Los Angeles got tough in a 102-89 victory over Boston in Game 1 on Thursday night.
Ron Artest scored 15 points after his tangle with Pierce in the opening minute of the 12th finals meeting between the NBA’s rivals
Bryant scored 30 points, Gasol had 23 points and 14 rebounds.
“I knew it was going to be physical. That’s a given,” Gasol said. “After consecutive Finals, we understand the nature of the game.
We understand who our rival is, how they play. You’ve got to compete, and you’ve got to match that physicality effort of the game to be successful.”
Ray Allen scored 12 points in just 27 minutes, Garnett just struggled from the get go, only scoring 7 for 16 from the field and grabbing just four rebounds.
The play that seemingly sucked all the energy out of the Celtics was a block by Artest on Glen Davis, which led to a Gasol dunk.
“It was a big play for us,” Bryant said. “He does a great job for us setting the tone for us defensively.”
Game 2 is Sunday night at Staples Center.