Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The 2008 NBA FINALS: Celtics or Lakers?

(thanks to Rick Olivares for this poster -grabbed it from his blog
Today's papers read that last summer, Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce played pick-up games against each other at U.C.L.A. Between games, the two stars — unhappy with the players surrounding them in Los Angeles and Boston — joked about which one of them would be traded first. Look where they are now, the last remaining Warriors and at the center stage for the NBA's ultimate prize - the Larry O'Brien trophy.

First of all, I would like to say that I am neither a fan of both teams because in the time of the classic Boston vs. LA finals in the 80’s I was rooting for the Philadelphia 76ers and DR. J. Since the departure of my favorite Charles Barkley in the NBA I have never really stuck with one team but just enjoyed great NBA basketball with the stars that came after them.

This year’s NBA Finals besides the tradition and rivalry is quite exciting for it features a team with a high scoring MVP and another one with a threesome that can shoot the lights out at any given night. In the finals, you usually throw away all the stats and zero in on one important thing, the desire to win. So instead of picking a team to win, I’ll just give my insights on how they can win the title.


In the first two rounds, critics wrote off the Celtics. When they lost to Detroit in game 2 everyone including me thought it was bye bye for the Celts. But then again, the Celts rose to the occasion, won by a mile in game three and won another one on the road in Game 6 after being down ten points in the fourth quarter. The resiliency of the Celtics and calm demeanor got them to the finals. What’s bad news for the Lakers is that I think the Celtics are peaking at the right time. Imagine, losing three lousy games to the Hawks and then punishing the hard defending Pistons, well that just shows that they now know what to do when faced with adversity.

The most important contributors for the team besides the Big 3 is center Kendrick Perkins and forward James Posey. Since the Lakers will concentrate on defending the big three, any possession or field goal should be converted. In the fourth quarter of the game against the Pistons, James Posey took the luster out of Chauncey Billups and shut him down, that means more is expected of Posey defensively than his spot up threes. Who knows he might take Kobe in the important parts of the game.

The Celtics defining moment was their fourth quarter comeback against the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons themselves were playing great and defending well when the Celtics suddenly caught fire and more importantly shut down the Pistons in Auburn Hills.

The most important factor that will help the Celtics win is their hunger and desire to win. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are all fired up to win their first NBA title, something that I believe will be harder if they won’t make it this year. Their desires to be on top of the NBA will spell the big difference in this series.


In Game 1 of the Western Conference playoffs, when Kobe Bryant looked to score there was nothing known to man that could stop him. Imagine asking to be traded before the season and then winning the league’s MVP and the chance to win it all. In his interview, he never imagined he would be in this position. He also mentioned that he enjoyed playing second fiddle to the Big Aristotle then but is now ready to take on the role of the team’s main man. When Pau Gasol joined the Lakers, everyone knew that this team was bound for greatness in the very tough Western Conference. The Lakers literally blew away all their opponents thereafter. Their main weapon is their offense which literally comes so often. Lamar Odom, Luke Walton, Vladimir Radmanovic and Sasha Vujacic are the supporting cast that can hit any shot once open. So if the Celtics take a nap on defense then they will wake up with a big deficit to overcome.

The most important contributors in this team besides their own big three (Bryant, Gasol & Odom) are Walton, Radmanovic and Vujacic. These three are also underrated defenders and can definitely run the floor. If the big three of both teams cancel each other out, look for the second unit to be the difference.

The Lakers defining moment was their game 1 and game 5 win against the Spurs. The Spurs thought they had the Lakers number in those games as both

Games showed the Lakers patience as they came back to beat the Spurs in both occasions. Both wins showed their maturity when faced

The most important factor in the series is that will help the Lakers win is the fact that they are the more experienced TEAM. That is because the only major addition in their rotation is Pau Gasol and the rest of the team has been together for at least three years. Ranged against the Celtics who have nine new faces in their roster this year, the Lakers have perfected the Triangle offense of Coach Phil which will be their edge.

So, who do you think will be the 2008 NBA Champion? I asked my friend Rick Olivares his thoughts and he candidly said "Lakers in 6 or if not Celtics in 7!" I said "hey that's a nice one and we shared the same sentiment, but for me, whoever wins Is immaterial, what is important to me is that this year’s NBA Finals is definitely the place where amazing will happen. Take your pick.

No comments: