June 3, 2010

A classic NBA final

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

It may not be the NBA final that we all wanted (you know, LeBron-Kobe) but we could have been a lot worse off. Any time that the Lakers and Celtics meet in a high stakes situation, there’s bound to be excitement and a huge game.

Both of their regular season games went down to the wire this year with both teams winning one contest on the other’s home court. Let’s just see how that turns out when the stakes are raised.

Now these teams may have the same cores as the two that met in the 2008 final, but each has made a few additions, but has also aged considerably. The Celtics have tacked on the roller-coaster ride known as Rasheed Wallace, but it’s not like the Lakers big off-season addition, Ron Artest is any easier to digest. Sadly, it will come down to how little those two hurt their own teams and possibly get in the way, rather than how much they contribute positively.

Both sides have a player that is nearly unguardable as well. Can the older legs of Ray Allen and Paul Pierce still handle Kobe Bryant? Can Derek Fisher and Shannon Brown stay in front of Rajon Rondo – the true key to the Celts success this post-season? These might be the biggest questions of them all and the key to the series.

You can argue matchups and advantages all day long before tipoff, but the final thing I want to ask is this: Who deserves this title more? If you even have to think about the answer to this, there’s no doubt that you are a Celtics fan or a Kobe hater.

Boston clearly coasted through the regular season that hit the afterburner when the playoffs started. Is that really the message we want to send here? That the regular season doesn’t matter, so don’t get up for games, even at home.

Kobe played through numerous injures – again – and still had a big impact on the league, even garnering a few third place MVP votes. This Lakers team stood up and fought to defend their title this season and should be rewarded for it. If the Celtics triumph over L.A. again and we get to hear Kevin Garnett screaming an Adidas slogan amongst falling streamers one more time, it will be a serious blow to the game of basketball in my mind. At least free agency would be right around the corner.

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