LOS ANGELES, June 4- Kobe Bryant scored 14 of his 30 points in the third quarter as the Los Angeles Lakers dominated the Boston Celtics 102-89 in Thursday's opening game of the 2010 National Basketball Association finals.Bryant came out firing on all cylinders for the Lakers, who outscored Boston 34-23 in the third to extend their lead to 20 points in front of a sellout crowd of 18,997 at Staples Center arena.
"We did a good job of defending the ball and rebounding the ball and then the offence comes and goes," Bryant said.
Pau Gasol had 23 points and 14 rebounds and Ron Artest scored 15 points for the defending champion Lakers, who are trying to make amends for losing in the 2008 finals to Boston.
"Guys chipped in at different times and helped us out," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "It wasn’t the prettiest basketball game I have ever watched but it was a good win for us."
For the second time in three years and the 12th time in history the Lakers and the Celtics are battling in the post-season showcase.
The Lakers have home court advantage but the Celtics have history on their side having won nine of 11 previous finals meetings between the two storied franchises.
And it didn’t take long for the sparks to fly Thursday as Lakers forward Artest and Celtics star Paul Pierce were slapped with technical fouls just 27 seconds into the game after they tangled under the Boston basket.
The melee drew players from both teams and resulted in some pushing and shoving.
"You can’t ease into the finals," Pierce said. "We got to do a better job. We let them run what they wanted to run, no resistance."
Game two of the best-of-seven series is Sunday in Los Angeles.
Bryant was in full post-season mode Thursday, cutting his way through the Celtics’ defence and breaking the game open in the third by shooting five-of-seven from the field. He also finished with six assists and seven rebounds.
The Lakers are now 9-0 at home in the playoffs and haven’t trailed in a series.
Phil Jackson-led teams are also a perfect 47-0 in series wins after having won the first game but Jackson wasn’t putting too much weight in that.
"This first game sets the table and that is important," Jackson said.
Pierce had 24 points and nine rebounds and Rajon Rondo finished with 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds for Boston who were outrebounded 42-31 and had several players in foul trouble Thursday.
"Our defence was horrible," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "That wasn’t our defence. Give the Lakers credit. They were more aggressive, more physical. They killed us on the glass."
Los Angeles led for all but the first basket of the game, finishing on a 18-10 run to take a 50-41 lead at the half.
Boston’s Rondo scored the first points of the game on a lay-up but the Celtics lead didn’t last long as Lakers quickly tied it and went ahead on drive and basket by Bryant just 1:33 later.
The Lakers shot 48.7 percent from the field compared to 43.3 for the Celtics. The Lakers also had 16 second-chance points to none for Boston and dominated in the paint where they outscored Boston 48-30.
"It was a parade for them down the paint," Rivers said. "We have to be better than that defensively."