PETER PICKS: Boston in 7.
DAVE PICKS: ???
JIMMY PICKS: Lakers in 6.
NICK PICKS: Lakers in 7. (Somehow, my head (the “analyst”… ha ha, that’s funny) and my heart (the fan in me) are having a battle in this match-up. Of course, I’m also insane. Let’s see what the two parts of me say about this final round.)
HEAD: So it’s the Lakers against the Celtics.
HEART: I have waited two years for this match-up.
We pretty much know the match-ups here. There ARE a few faces here, though. Rasheed Wallace joined the Celtics for veteran help. Nate Robinson came in a midseason trade and had a huge Game 6 against Orlando. Marquis Daniels was brought in as a back-up to help relieve Paul Pierce. On the other side, the lone new guy for the Lakers is Ron Artest.
Ron Artest was definitely needed for this series.
A few things troubled me about the Lakers run to the postseason. They basically got the most ideal opponents possible on the way to the championship round. This is not to take away from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, and the Phoenix Suns. But those teams didn’t have the necessary height to match up well with the Lakers like the Denver Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks did.
Whatever. If they’re really that good, they should beat EVERY team. No excuses!
The Celtics had a very impressive run. Some people were even picking against them in the first round when they were going against Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat. But the Celtics just ran over every team that got in their way. The Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t figure out the Celtic puzzle. The LeBron James era might end because of these Celtics. And Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic looked like a D-League team when going against the Celtics. Boston beat the two best teams in the East, record-wise… and eliminated the teams that had huge star power in Wade, Bron, and D12. That’s just scary stuff.
But it’s okay. Kobe Bryant is another level above those guys. They don’t have anyone that can guard Kobe!
But give credit where credit is due. Kobe is on another planet the way he’s playing. Pau Gasol is having an outstanding postseason run. Ron Artest has finally found his groove. Lamar Odom somehow shows up when he’s most needed. Derek Fisher has played really well in the postseason. And the bench hasn’t been a huge letdown. Just hope they don’t melt down against Boston.
On the other side, we saw the Celtics suffocating defense that just took other teams out of their comfort zones. The Heat, Cavs, and Magic looked all lost competing against Boston. Kevin Garnett is getting stronger in the postseason. Paul Pierce can still get the job done. Ray Allen is still one hell of a shooter. And we know that Rajon Rondo has pretty much become the #1 guy in Boston. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Laker Triangle offense turns into some weird trapezoid.
It don’t matter! We got Kobe, baby!
Each team does present one match-up problem for the other. Kobe Bryant can run wild against Boston. The last time they met, though, they did a pretty good job holding Kobe down. As for the Celtics, they can have Rondo run circles around whatever point guard Lakers put against him. This isn’t the Rondo of 2008; today’s Rondo is something else. The rest of the team runs through Rondo instead of Rondo having to play off them. Maybe Kobe or Ron will play him on spurts but he is definitely a match-up problem.
How is that a match-up problem? Rondo can’t shoot.
The frontline is going to be huge. Kendrick Perkins, Garnett, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, and Rasheed Wallace play great defense. Physicality, craftiness, help defense… they got it all inside. It’s up to Gasol, Odom, Artest, and Andrew Bynum to counter. Bynum’s injury is a worry. But at least, he is actually present in this match-up as opposed to 2008. It also helps that the experience playing together and against the Celtics will pay dividends in the Finals.
Please show up, guys… please show up, guys… please show up, guys…
The bench will play a huge key, too. Odom covers most of the deficiencies of the second unit but it’d be huge if someone from the Sasha Vujacic/Jordan Farmar/Shannon Brown triumvirate steps up. The bench from the Celtics side is much deeper. And it even got deeper recently. Tony Allen has been playing hellish defense. We know what Sheed and Baby can do. And now, Nate Robinson can provide instant offense like he did in the clinching game against the Orlando Magic. It’s likely that the Celtics will get more production out of their bench than the Lakers but, of course, Sheed can always revert back to his regular season self.
In the end, it all comes down to defense. Boston has played better competition while L.A. has pretty much played the ideal opponents. I’d like it better if L.A. went through a big team like Dallas or Denver but Boston feels battle-tested. And they are the only team that’s not afraid of the Lakers. After all, they beat them before in 2008. They know what to do against them. L.A.’s supporting cast can still be taken out and Boston knows how to do just that. I really hate to say this and be like J.A. Adande but I think Boston wins this in si…HOLD ON.
Take off those supposed “ANALYST” GLASSES. What kind of L.A. fan are you?! No matter what, an L.A. fan will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER pick Boston to beat Los Angeles. The Lakers CAN play defense. Kobe Bryant is the best player on the court. Pau Gasol isn’t and will not be afraid of the Celtics. Bynum will play a big key. Odom will NOT disappear. Artest will defend Pierce. It will go L.A.’s way or nothing else! I say SWEEP THE CELTICS. YEAH.
Okay. Lakers in six is probably a bit more realistic.
Los Angeles, take it back home.
You can follow BOTH head and heart on Twitter. User name is @TheNoLookPass. We all know he’s crazy.
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