June 2, 2008

The Finals are finally here

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

Now that the awful pun is out of the way, let’s talk about the NBA finals, namely, do the Celtics have what it takes to derail the Lakers? I wouldn’t bet on it. To name one quick reason right off the bat, no team has ever won the NBA title the year after it missed the playoffs. Good start, eh?

When you look at the matchups in the series there is just too much going against Boston, despite the fact that they have home court advantage. Here’s who I would have matched up and how it would break down.

Derek Fisher vs. Rajon Rondo: Is it possible to win the ’ship without a highly talented, or at least experienced point guard running the show? Rondo’s too young and Fisher’s a savvy veteran with finals experience. You have to agree that what Rondo lacks in experience, he will make up for in athleticism. The men running the point should come weigh in at a dead heat.

Pau Gasol vs. Kendrick Perkins: I know that Perkins had a dynamite game the other night when he nearly went 20-20 versus the Pistons but realistically, he’s not even close to being in the same league as Gasol. Pau will kill him on the offensive and can keep him in check on the defensive end. I can’t see Perkins stepping it up for this series.

Kevin Garnett vs. Lamar Odom: Odom has stepped up his game in the playoffs but he is not the guy you want trying to hit free throws to seal the deal. Clutch-wise these two are on about even ground. KG will play some intense defence (as always) but Lamar will still get into double-digits. KG’s numbers on the offensive end will depend on how he’s feeling.

Vlad Rad / Sasha vs. Ray Allen: At this point I’ve actually convinced myself that Sasha could kill Jesus Shuttleworth on both ends of the floor. Radmanovic is serviceable but shouldn’t be depended on. How much does Allen have left in the tank after playing as many games as he has this

Kobe Bryant vs. Paul Pierce: The matchup of the series. Kobe will always get his, no matter who is on him but the real key here is his own defence. He’s good enough to keep The Truth in check and that can seriously throw a wrench into the C’s game.

Then there’s some other factors…

The intangibles: The C’s have age but the Lakers have the big battle experience … The C’s have a new guy stepping it up every game — while others disappear — while the Lakers have guys consistently dialing it up to 11 … The Lakers have one of the best clutch guys in the league while Boston has a leader who disappears in the crunch … Bill Simmons wrote a reverse jinx type of column praising the Lakers and predicting an Los Angeles victory. You can’t jinx a team when you actually say it’s a jinx.

The home courts: Fairly even. Boston have their faithful packing the new Garden while the Lakers have the celeb crowds. You’d be surprised how even that actually is since the celebs actually care about their team.

The Benches: The Celtics have some good role players but their coach continually butchers their rotation. The Lakers have probably the deepest bench in the league with superior role guys. If Sam Cassell sees the floor, it will help L.A. more than Boston at this point.

The Coaches: Phil Jackson vs. Doc Rivers
The most lopsided match up in the finals. Doc would be lucky if the Zen Master even let him close enough to tie his shoes. One of these guys is a future hall of famer and the other lost 19 games in a row last season. The only remarkable thing about Doc is that he managed to keep his job despite his utter incompetence.

The Prediction:
I’m looking for the Lakers to take either game 1 or game 2 in Boston, win 3 and 4 at home lose game 5 in a close one and then celebrate their title in Tinseltown after a big game 6 victory. Kobe will then be firmly entrenched in the debate of top-5 greatest players ever.

1 Comment

  1. [...] change has to be made in my NBA finals prediction. You see there was something that should have been figured in but was egregiously overlooked by [...]

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