After defeating the Detroit Pistions by a margin of eight points, the final score was eighty-nine to eighty-one, the Celtics are ready to go to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1987. In this year's series for the championship, there is much intrigue between the teams. Those teams, as you know, are the Celtics and Lakers. There is history here and, hopefully, there will be a revival of a former rivalry.
The Celtics and Lakers have faced each other in the championship ten times before this year (in 1959 the Boston Celtics faced the Minneapolis Lakers). The Celtics emerged as NBA champions in eight of those ten series. That leaves the Lakers with two. However, those two were the two most recent times. The Lakers ahve dominated the Celtics recently and it has diminished the rivalry.
Despite having two great players, Kobe and Pierce, the teams were very lopsided in the Laker's favor. Long gone were the days with Bird and Russel. However, the Celtics were revived by the additions of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, forming the big three along with Paul Pierce. They completed the NBA's biggest turnaround ever, going from a twenty-four and fifty-eight season to this year's NBA-leading record of sixty-six and sixteen. And the two times the Celtics and Lakers played each other, the Celtics one. Both went into the playoffs as number one seeds in their conferences and fans were thinking about, some hoping for, the possibility of these teams facing each other in the finals.
There have been doubts about the Celtics all year. First, there were questions about how KG, Allen, and Pierce would handle having to share the ball, there were also questions about Allen's ankles which he had to have surgery on. Then, when they started out hot people were asking "Can they keep it up?", well they did. Once they were in the playoffs, the eighth seeded Hawks took the Celtics to seven games, as did the Cavaliers. People wondered if the Celtics would make it out of the first round, then the second, and then the Pistons were favored in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics had not won a road game in the playoffs, but they also had not lost a home game. Against the Pistons they won two on the road and lost one at home.
The Lakers have breezed through the playoffs compared to the Celtics. In the first round the Lakers took down the Nuggets in four games. In the second they had a little more trouble with the Jazz, but they managed to advance in six. Then they disposed of the defending champs, the Spurs, in five games. Kobe Bryant has been unstoppable and Pau Gasol has seemed like a great addition to that team.
I am looking forward to this series and I intend to watch every minute of it. It will be tough for both teams which makes it even better. I can't wait!