Don't feel like staying up late tonight to catch Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Lakers? We've got you covered. Utilizing NBA 2K8 for the xBox 360 console, we ran a computerized simulation of this year's championship series.
The result? This series won't be easy on Celtics' fans hearts. In the end, however, Boston prevailed in seven games in our simulation.
Check out the video above to see highlights from Game 1, where the Celtics watched a double-digit, second-half lead evaporate before rallying to emerge with a 106-99 triumph at the TD Banknorth Garden.
The Lakers ultimately came back to win Game 2 (in lopsided fashion no less), then took two of three in Los Angeles (the Celtics winning Game 4). Undaunted, the Celtics returned home to win a pair of nail-biters to capture virtual banner No. 17.
Here's what you'll find in the highlights from Game 1:
Boston, which led by 11 at the half and seven at the end of three quarters, watched the Lakers pull ahead, 84-83, on a Pau Gasol dunk over P.J. Brown with 7:56 to go in the game.
Kevin Garnett, who finished with a game-high 36 points and 17 rebounds, soon re-entered and took over. With the Celtics clinging to a 98-95 advantage with 2:09 to play, Garnett swatted a Vladimir Radmanovic offering on the defensive end, then backed down Lamar Odom for a bucket at the opposite side of the court as the Celtics prevented Los Angeles from making a late run.
Even still, the Celtics were only up three with under a minute to go when Paul Pierce effectively slammed the door by hitting a shot-clock beating jumper from just inside the arc for a 102-97 advantage. The Celtics made their free throws down the stretch to preserve the victory.
In the simulation, Kobe Bryant poured in 36 points on 13 of 24 shooting, while Radmanovic chipped in 23 points and seven rebounds. Gasol added a double-double with 20 points and 10 boards, while Odom came a bucket shy of a triple double (8 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists).
Ray Allen shot the Celtics back into the game after Boston found itself behind after the first quarter. Allen was only 1 of 5 beyond the arc, but scored 29 points overall and hit some key jumpers when Boston desperately needed points. Pierce chipped in 18 points and six rebounds, while Rajon Rondo directed the offense with 14 assists to go along with 10 points and two steals.
Read on after the jump to find out more about how we set up the simulation.
How we did it: With permission from 2K Sports, Boston.com video game junkie Chris Forsberg set up a simulation between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers on the xBox 360 console. The latest rosters were downloaded from 2K Sports' servers and all pertinent changes were made to each team's roster (including updates to each team's rotation, based on average minutes played in the postseason).
The xBox 360 version allows a computer vs. computer option, so a human player did not control a team at any time. Only one single simulation was attempted per game in the best-of-seven series and all footage was recorded for inclusion online. Additional simulations could produce different results.
Want more?: Check out our Patriots posteason simulations utilizing EA Sports' Madden 2008, including our take on Super Bowl XL II (Hint: It turned out better for Pats' fans than the actual Super Bowl).