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 BOSTON (AP) -Rebounding, the Los Angeles Lakers' biggest weakness, cropped up again in Game 1 of the NBA finals.
The Boston Celtics continued a disturbing postseason trend Thursday night for Los Angeles, outrebounding the Lakers by 13 to help them to a 98-88 victory to open the seven-game series.
As one-time Los Angeles coach Pat Riley once said, ``No rebounds, no rings.'' These Lakers would be best-served to heed those words.
The Lakers reached the finals by winning 12 of 15 postseason games despite getting 51 fewer rebounds than their opponents, an average of 3.4 per game. They got an average of 1.3 rebounds more than their 82 regular-season foes.
In Game 1 against Boston, Celtics won the battle of the boards 46-33.
No rebound was bigger than one by Kevin Garnett, who was left alone to slam in James Posey's miss from 3-point range for one of his four offensive rebounds to give the Celtics a 94-86 lead with 1:32 remaining. The Lakers weren't closer than six points after that.
``They did a much better job on the boards,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. ``That's the difference in the ballgame.''
Pau Gasol had eight rebounds and Lamar Odom added six to lead the Lakers. Garnett had 13, guard Ray Allen added eight and backup forward P.J. Brown had six for the Celtics. Boston had 12 second-chance points to only four for Los Angeles.
The Lakers led 51-46 at halftime despite being outrebounded 20-15 in the opening 24 minutes, and fell behind for good by being outscored 31-22 in the third quarter while being outrebounded 14-7.
The Lakers' bench, so significant in the team's success, also let them down, combining to make just 5-of-15 shots for 15 points. Boston's bench scored 17 points.
Another factor was the lack of second-half offense from Gasol (three points) and Derek Fisher (two points). The pair combined for 25 points in the first half.
The Lakers trailed by only four points after Sasha Vujacic's basket with 6:52 remaining, but they had only one field goal and scored only six points after that.
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