Lakers-Celtics: NBA Finals Preview

Joe WillettSenior Writer IMay 31, 2008

First off, here is the NBA Championship schedule...

Game 1: June 5th, 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 2: June 8th, 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 3: June 10th, 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 4: June 12th, 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 5: June 15th, 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 6: June 17th, 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 7: June 19th, 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Now, this is a Final set-up that we have all been hoping for and secretly expecting since Pau Gasol made his way to Los Angeles.

Nobody outside of Detroit really thought that the aging Pistons were going to be able to beat the star-studded Boston Celtics.

Nobody outside of San Antonio really thought that Kobe Bryant was going to pass up the opportunity to finally prove that he can win a championship without Shaq.

So here we are, the old rivalry has been renewed, Lakers-Celtics. It reminds me of the good ol' days (not that I was alive for them).

So here is the scouting report on two teams looking to add to their already obscenely large trophy cases.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are finally ready to prove that they don't need Shaq to be the best team in the NBA.

First off, they have MVP Kobe Bryant.  When an NBA scout is asked if there is any player out there as good as Kobe, he replies, "It's not even close.  The difference between him and LeBron [James] is like [the one between] a Maserati and a Volvo."

But he has at least one weakness right?  "Um, Let me think [long pause] No, I don't think he has any," recounts that same scout.

At least he's not the most athletic player in the NBA, right?  "There are probably 10 [with more] in the league...but no one uses his (athleticism) as well as Kobe," says the pro scout.

So they have one good player. What else do they have?

Well, they have Pau Gasol, who has been a great inside presence to offset the loss of Andrew Bynum.  In the center position, there have been few better than Gasol at dominating the paint.

They have PG Derek Fisher who, after moving to Los Angeles, is shooting better than in previous years with Utah.

They also have the Bench Mob, which gives them the depth to play hard basketball into possible overtimes.

All in all, this is an extremely talented team that could make their way to another NBA Championship.

Boston Celtics

The C's are looking to recapture the greatness that lead them to multiple titles in the '80s.

But it's not Larry Bird leading this team anymore.  Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, and many others give this team the talent that could win a title.

Garnett was an MVP candidate, finishing in the Top 5 in voting for the NBA, behind only Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant.

Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are able to shoot daggers and give Boston the ability to not rely on Garnett all game.

Rondo has been a big surprise at PG and has been able to distribute the ball and manage the game.  Kind of like a quarterback who has great weapons and just doesn't need to screw up too badly.

Kendrick Perkins has breakout ability and can turn it on in any one game (like he did in the Eastern Conference Finals) but he can't do it game in and game out. It is likely that he will have one great game this series.

They have decent depth, with guys like Big Baby and Sam Cassell ready to come in and give them relief, but like Rondo, as long as they don't mess up, they are going to be fine.

But can their three stars hang with the Lakers' depth?

My Prediction

This is going to be a really fun series to watch.  The old magic (no pun intended) is going to be back as these teams battle it out for a Championship.

But I think that the Lakers are going to be too much and take out the Celtics in six.

Feel free to leave comments with your own predictions.

I'm Joe W.

Information and quotes for this article were found on and in Sports Illustrated.