Ah, the X-Factors, yes, the X-Factors. What, who, where & when would the X-Factors come into play in the Lakers Vs. Celtics Series? Well I think we saw a whole bunch last night.

After my trip to Safed I settled into some early morning NBA here in Jerusalem. And yes I was disappointed. Yes, I am a happy Lakers fan, no doubt about that, but I was disappointed. Why you ask? Well I will tell you. The X-Factors.

X-Factor #1: The referees. The Refs called 54 fouls between the 2 teams, and too many of them in the first quarter. The referees in essence dictated the flow of the game and especially did so right off the bat sending both teams’ starters for the benches early. Fischer, 2 fouls, Allen 2 fouls, tight calls on Artest, Gasol & even the untouchable Kobe Bryant(30pts).

The Celtics had Nate Robinson and Tony Allen in the game very early, much earlier than prior matches. It was a rare sight to see the two teams starters on the floor.

Now I understand why they called a very tight 1st quarter and 1st game. In order to keep any nonsense out of the way for every game subsequent to this one. But it was bizarre to see Sasha Vujacic in the game so early and a dominant force of Jordan Famar, Shannon Brown and Luke Walton leading the 1st half charge.  64 minutes out of the Lakers bench, and 69 minutes out of Boston’s, now that is a lot.

X-Factor #2-The aforementioned bench minute played in game 1 of the NBA Finals. That is a lot of minutes. Bottom line. Both teams took time to get into the flow of the game and it showed throughout the first half. It was just strange to see the bench getting so many minutes and also playing with some of the starters.

X-Factor #3-The Lakers OWNING the boards from the Celtics outrebounding them 42-31, with Pau Gasol leading the charge with 14. There were many instances that the Celtics were just standing around figuring out what to do, and it cost them down low.

X-Factor #3-The Celtics poor shooting, poor shooting selection & poor 3 point shooting. It looked like a brick layers convention all night from the outside for Boston. watching Tony Allen lauch a couple of brutal shots and consistently seeing Ray Allen and Paul Pierce missing from downtown was painful, even for a Lakers fan. They could get nothing to fall.

X-Factor #4-Andrew Bynum. Yes he was a force with 10 points and 6 rebounds. He played well and gave the Lakers a lift. With solid play out of Bynum I believe that the Lakers will really roll in this series.

X-Factor #5-Rajon Rondo not playing as he has the past 3 series of playoff games. He just looked out of sync as did the rest of the Celtics team, no one found their rhythm.

Which brings us back to X-Factor #1. The Referees.

I wish that the Refs, Joey Crawford, Derrick Stafford and Joe Derosa would have let the clubs play. A little pushing and shoving is not the end of the world. Let the best players determine who will be Champion. Not the Refs. And that my friends is what we got in game 1. 

With the whistle constantly being blown and the parade of a combined 67 free throws(!) no one could properly get into rhythm. And that was the story of game 1.

Thoughts from the Pulpit

1) The Yankees had a good week with some old fashioning pounding on poor competitions. It’s good to take 3 and sweep the Baltimore Orioles out of town and that is exactly what a team like the Yankees should do. It still remains an open question if the Yanks can stand up to the best teams in MLB. But they did what they had to do.

2) It’s good to see the Mariners off to a good start Post-Ken Griffey Jr. They have won 3 in a row and though they languish in last place out West, they are only 6 games out of 1st place.

3) Jewish Boxer, Yuri Foreman, will be putting his WBA Light Middleweight title on the line Saturday night at Yankee Stadium Vs. Miguel Cotto. Foreman a true mensch and a wonderful person will be put to the test against a dangerous Cotto.  I am a little worried about this matchup considering the crowd will be Pro-Cotto and he a popular boxer in the NY area selling over 100,000 tickets for his fights in New York. Yes he is damaged goods from Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao, but he can still cause plenty of damage. Also, Foreman takes many of his fights to the distance and going to the judges in a hostile environment is never good news. I guess we will see, but I had been sure Foreman would dominate this fight earlier in the week and now I have many doubts. Time will tell.

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem.