Just ask Kobe Bryant who led the Lakers with 30 points and added seven rebounds and six assists, as he and L.A. more than proved it tonight in their 102-89 win over the Celtics to take Game 1 of the 2010 NBA Finals.
He had something to prove to the Celtics, who defeated his Lakers in six games when the two teams last met in the NBA Finals two years ago.
He put an exclamation point on Boston's evening as he drained a three-pointer with seconds left to give him 30 points for the night.
In the 12th finals meeting between two of NBA's most storied franchises, both teams tried to assert themselves early.
Just 27 seconds into the game, Ron Artest and Paul Pierce picked up double technical fouls for tumbling onto the floor after locking elbows with each other.
The Lakers were clearly the aggressors as they outrebounded Boston by a 42-31 margin.
Los Angeles also dominated the paint, outscoring their Boston counterparts 48-30 in points in the paint.
Boston's only lead of the game lasted 59 seconds when Rajon Rondo hit a jumper to put Boston ahead 2-0.
The Lakers had a 50-41 halftime lead that featured a chippy, rough first half. L.A. then extended the lead up to 20 points after three quarters, their largest lead of the game.
Pau Gasol added 23 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks for the Lakers.
Artest, after his scrum with Pierce, finished the game with 15 points including 3-5 from beyond the arc.
Paul Pierce led four Celtics in double figures, with 24 points and nine rebounds in 44 minutes of play.
Ray Allen scored 12 points in just 27 minutes, as he was in constant foul trouble with the inevitable task of guarding Kobe Bryant.
Phil Jackson's teams in the Lakers and Bulls are a combined 47-0 in playoff series after his team wins Game 1.
The Lakers are now 9-0 at home in the 2010 playoffs, with 12 straight postseason wins at the Staples Center dating back to last year’s NBA Finals Championship run.
Game Two will be Sunday night in Los Angeles.