assists), also deserves credit for neutralizing Rondo.

However, Los Angeles’ defense was not on point Sunday at Staples. An explosive Rondo came away with a triple double: 10 assists, 12 rebounds (the most in the game) and 19 points. Ray Allen was on fire from downtown, making an NBA Finals record of eight three-pointers. Allen led all scorers with 32 points, as the Celtics won Game 2 103-94. While Allen and Rondo stole most of the spotlight, Lakers center Andrew Bynum had his best playoff game thus far, despite his injured right knee. The 22-year-old showed passion and determination, scoring 21 points, pulling down six rebounds and making seven blocks.

This was the Lakers first home-game loss of the 2010 postseason. Games 4 and 5 are Thursday and Sunday in Boston. Game 6 is Tuesday (if necessary) back in Los Angeles.