While the Finals Series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics has not been an All-timer, it has been a pretty good series.
On one side you have today's best player and quite possibly an all-time great paired with Phil Jackson, the Zen master.
A man who, with 9 rings as a coach, is trying to break his tie with Red Auerbach against the team Red led for decades as a coach and GM. A man who, quite frankly, is getting out-coached by the Celtics current leader and NBA Finals greenhorn, Doc Rivers.
Rivers' green machine features the Big Three of Paul Peirce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
This series has featured close games—no game has been decided by more than 10 points, a heroic performance by Pierce in Game One and a comeback for the ages.
But here are three reasons why it will come to a screeching hault Tuesday night to the delight of Boston fans.
1) Home Sweet Home—After a week in L.A., Boston welcomes the opportunity to finish the deal in front of its home fans. More importantly, role players perform much better in the comforts their own arena than on the road. And for Boston, they must. With Perkins doubtful and Rondo 50/50 on that ankle, it is imperative that players like Posey, P.J. Brown, Powe and House play well and they will.
2) Defense wins championships—Boston's defense has been downright suffocating during the Finals. The defense on Bryant has forced L.A. to go to its role players and, as I have alluded to, role players don't play as well on the road as they do at home. The C's are not allowing Kobe to penetrate into the lane so that he can create havoc and get to the line. The Celtics leaned on their defense in rout to the comeback in Game Four.
3) Coaching—If you would have told me that Doc Rivers would out-coach Phil Jackson in the Finals, I would have laughed in your face. Doc had never coached on the NBA Finals, while Phil is 9-1 lifetime in the title series.
But Coach Rivers has shown extraordinary leadership ability during this series. In the first four games of this series, Boston has come out of the halftime break to outscore the Lakers in third quarter by a combined 43 points. When the Celtics were down in Game Three, Doc seemed to know all the right buttons to push. He has a good feel for who's got the hot hand and who gives him the best chance to win.
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