INGLEWOOD, CALIF., JUNE 2 -- Attempting, perhaps, to sneak away with a win in the opening game of the NBA finals by finding their opponents a bit rusty after a week's layoff, the Boston Celtics instead discovered how the Los Angeles Lakers earned that lengthy respite.

Displaying the same devastating fast break that swept the team to an 11-1 mark in its first three postseason series, Los Angeles routed the Celtics, 126-113, in Game 1 tonight at the Forum. Boston has but a day to regroup; Game 2 will be played here Thursday.

James Worthy, the Lakers' leading scorer in the playoffs, continued in that role, hitting a game-high 33 points and adding a career-high 10 assists and nine rebounds. Guard Magic Johnson had 29 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds. Boston forward Larry Bird, hitting 11 consecutive shots during one stretch, led the Celtics with 32 points in the contest played before a sellout crowd of 17,505.

"This was one of those scrimmages they had in Santa Barbara," said Boston Coach K.C. Jones, referring to the tony digs where the Lakers retreated last weekend, practicing and waiting for the winner of the Boston-Detroit Eastern Conference final series. "They totally blew us out."

But not enough for Lakers Coach Pat Riley.

"I couldn't get enough," he said. "Not that I'm into obliterating people, but I wanted us to maintain and sustain what we were doing."

What they were doing was moving the basketball with a chilling efficiency. In the first three quarters, when the game was allegedly on the line, Los Angeles was credited with a 39-8 advantage in fast-break points. That margin even seemed a bit low, given the ease and speed with which the winners carried out their assignments.

On four occasions in the contest, the Lakers had streaks in which they scored a minimum of eight straight points. While the Celtics -- with the possible exception of Bird -- were laboring mightily for their points, Los Angeles was breezing -- 12 Boston scores were answered by the Lakers before the following 12 seconds had elapsed.

"They didn't get back {on defense} well early," observed Los Angeles center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

That was an understatement. Missing their first six shots from the field, the Celtics were down by 9-0 by the time forward Kevin McHale scored on a fadeaway jumper nearly three minutes into the contest. The only reason their deficit wasn't larger was early shooting woes by the Lakers. The Western Conference champions didn't get their first points until a minute and a half into the game, seemingly giving credence to the rust theory.

"I didn't talk about it too much because I didn't want the players to talk themselves into it," said Riley. "Then we missed three layups in the first minute and a half and I said to myself. 'God, here it is.' But the thing that was there was the energy and the will to move."

Again excepting Bird, there wasn't much of that at the other end of the floor, particularly in the Boston back court, where Danny Ainge and Dennis Johnson combined for just 18 points, nine of them coming on three-point field goals by Ainge.

"I was disappointed with our effort," said Bird. "This isn't Detroit or Atlanta we're playing, it's the Los Angeles Lakers, probably the best team in the league."

The Celtics perhaps could take solace in one thing. This best-of-seven series is the 10th time these teams have met for the NBA championship, but the third in the "modern era;" i.e., the last seven years. In the previous two meetings, the eventual winner -- Boston in 1984 and the Lakers the following year -- suffered crushing defeats early.

The Celtics, for example, were beaten by 137-104 here in Game 3 before rallying to take the title in seven games. The next season, Los Angeles was pasted, 148-114, in Game 1 before winning in six.

However, it seems unlikely that history will repeat itself. Boston may have had a hard enough time beating the Lakers with all cylinders clicking, let alone in its present hobbled condition. Center Robert Parish and McHale, the two main wounded warriors, were the only offense the Celtics could count on in the early going tonight, combining for 15 of the team's first 17 points.

The Boston guards didn't dent the scoreboard until just 1:48 remained in the opening period, which ended with the Lakers ahead, 35-26. In the remaining three quarters, McHale and Parish would add just 14 more points.

Neither man was on the floor in the final six minutes of the game, the contest having been put out of reach long before, courtesy of the Lakers' fast break, which outshone a crowd that included Jack Nicholson, Bruce Willis, Kirk Douglas, Johnny Carson and Walter Matthau and sporting figures John McEnroe, Norm Nixon, Los Angeles Rams Coach John Robinson and Al Davis, managing partner of the Los Angeles Raiders.

"You just try to push it up; that's our game, we just look to get the opportunities," said Magic Johnson, who, like Bird, ended the game without a turnover. "We've been running well all playoffs, except against Seattle, when I felt we were just trying not to lose."

Trailing by 24 points in the game, the Celtics' best chance for a comeback came in the third quarter. Bird was in the midst of his torrid streak and Ainge helped cut the visitors' deficit to 95-83 with 1:59 remaining.

As had been the case throughout the game, though, the Lakers responded with a vengeance. Johnson hit two free throws and Worthy got two baskets to stake the team to a 101-85 lead after three quarters. At the start of the fourth, Parish hit a free throw and McHale a fadeaway to make the score 101-88 with 10:20 remaining.

Over the next five minutes, Los Angeles outscored Boston by 13-2 to put the game -- and the idea of sluggishness -- to bed.

"We worked too hard these last eight days to be rusty," said Lakers reserve Mychal Thompson. "In fact, we were wishing we were playing against somebody because our workouts were so hard."