In Thursday's Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Lakers' Pau Gasol got the better of Celtics forward Kevin Garnett -- by a lot, more so than most suspected, or could have even predicted.
Gasol's 23-point, 14-rebound production came mostly in Garnett's face, and the Spaniard was quicker while Garnett looked older and slower, putting up just 16 points and four rebounds.
The two have history from when Gasol entered the league with Memphis while Garnett was with Minnesota. Gasol said in those years, he was trying to establish himself against a "great, great player," which motivated him.
But Friday, Gasol said Garnett isn't the player he used to be.
"He's also lost some explosiveness," Gasol said. "He's more of a jump-shooter now, you could say, comes off the lane. Before, he had a really, really quick first step and he was getting to the lane and he was more aggressive then."
Gasol added that even though time has passed, Garnett is still a "terrific player, a terrific competitor.
Garnett didn't seem to take offense, but said he had "no comments for his comments."
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, for his part, said, "I just can't wait -- I didn't know he said that, but I'll be excited to see how it goes in Game 2."
Speaking generally, Garnett said he is looking forward to Game 2, but he has to "be in control."
"I've got to quit thinking and just react," he said. "I've just got to be aggressive."
And of his matchup with Gasol, Garnett said, "It's not a one-on-one situation between me and Pau. It's Lakers versus Celtics."
-- Baxter Holmes