Thursday, June 5, 2008

Beat LA!


It's been a long time since I've posted on something sports related, but I've been reading a lot of the "experts" opinion on the Lakers/Celtics match up and quite frankly, they are all idiots.

Will this series go 6 or 7 games, most likely. Will the Lakers win the series, not very likely. I was discussing this earlier today, like the NFL in the NBA defense eventually wins out, plain and simple. The Celtics are the best defensive team in the league, by far. On the Lakers side, you can put any 5 out on the court, but other than Kobe, (who is overrated as a defensive player, people are prone to think his skills on offensive and overall quickness translates to defensive prowess), no one can play a lick of D. You think Odom or Gasol can handle KG...come on now, that's just silly. I would trust Bynum on KG over either one of those two. Most likely it will be Odom though, which leaves Gasol on Perk. Gasol will get some points, he's a finesse guy, but he can't bang underneath with Perk. The boards on both ends of the court will be controlled by the C's. Let's not forget that depending on who Kobe d's up against, either Allen or Pierce will have a field day with whomever is guarding them other than Kobe.

Then you look at the Celtics defense, Pierce or Allen will guard Kobe. Pierce has probably been the best defensive player in the playoffs this year. He's contained some of the best offensive players in the league in three series' and still had some phenomenal games on the offensive end. Kobe will get his 25, he's Kobe, gotta respect that, but the role players can't step up against the C's. KG and Perk are too much for Odom and Gasol to work on. I think they are both solid guys, but they succeed against soft teams. This reminds me of back in the day when ACC teams would play Big East teams, and the ACC known for it's perimeter shooting would get pounded by the physicality of a Georgetown or St. John's. This is exactly what's going to happen in this series. And the difference is this isn't just a one game ordeal where LAL could tough it out for one game, they are going to be hurting for at least 3 games, and they have to show some resolve that they can in fact measure up physically.

Now let's discuss the benches. Farmar, Vujacic, Turiaf and Walton, do people seriously believe that bench is stronger than Posey, House, Brown, Powe and Davis? Davis probably won't get as much time in this round as he did in the past, and I hope Doc keeps Cassell's ass on the pine and plays House. Posey is a defensive stud that will knock down every open three you give him. House is instant energy, and I hate that term, but the players and the fans kick it up a notch when Eddie checks in. The guy is a smart player too, he sticks with the plan, as opposed to Cassell who creates his own plans. Brown has been a tremendous asset. Yes he's old admittedly, but he doesn't play outside of his game. He only takes shots that have a high probability of going in. He doesn't get caught up in screens or over rotates (probably because he's not fast enough to do so anyway), and he's another big body in the lane. If Powe is in the playoff rotation, he will surprise the nation. The guy is raw talent that still needs to be developed, but against a small Laker lineup, Powe truly has a chance to shine.

The only true edge Showtime has is their coach. But let's not forget, Phil Jackson has always coached teams with big names on it. MJ, Pippen, Shaq, Kobe...and a host of good role players. Doc finally got a team like that this year and is doing what I think most coaches could have done with Jackson's teams. The players are professionals, they know how to play the game, a coaches job is simply to manage personalities and present ideas as well as a sense of calm or urgency to his team. Phil is probably better than that than Doc just from experience, but the fact remains, Jackson has had the two best players in the time on his teams, how much did he really need to do to get them to be successful?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the series, I believe the Celtics will pull it out, but I'm not sure in how many games. David Stern works in mysterious ways and losing millions of dollars in revenue by not having a game 6 or 7 is not his style. The greatest thing about this series is the throw back to the 80s. Before I watched baseball or football I watched basketball. As much as I loved Boston then, I still had love for the Lakers because they were a totally different team. The personalities, the playing styles, the fans, the arenas, role players, everything was a polar opposite between LA and Boston, except for both teams desire to win. In recent history, no individual rivalry has come close to Bird and Magic. We have our great players, but there is no Kobe vs LeBron, or Duncan vs Shaq, it's not the same. But thankfully, for the NBA and its fans, I think we might get back to back years where the Lakers and Celtics meet in the finals, and if you think this year is a treat, if a rematch happens in 2009 that will blow the roof off of the Garden and Forum, well Staples Center, but for nostalgic purposes, it'll always be the GW Forum.

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