Thursday, June 5, 2008

NBA Finals Preview!


So, I am going to take a break from my 4-part series for a moment to take a look into the NBA Finals which kicks off tonight! As I am sure everyone knows by now, the Finals wil pit the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers with Boston having the home-court advantage in a 2-3-2 format.

After doing some research, it appears a lot of the so-called experts are predicting the Lakers to win in either 5 or 6 games. Did I miss something? Did the Celtics not have the best record in all of basketball this past season? Sure, they have played 5 more playoff games than the Lakers and absolutely did the Atlanta Hawks make the Celtics look pretty damn vulnerable. But if you want to compare previous playoff matchups, I would have the say the Lakers had a bit of an easier task than did the Celtics. The Nuggets play absolutely ZERO defense, and seemingly backed their way into the playoffs. Let's be serious, the Jazz were never a legitimate contender in the West and failed to offer any real offensive threat. The Lakers did make the Spurs look like anything but a defending champion to their credit.

Let's take a brief look, position by position at the matchups going into Game 1...

Derek Fisher v. Rajon Rondo
Fisher definitely provides the experience and the clutch shooting, while Rondo provides explosiveness and has impressed a lot of people by how much he has improved his game through out the season. However, I think Fisher with the Finals experience will be the better player in the series. Advantage: Fisher

Kobe Bryant v. Ray Allen
Well Kobe Bryant is the best player in the league right now, basically enough said. Ray Allen is a classic sniper and when his shot is on, he's one of the best shooters of all time from beyond the arc. The problem is IF Allen is on, and even then Kobe is not the league MVP for nothing.
Advantage: Bryant

Vladimir Radmonavic v. Paul Pierce
Radmonavic is an outside shooter, who should not be more than a 3-point specialist off the bench role player, does not offer much for the Lakers. Pierce aka "The Truth", has undoubtably been the emotional leaders of the Boston Three Party and the Celtics. Pierce provides great defense and seems to be the go to guy when the game is on the line for the Celtics.
Advantage: Pierce

Lamar Odom v. Kevin Garnett
I do believe that Odom is one of the most underrated players in the NBA, and could basically be labeled as the X Factor for the Lakers. Odom can provide 20 points, 10 boards, and 5 assists on any given night with some sound defense. Garnett is much the same in that he provides everything for the Celtics and that also includes top flight defense and a presence that scares many from coming through the paint.
Advantage: Garnett

Pau Gasol v. Kendrick Perkins
Gasol was arguably the biggest steal of the season and has been the perfect compliment to MVP Kobe Bryant. Kendrick Perkins has improved by leaps and bounds this year and has given the Celtics exactly what they needed from a young player like him. Gasol will prove to be one of the key players in the series.
Advantage: Gasol

After breaking down the series position by position, it would appear the Lakers have the edge, not to mention when you factor coaching and Phil Jackson versus Doc Rivers. I think it terms of a bench, the group of Turiaf, Farmar, Vujacic, and Walton compare similarily to Posey, Brown, Big Baby and Cassell. I will have to also note that the Celtics bench does have some Finals experience to help compensate for the lack of experience from the big three.


Why 7 games? Well I think this has been one of the most entertaining and best NBA seasons in a while and I figure why not end the season on a classic historical 7 game matchup, with the Celts prevailing (And yes I was not sipping the green kool-aid early on).

Who do ya got in the Finals? Comment Below.

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