NBA Finals Preview: A Classic Rivalry Renewed Yet Again
In the beginning of the season, this classic NBA Championship matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and he Boston Celtics seemed like a definite possibility. As the season progressed, the Lakers were still the favorites to win the West, but on the other hand, the Celtics were looking old, banged up, and that if they had no life in them.
However, as soon as the playoffs started, the Celtics got healthy, and now resembled the same championship team they had two years ago when they defeated the Lakers, 4-2. Now, here we are again, two years later, and once again we have the Boston Celtics squaring off against the Los Angeles Lakers. One thing is for sure: Kobe Bryant wants revenge badly, after being embarrassed by a thumping 39 points to deliver Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett their first NBA Championships.
Now, without further ado, the matchups.
PG Match-Up: Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmer vs. Rajon Rondo, Nate Robinson
During the 2010 NBA playoffs, Rajon Rondo has been a magician, averaging 16 points, 10 assists, and 5 rebounds per game. He has been the catalyst for the Celtics' offense, and arguably the best player in the playoffs, including a game vs Cleveland in which he had 29 points, 18 rebounds, and 13 assists. For the Lakers, Derek Fisher has been the same point guard who has helped them win 4 championships. He knows his role, and when the Lakers need it, he will hit a big shot. However, it's hard not to give Rondo the advantage in this one. Advantage: Celtics
SG Match-Up: Kobe Bryant, Shannon Brown, Sasha Vujacic vs. Ray Allen, Michael Finley, Tony Allen
Obviously, it's impossible to give the Celtics the upper edge in this matchup, as they have to go against the best player in the NBA in Kobe Bryant. For the Celtics though, in these playoffs, Ray Allen has looked young, and if he has an open look, you might as well walk down the floor, because almost definitely it's going in. The Celtics are likely to put Paul Pierce on Bryant, because Allen is a struggling defender. So far, it's been a tough task for anyone to stick the Black Mamba, just ask Grant Hill. Advantage: Lakers
SF Match-Up: Ron Artest vs. Paul Pierce
Ron Artest's shot has not been falling, but thankfully all was forgotten during game 5 in Phoenix when he hit the winning layup at the buzzer to lift the Lakers. In fact, he informed the world that he was once a 40% three point shooter in his career, in case anyone was wondering. Paul Pierce has had an up and down playoffs, but you know what you're getting with him. It will be interesting to see what he can do with a defender like Artest all over him, if that is indeed what Phil Jackson has in mind. Advantage: Celtics
PF Match-Up: Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom vs. Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis
The Lakers' front-court is scary good, and Pau Gasol is incredibly tough to guard. Not to mention, they can throw in Lamar Odom at this position, as well as pretty much anywhere else on the floor. Garnett, after missing last season's playoffs with a knee injury and some time this year, came into the playoffs healthy and on a mission to get his second ring. Luckily for Garnett also, back-up Glen Davis has played very solid minutes in his role, which included getting knocked out by Dwight Howard. Advantage: Lakers
Center Match-Up: Andrew Bynum vs. Kendrick Perkins, Rasheed Wallace
Andrew Bynum wasn't all that impressive against the Suns, and is battling an injury also. Not to mention, he made some stupid comments when the Lakers were up 2-0, saying he was excited to play the Celtics again in the Finals. As for Kendrick Perkins, he plays good defense, and should create trouble for Andrew Bynum, who wasn't healthy when these two teams previously met in the finals. Rasheed Wallace, who struggled to find his shot much of the season is slowly, but surely finding it again. If he can come in and knock down that three ball, it will make a huge difference. Advantage: Celtics
Coaching Match-Up: Phil Jackson vs. Doc Rivers
I have never given Doc Rivers his credit, but during these playoffs, it's time I do. He has done an excellent job, and had this team ready to go from day one. However, you can't give him the upper edge as he is going up against the Zen Master in Phil Jackson. Advantage: Lakers
Overall, I think the Lakers will be a little too much for the Celtics. Bynum, although not 100%, will make a huge difference, and not to mention the Celtics are battling some injuries now, which won't help. Kobe has been on point during these playoffs, and will be hungry for back to back titles, and his fifth. Lakers 4-2.
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