Kobe Gets One for Every Finger

NBA finals start tonight. Lakers versus Celtics.

For the 12th time these two teams will meet to win the NBA’s most coveted accomplishment. The Celtics are 9-2 in rivalry’s history, and this is the second time in three years they have met (could very possibly three in a row if Garnett wasn’t injured last postseason).

The Celtics won in six games two years ago, and I think it will go to six games this years as well, except the Lakers on top. They’re practically the same teams from two years ago and the Celtics won, how could the Lakers be that much better in such a short period of time, you may be asking yourself. Let’s look.

Guards – Although Rajon Rondo has made a serious run to the top of the point guard ladder, Kobe is too good. Ray Allen is getting old, and has lost a step, which means that Rondo will probably have to guard Kobe, and vise versa. This puts a lot of pressure on Rondo to perform; guarding the best player in the league (sorry LeBron, and as much as a I don’t like Kobe, there isn’t really that much of an argument), as well as handling the ball and setting up the offense, is a big task. As much as he’s gotten better, it’s going to be tough to do in a best of seven series, and when the player you’re guarding is Kobe. Allen may be able to stay with him for the first half of the game, but when Kobe takes over, it really doesn’t matter who is guarding him, ask Bruce Bowen, or Grant Hill. Derek Fisher will be able to chase Ray Allen around and off the screens, and Allen will probably get his 15 a game. He’s just too old to take over games like he used to be able to. The other Allen, Tony that is, may be able to run around with Kobe for a little bit of the game too. He made a big impact in the series against Cleveland, and if you take your eyes off him like the Magic did (sorry Mickael Pietrus), he’ll make you pay.

As much as I’m ready for Rondo to become a superstar, number 24 is not going to let it happen. Advantage – Lakers, obviously
Forwards – Here is where it gets interesting. Both teams have all-stars are both starting forward positions. Is Artest going to be able to slow down Pierce? We saw what he could do two years ago, dropping 30 a game and leading the Celtics to the series victory. Can Garnett defend smartly and not get in foul trouble against Pau Gasol, who is arguably the most complete big man in the game today? It’s going to be quite a battle down low. Both teams have made it to the finals by being better defensively that their opponents, as well as being tall teams. How will Gasol be able to perform with the lengthy and former Defensive Player of the Year Garnett all over him? How will Pierce respond to Artest’s comments about shutting him down? I think it’s going to be pretty even up front, mostly because the better offensive player of the two is going to be guarded by the other team’s better defender, and personally I think Garnett is a better scorer than Artest. Garnett is very scrappy, and Artest prides himself on his defense, willing to go to any length to see how big Pierce’s dick is:

Moral of the story, there is no advantage, until you bring in Lamar Odom, but that’s another topic. Advantage – Even

Center – Andrew Bynum vs Kendrick Perkins. Both these guys are huge, topping seven feet and 275 pounds. Who is going to show they’ve matured the most in their short careers? Honestly, I believe Perkins is the best defensive center in the game today. He knows his role, and he’s good at it. Neither of these teams need their centers to score, although they would certainly take it if it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the offense. Perkins will get his points by getting put backs and easy lay-ups. Bynum will probably get a few more shots, but he’s banged up, still recovering from the knee injury that has plagued him in the past. Bynum didn’t play two years ago because of the same problem, it will be interesting to see how far he has come and if he can show he can be the defensive force he needs to be. Perkins understands his role, while Bynum is still trying to find out what kind of player will make him successful in this league.

Long story short, Perkins’ defense is better than Bynum taking up space. Advantage – Celtics

Bench – I already mentioned Tony Allen previously, but the real topic of this subsection, Lamar Odom. Will he step up? Will Garnett, Davis, and Wallace eliminate his impact? The thing about both of these teams is they have very short benches, only playing around 8 players. The Celtics bench is definitely deeper, but the Lakers have the better player coming off their bench. Odom is a match-up nightmare, which is exactly why Phil loves bringing him off the bench. Left-handed, 6’10”, handles it well, passes is well, shoots it form three, and can post up smaller defenders, he will bring an uptempo style to a team that usually likes to slow it down. Odom is a play maker, and helps get the Lakers over the hump, and if you watch any of their games, you usually see him in at the end of the game. It’s not who starts a game, but who finishes. Thats what I’ve always said.

While the Celtics bring more players than can impact the game, Lamar Odom is the key to the Lakers’ success. Advantage – LA

Coach – Obviously this isn’t much of an argument. The titles of this post is Kobe Gets One for Every Finger, Phil already does, but on both hands. 6 with the Bulls and Jordan, 4 with the Lakers, and also one with the Knicks as a player, he’s going to have to find somewhere to put all these things. Or get his boss’ daughter to pop out one of his offspring. Jackson is a great coach, obviously, but Doc Rivers isn’t too shabby either, winning the title two years ago. Although he’s a former Hawks great, he’s not going to be great enough to get his team to play well enough each night to beat those damn Lakers.

Advantage  –  Guess?

You didn’t have to read any of this to know who I think is going to win this series, but it’s pretty evident that these teams match up quite well actually. It should be a very entertaining series, especially since both city’s fans are probably the two best in the league, giving the home team a big advantage.

The history, tradition, rivalry.

Verdict:

Lakers in 6, as much as I hate to say it.

Game’s on in two hours, enjoy.

-KP

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