As I suspected, Kobe let his "feud" with Ray Allen get the best of him in Game One. He turned the first quarter into a grudge match and strayed from what had brought the Lakers success all playoffs. I can't recall a game those two have squared off in where Kobe hasn't lost focus of the team concept for stretches of the game. I also thought Odom had several mental lapses during the game. We've seen this multiple times during the playoffs, where he appears to lose his focus/concentration which ultimately leads to stupid fouls and 7-8 minute stretches where you forget he's on the floor. While his stat sheet may not have been that bad, he made several key mistakes that swung momentum.
Boston didn't play their best game, either. They were fortunate enough to hit some timely baskets and get some fortuitous rolls (see Paul Pierce's banked three to make a four-point play). Mainly, they just appeared to have more energy and were getting on the floor for loose balls. Boston wanted it more, and it paid off in the end.
This being said, I'm sticking with the Lakers to pull off a Game 2 upset on the road. Odom hasn't had back-to-back mediocre games in awhile, so I see him coming back focused. Kobe's shot selection should improve after watching game tape and doing whatever Voodoo exercises Phil has him doing these days. Call me a homer if you want, but I've got LA in game two -- feel free to make me eat my crow if I'm wrong.
One final thought: How bad could Pierce's knee actually be if he was playing full-speed, high-intensity basketball just minutes after "injuring" it? If I didn't know any better, I would have thought he was breathing his last breathes while lying on the floor moaning for 2-plus minutes. Part of me thinks it was a big scheme (that paid off) to re-energize the crowd upon his heroic return. Either that, or they just gave him some ridiculously potent meds.
This could be a Finals for the ages!