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It is often said that the team that wins the NBA crown is often cursed with several injuries and/or personnel issues in their bid to repeat. Looking back through NBA history, this proves to be true.
In recent years, no team has repeated since the 2002 (three-peat) Los Angeles Lakers. That team's reign ended with the team's break-up, caused by the tumultuous divorce of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
The Chicago Bulls three-peated twice in the '90s separated by Michael Jordan's retirement following the death of his father.
The Detroit Piston's repeated as champions from 1988-1990. The 1991 Piston's were plagued with injuries and finally surrendered, in an unsportsmanlike manner, to the Chicago Bulls in the Conference Finals.
The Los Angeles Lakers won two titles in a row from 1987-1988. Prior to the 88-89 Finals, Pat Riley patented the "three-peat" slogan in hopes of cashing in on a Lakers victory. The Lakers three-peat bid was over shadowed throughout the season by the much celebrated retirement tour of Kareem Abdul-Jabaar.
To make matters worse, Byron Scott suffered a severe hamstring injury in practice prior to game one of the Finals. Scott would have to sit out games one and two.
The Pistons routed the Lakers 4-0.
Last season was no different as the Boston Celtics were decimated by injuries to Kevin Garnett (knee), Rajon Rondo (ankles), Leon Powe (knee), Glen Davis (knee), Kendrick Perkins (shoulder) and Tony Allen (hand). The Celtics put up a valiant effort to repeat posting a 62-20 record.
Since Boston welcomed Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, the sports media has discussed the Celtics in ancient terms. They would often refer to Boston's championship chances as the "window of opportunity."
With the (eventual) departure of Lamar Odom and Ron Artest replacing Trevor Ariza on the roster, the Lakers suddenly look older, less deep and far more vulnerable.
The 2010 Lakers starting line up of Derek Fisher (31,ooo career minutes), Kobe Bryant (42,000 career minutes [not including Olympics]), Ron Artest (25,000 career minutes), Pau Gasol (25,000 career minutes) and Andrew Bynum (5,000 career minutes) average a combined 25,400 minutes.
Lamar Odom's exodus will leave the Lakers bench, consisting of Farmar, Mbenga, Morrison, Vujacic, Yue, and Walton.
The Lakers will have to face the re-booted San Antonio Spurs on their way to the Finals. This may be a challenge the Lakers are not fit to compete in.
The Boston Celtics, who's starting five also average 25,000 career minutes, have revamped their line up. The Celtics bench, by the start of the season, will be arguably stronger then their 2008 championship team's bench.
The Celtics will re-sign Big Baby before summer's end and are close to offering a realistic deal with Stephon Marbury making their bench consist of Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Marquis Daniels, Eddie House, and Steph Marbury. Many teams starting lineup would not be able to compete with that second unit.
In my opinion, the Celtics are, talent for talent, the best team in the NBA. Your thoughts...