Lakers-Celtics Finals. Doesn't that just sound good?
David Stern and Co. got exactly what they wanted, a dream matchup between the league's two most storied franchises. Afterall the teams have a combined 30 of the 61 NBA Championships, and after this series the two teams will share half of all NBA Championships. Not to mention it is the NBA's only legitimate Eastern-Western conference rivalry. The hype machine is out in full force, as it should be. What other finals matchup has any sort of history even vaguely resembling Lakers-Celtics?
The Lakers and Celtics have met in the finals ten times before. Four of those series ended in seven games. The Celtics came out on top eight of ten times. The Lakers took the last two, in '84-'85, and '86-'87. Overall, the Celtics have won 16 titles, while the Lakers have won 14. The Lakers, however, have been much better than the Celtics in recent years. Still, the Celtics ruled the Sixties, winning a championship every year from '59 to '69, except for '67, which will never be duplicated. I don't want to hear, "Yeah, but it's not what it used to be. There's no Larry Bird vs. Magic." Please. I bet the older people who witnessed the Celtic dominance of the Sixties were saying the exact type of garbage before their rivalry was renewed in '83-'84. It probably went something like this: "Yeah but there's no Jerry West, no Bob Cousy or Bill Russell."
Spare me. Just embrace what we have.
We have Kobe Bryant going against the NBA's best defense. We have Kevin Garnett, who plays with the most heart in the league. We have Phil Jackson trying to pass Red Auerbach in championships. Would you rather be watching another Spurs-Cavs matchup? How about a Pistons vs. anybody matchup?
I really do not see what can go wrong. If the Lakers win, Kobe just took his first big step in being worthy of all those Jordan comparisons. If the Celtics win, Garnett, Pierce, and Allen get their much-deserved chip. Championships that have eluded such players like Karl Malone, Reggie Miller, or John Stockton.
If the Lakers win, it might be the start of a multiple-championship run. They are absolutely stacked, and will only be better in the years to come.
If Boston wins, it might be able to make it all the way back next year due to the weak East, hopefully starting a whole new era of a Lakers-Celtics rivalry.
Plus, if you are a fan of celebs, you can look forward to seeing plenty of Jack, Spiderman, Leo, and many young starlets in L.A., along with all the Laker greats. In Boston, you'll probably see Tom Brady and Gisele, and Marky Mark (yes, Mark Wahlberg, you will always be Marky Mark to me). Maybe even the newly reunited New Kids on the Block will perform a halftime show. Don't ask me how I know they're reunited; I just do.
These finals deserve all the hype they're attracting; remember, this is the only finals matchup that warrants it. It's actually a finals matchup that actually matters.
Why the Boston Celtics Could Win-
They open the series at home where they've been almost unbeatable. They also have lots of momentum after closing out game 6 against Detroit in dominating fashion. This team also has a lot more to prove while still being the underdog in many people's eyes. For Pierce, Garnett and Ray allen, this could very well be their final chance at adding a ring to each of their respective and brilliant careers. Sam Cassell, who's been here and won before, should see more minutes and could wind up becoming a major contributor. Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins will also continue to play well. The Celtics seemed to have re-awakened, especially on the road.
Why The Los Angeles Lakers Could Win -
Fatigue will probably become the major factor for the Celtics falling in this series. They've played twenty games thus far this post-season compared to just fifteen for the Lakers. Things won't get any easier as Los Angeles will be their toughest opponent yet. Though things have gotten better on the road, Boston still has a losing record away from home while the Lakers are undefeated at the Staples Center thus far in the post-season. Kobe is playing the best ball of his career and finally has the pieces around him that he has always needed. The Lakers big 3 is just as good as Boston's and LA's bench is a shade better than Boston's. Finally, this is Phil Jackson's eleventh rodeo coaching the Finals. This is Doc River's first.
Early Predicition: Boston Celtics in 7 games (I can't pick against my own team). What are your predictions?