Possibly the most memorable event from Game 1 of these NBA Finals was how much Pau Gasol had improved since the 2008 NBA Finals. In 2008, Kevin Garnett and the rest of the Celtics bigs manhandled Gasol and the Lakers. However, the 2010 Finals looks like they will be different. Gasol played beautiful basketball and his inside presence combined with Kobe’s outside presence created a dominating performance from the Lakers.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Pau Gasol is extremely motivated during these NBA Finals, which may not be a good sign for the Celtics and their fans. Gasol was offended by Garnett in the 2008 Finals, not so much in how KG dominated him but how KG felt the need to belittle Gasol. Wojnarowski says that Gasol doesn’t just want to defeat Garnett, but hopes to completely embarrass him. If he keeps up his performance from Game 1, he should consider that goal a completed success.
Wojnarowski’s reporting gains steam with Gasol’s comments from Friday. According to Gasol, Garnett has “lost some explosiveness” and is “more of a jump shooter now”. Apparently Gasol really does hope to not just defeat Garnett but to embarrass him as well. Of course, Gasol is correct but it probably also isn’t necessary to blatantly state that especially after just one game.
If Game 1 was any sign, we clearly are seeing a very motivated Pau Gasol right now. He felt embarrassed by Garnett in the 2008 Finals and is hoping to repay the favor. While it was only one game, it looks very likely that he will do just that. I only hope that also means Gasol can say he’s won more titles than Garnett as well.