Boston Celtics vs. LA Lakers
As the calendar rolls over into June and the weather begins to really heat up, the NBA Finals are finally ready to get underway. What a better way to celebrate the NBA and its storied history than to have the NBA’s two marquee teams compete it out for the NBA Championship trophy. It’s the Los Angeles Lakers against the Boston Celtics in a Finals rematch from 2008.
The history between these two teams goes back to the very early days of the NBA when it was Bill Russell’s Celtics up against Wilt Chamberlain’s Lakers. Back then, it was the Celtics who always reigned as champions, but in today’s time, the team to beat is the LA Lakers and the best player in the NBA, Kobe Bryant.
Kobe and the Lakers come in to the Finals not only as defending champions, but also riding one of the best postseason performances in Laker history as the team has gone a perfect 8-0 at home so far. Bryant has done his fair share of an amazing performance also, averaging 29.4 points per game, 6.2 assists, and 5.1 rebounds, all while suffering from minor knee problems. Bryant even had his knee drained during the first round against Oklahoma City.
That’s about as far as the showstopping gets for the Lakers, as head coach Phil Jackson has his team playing the best fundamental basketball to be considered a prime example of how to play the game of basketball. With forward Pau Gasol playing the best basketball of his career and Ron Artest showing fans that he can still play this game too, it would be hard to pick against the Lakers.
Enter stage right, Boston Celtics. If anybody can defeat the Lakers in the postseason this year, it would be Boston. The Celtics limped into these playoffs as the No. 4 seed and it was believed that this would be the Big Three’s (Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce) final ride. Many believed they wouldn’t even make it past Cleveland in the second round, but the Celtics have defied all odds. They ran roughshod past the Cavaliers and they took three straight from the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals, before finally closing it out in Game 6. What was once the Big Three, has now turned into the Big Four as point guard Rajon Rondo has had the best coming out party for any player in years. Rondo is among the team leaders in scoring this postseason, averaging over 16 points per game while also putting in 10 assists per game as well and holding the potential to change a game at any moment. Don’t believe me? Just ask the Orlando Magic.
I was having lunch with my father today, and the talking subject went to the NBA Finals and the storied history between the Celtics and Lakers. My dad mentioned that he actually would watch this years Finals just because of the two teams competing. Knowing my dad, he is not big into NBA at all. He usually sticks to baseball and golf, so for him to actually mention the NBA Finals and saying he will actually watch the games shows how big of an impact these two teams have on the league as a whole and how much they mean to the association. With just the name of those two teams, you could come up with quite the All-Star lineup: Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, James Worthy, Bob Cousy, Robert Parrish. Add Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce to that list and that lineup can beat any other lineup you think of.
This should be a series to remember and my pick is Boston in 7. This series unlike the one two years ago will go the distance and it will come down to which team wants to be remembered more for their amazing play. Boston’s Big Four or Kobe and Co., featuring Pau Gasol. You decide.