Soon, more than 18,000 others were screaming as Pierce made two 3-pointers in just 22 seconds to give the Celtics a 75-71 lead.
"When I got in the back I could put some weight on it," Pierce said. "I knew I needed to be out there for my team."
Boston Celtics' Ray Allen (C) breaks through with the ball during the Game one of the NBA Finals basketball championship in Boston, June 5, 2008. Celtics beat Lakers 98-88.(Xinhua/Hou Jun)
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 24 points, but the regular-season MVP was just 9-of-26 from the field as the league's top defensive team kept close tabs on him. Bryant had numerous shots rattle out and spent most of his 42 minutes in the game searching for a rhythm.
Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol had 15 points apiece and Lamar Odom added 14 for the Lakers, who had won the first two games of their previous three series this postseason. Los Angeles will try to even the series in Game 2 on Sunday.
Los Angeles Lakers' Derek Fisher (R) drives the ball against two players of Boston Celtics during the Game one of the NBA Finals basketball championship in Boston, June 5, 2008. Celtics beat Lakers 98-88. (Xinhua/Hou Jun)
This is the 11th meeting in the finals between the Celtics and Lakers, and the first one since 1987 has been treated like the return of a lost friend by basketball fans aching for the days when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird went sneaker to sneaker.
Game 1 lived up to the hype as both teams challenged every shot, sprawling for loose balls and intensely defending their baskets. Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Jerry West and the rest of the greats who made the rivalry special would have been proud.
(Agencies via Shanghai Daily June 6, 2008)