Andrew Bynum (LAL) vs. Kendrick Perkins (OKC)
This isn't the first go-around for these two familiar foes.
Bynum and Perkins have been going at it since Perkins called Boston home. In fact, many Laker fans point to Bynum's absence as a major reason why the Lakers lost the 2008 NBA Finals.
In contrast, Celtic fans blame Perkins' injury in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals as a factor in the Celtics' loss that season.
Now, Perkins is in Oklahoma City, and he's helped provide a great defensive presence in the paint for the Thunder. He's not going to put up Bynum-like numbers, but he does an excellent job in clogging the frontcourt and making it difficult for opposing centers to have big games.
That being said, Andrew Bynum is not your ordinary center.
He's turning into one of the most elite centers in the league. That is, if he decides to post up and pound the rock home, rather than suddenly fall in love with the three-ball.
Bynum has been under heavy scrutiny recently following his benching on Tuesday night in Oakland. His maturity has been questioned lately given his defiance, and it'll be interesting to see if Bynum brings the same effort he did earlier this month.
If Bynum has his head in the game, Perkins is going to have a difficult time containing him, and it's going to be a major advantage for the Lakers.
After all, Perkins isn't an elite defender this year—his opponents' player efficiency rating is over 15, which is the league average.
This means that Bynum has the chance to really have a big game. All he has to do is keep his emotions in check and play hard.
We're assuming that Kobe Bryant and the Lakers coaching staff has made sure Bynum stays focused for this big game.
Advantage: Bynum, but it depends on effort.