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  • sacbobv

    Can’t wait for Thursday!
    Maybe we can snag 2 to start like we did the Magic, except this time I don’t see a game four letdown.

    Go Celtics, show them the Champs you are!

    P.S.
    13.2 left, Suns down by six. Never know, miracle could happen for them.

  • sacbobv

    Never mind on my ps. Hope the Lakers understand home court means Nothing.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @sac: I think it can mean something if you get the first two. I know it meant something for Boston in ’08 to get the first two and put immense pressure on LA to win all three games in LA.

  • sacbobv

    @zach- Of course you knew what
    I meant, whereas my fingers went faster down the road than my brain did.

  • joe

    CELTICS IN 5.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    I’ll say this: The Artest-Pierce match-up makes this series a very distinct thing from ’08.

  • Eran

    The KG effect:

    Michael Beasley season average: 14.8 pts
    Michael Beasley postseason average against Celtics: 10.4 pts

    Antawn Jamison season average: 18.7 pts
    Antawn Jamison postseason average against Bulls: 19.4 pts
    Antawn Jamison postseason average against Celtics: 11.8 pts

    Rashard Lewis season average: 14.1 pts
    Rashard Lewis postseason average against Bobcats: 15.8 pts
    Rashard Lewis postseason average against Hakws: 17.0 pts
    Rashard Lewis postseason average against Celtics: 8.2 pts

    If the KG effect hits Pau Gasol, Celtics win. I think the KG-Gasol match-up will determine the finals.

  • joe

    @Zach, agreed. but LAL hasn’t faced a frontline that had the perfect combo of size and physicality. that has been their main advantage the whole playoffs (besides kobe) and that’ll disappear against BOS. i think over the series they’ll get worn down. and i actually think BOS can focus in enough to get all 3 home games.

  • Paolo

    Questions regarding this series:

    - Who will match up defensively with Ray Allen? Is Bryant going to be the one running around screens or is Fisher going to do the dirty work?
    - Once that’s figured out, who’s going to defend Rondo? Bryant did it in spurts in ’08 because Rondo was not much of a threat, but now he is one of the main threats in this Celtics team.
    - Will Perk be able to make Gasol work for his points? I know Bynum’s supposed to match up with him, but Bynum’s probably going to be in foul trouble soon enough. Surely Bynum isn’t tougher to cover than Shaq and then Dwight?
    - Is Ron Artest going to defend Pierce better than LBJ did? Artest has come up big in a few spots for LA this postseason, but his defense isn’t exactly brilliant right now. His best work came against Durant, a very efficient scorer in his own right, but Durant does not have the fadeaways, spin moves, and slashing that PP has.
    - Who is going to defend Lamar Odom? I bet Glen Davis is getting some duty with him, and having Glen sagging off will dare him to shoot jump shots, something that is usually bad for the Lakers.
    - Who will win the rebounding battle? The Lakers are significantly a better offensive rebounding team than all the opponents the Celtics have faced, only because it is in their gameplan. If the Celtics control the defensive boards (we’re looking at PP here), so much of the offense of the Lakers are gone.
    - How will the Celtics defend Bryant? Ala Wade or ala James?
    - Will Derek Fisher roughen Rondo up more than Dwight did? Come on, this guy is a master of cheap shots and frustrating flops as well as anyone.
    - Are we going to see more of Rondo attacking the lane again? There’s no Dwight Howard in the Lakers, I’ll tell you that.
    - Will TA fall for Bryant’s up fakes? (I know, I know…)
    - Will Nate Robinson see more playing time? Will he win us another game?
    - Is KG going to be a force offensively?

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    how the Kobe/Fisher/Rondo/Ray thing gets sorted out will be huge.

    As will be whether they get anything from Bynum.

  • robert mattress

    I am the truest Boston Celtic i have no question i have answer. We will these series with defense just like we in the Cleveland and Orlando series.

  • mitch

    BEAT LA!

  • Jason

    Excellent bunch of questions Paolo. My high level stance is the Lakers haven’t come close to seeing a D like the Celtics’ and this is going to be a slaughter. As for your questions.

    Fisher/Bryant vs. Rondo/Ray is going to be a problem for LA for sure. Fisher’s a liability against either and Rondo and the Cs beat the Rondo-roam handily nowadays. I think for sure it’s Fisher on Ray because Rondo would be in the lane every single play and like you said, no Howard, so he’ll be attacking. Howard was just a monster in the paint, got to give him that. Plus Bryant’s not going to run around screens all night. So, bottom line, Ray should have a field day inside and out against Fisher. Rondo will still get in the lane and finish or distribute.

    Shaq and Howard are much bigger loads than Gasol or Bynum, but the LA towers are more skilled. However, Jermaine had a 15-foot game, too and Perk shut him down. So, I think Perk handles them just fine. Also Perk will have a major strength advantage on O as well and will probably be more protective on that end in this series.

    Neither Gasol or Bynum are going to be comfortable stepping out to KG’s range. The will find ways to take advantage of that.

    Artest isn’t his old self and Pierce seems very in control right now. I expect Pierce to win this matchup handily on both sides of the floor.

    The Fakers’ bench is Lamar only and even he may have to start, so might 48 minutes for each starter. The Cs have 3 (now 4) guys capable of contributing on any given night.

    Kobe is not as dangerous as Wade or LBJ anymore and the Cs already shut them down. Let Fisher and Artest force 3s. Let Perk push their bigs 15 feet away from the basket. As I said, the Fakers haven’t seen a D like the Celtics’. The Fakers and Suns just played 6 games with All-Star game level defense. They should both be embarrassed. The Cs will clue them in to what championship play means.

  • robert mattress

    i am the truest Boston Celtic fan i have no question just answer. We will win this series with defense just like we did in the Cleveland and Orlando series. People lets compare apples to apples here and not apples to grapes.

  • Jason

    “will probably be more *productive* on that end in this series.”

  • zebulon

    What is the possibility of a Nate-Rondo back court? I think it depends on: Can rondo defend kobe? If Kobe wants to play on the perimeter, I say yes. If he goes to the post, we need to have paul or ray on him. Rondo is just too small in the post.

    One of the biggest deficiencies of our second unit is the lack of shooting. Davis has taken a number of contested 20 foot jumpshots in the past two series, and I think this has to do with a lineup that includes two non-shooters on the perimeter (TA and Rondo). If the Rondo-Robinson backcourt works, it allows for resting Ray without the ensuing lack of spacing that can really limit our offense.

    The best time to use this lineup is probably when the lakers bench is in, because they often have point guards playing both the 1 and the 2 (Farmer at the 1, Brown at the 2).

    Also, this lets us get Nate the minutes a lot of folks are calling for, but in more a an off-the ball role, where the fact that doc is only comfortable having him run “a couple of sets” isn’t a big deal.

  • Anthony

    Sheed needs to be healthy. Nobody on the Fakers can guard him and he’s good enough defensively against Gasol and Bynum. Rondo need to keep attacking the paint since Bynum is nowhere near the defensive player Howard is. Pierce has always had trouble against Artest but its hard to say if this will continue. Pierce is a savvy veteran coming off a great series and Artest is not the same player defensively. I thought the Fakers won last year thanks in part to Ariza who was really good defensively and shot incredibly from 3pt line. I thought Ray Allen was probably the best and most consistent player in the 08′ Finals. I dont think Kobe will want to chase him around through all the screens. Then again, Kobe cant sag off on Rondo the way he did in 08′. And he cant chase him around either. Dare I say it?? Kobe might be limited defensively. I know he’s going to try to save his legs for offense but the Celts can use 4 guys on him – TA, Ray, Pierce, Daniels (if he’s back). The only match-up problem i see is Odom, who barely showed up in 08′ Finals. The other 2 deciding factors will be if Phil Jackson decides to bitch and moan and play his little mind games and what David Stern tell the refs. Perkins’ techs is still an issue if the series goes long. Can he contain his composure for 5–6-7 games?? I’m hoping the Celts can dismantle the Fakers and take it in 4. Damn I hate the Fakers.

  • zebulon

    Also, I think pierce will be a limited offensive player in this series – Ron Artest might not be as quick as he used to be, but he is plenty quick enough to guard pierce, and he is adept at using his strength well, and has the veteran savvy not to foul pierce on his up-fakes (as the magic did again and again…).

    Likewise, Baby will have difficulty getting easy looks at the basket against the length of the lakers.

    However, Perk, KG, and Rondo should all be able to step up offensively in this series, more than making up for the drop off in pierce’s production and efficiency. Pau is a good help defender with his length and anticipation, but his man defense was repeatedly exposed in the phoenix series – if KG goes hard to the basket, he will find success either drawing fouls or getting past Pau. Likewise, Rondo and Perk don’t have to deal with Dwight’s presence, and the obvious effect he had on their mental games.

  • AJ

    I think the front-court is pretty evenly matched, imho. I think KG can match up with Pau, the beast with Bynum, Davis somewhat unequivocally with Lamar. I think Artest is going to do a ball-breaking job on PP, I mean he’s no Ariza, and I have a lingering suspicion that this is why Artest came to LA to begin with. Maybe that’s just the Cs fan in me, but whatevs.

    With that in mind, and seeing everything that’s gone down, I think that the entire series is going to be dictated on how aggressive and effective Rondo will be. It really is all about him, because if he drives and can score, he will also create opportunities for everyone else like he has all season. So it’s all up to the little man now. I hope he’s up to it.

    Go C’s! Dieharrrrrd!

  • Anthony

    Side notes – I think Nate and Shannon Brown should have a dunk-off to decide who has homecourt advantage. Celts should be able to hire Rafer Alston for the series just to slap Vujacic around. Man, that’s probably one of the most annoying guys in the NBA. At least with Varaejo, he would be a great guy to have on your team. Does anyone on the Fakers even like him? Even Kobe was shown bullying him around. Even Goran Dragic who played on the same Serbian National Team hates him.

  • Anthony

    @AJ… wow, can you imagine if Rondo steps up like he did against the Cavs. He can win Finals MVP!! That’s crazy to think that in 2 years he’s gone from a liability to what he is now. And he’s had great moments against the Magics despite Howard’s great defense. OK..OK… most of the moments were against Gortat.

  • tossin

    As a Celtics fan, I’m not scared of the Lakers, but I’m as confident as other people here that the Celtics will win either (C’s in 5?! I wish). The Lakers seem tougher than their 2008 selves with the addition of Artest and Bynum and the growth of Gasol and Odom. Rondo, Perkins, Allen, and Davis are a lot better than they were in 2008, but we lost some crucial 3 point power on the bench with House and Posey, which helped the Celtics come back in Game 4 of the 2008 Finals and create that huge lead in Game 6. It’s definitely going to be tougher than it was 2 years ago.

  • tossin

    “but I’m as confident as other people here that the Celtics will win either (C’s in 5?! I wish)”

    NOT as confident…

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Where da haters at??? The lakers won so there should be a big bunch of piping hot & steaming fresh hate coming from the lake.

    Oh yeah, after a championship, they go out to bust windows & to burn cars in the streets….they could be out there at it all night……….

    What is the over / under on how many times they call Paul an actress & talk about their all time favorite yarn, the magical wheel chair ? After 2 years will they/can they come up with something new???? I doubt it.

  • PierceTurth

    there are two things which will determine this series:
    1. how lamar odom plays (who is very inconsistent)
    2. the rondo/ray and fisher/bryant matchup

    i think every thing else is either evenly matched or controleed by boston. by the way no 2. is dominated by boston either way it will just be interesting to see what the fakers do to TRY to solve it.

    MAN AM I PUMPED FOR THIS SERIES!!

  • LAKERS FAN

    You guys are gonna get Fd up

  • DeVelaine

    Only thing that bothers me… There were *4* experts that pick Boston to win. My prediction was wrong!

    To quote myself when speaking to a friend when I saw the final score tonight: “LA’s about to get socked in the jaw. On their floor. On National TV.”

    And we’re all going to love it.

  • Anthony

    @CptnBubbles – you cant really expect Fakers fans to come up with anything else. What are they gonna say… Celts wont be able to come back from 24 point down this time… or man, we love that 39 point beatdown? See…works both ways. LoL

    @PierceTruth – Agreed. Wish the series can start already.

  • Ray Leighton

    Hey, been having some computer problems, so multiple comments on the last few posts:

    First, I get to gloat a bit, although I suspect that nobody will mind because everyone is still enjoying the moment — March 21, yes that deep into the mire of the regular season, go back and read the post, I picked the Cs in the Finals. Jay P and DRJ1 backed me up, but most of you suggested that I was delusional and insane. But as I pointed out subsequently, my pick was based on the stats — so everyone bow down to the productional differential stats; they rule. The playoffs are a different beast simply because there are no back to backs and the rotation is shorter — and no other team came close to our best six or seven except Orlando. I also pointed out way back when that both Cleveland and Orlando were weaker teams than last year. Before the playoffs started, I picked the Celtics in five over Miami, in six over Cleveland and in seven over Orlando. So ignore the comments, ignore your intuition, and worship the stats….

    (of course, I have to admit that I also thought that our opponent would be Denver in the finals, but I suspect that the health of their coach was an enormous distraction)

    @Zach — your suggestion that the 69 Celtics were fortunate because of injuries and bad chemistry of their opponents was correct. But it applies every season….

    Which brings me to the Lakers. The best part about this is that all of those LA fans have no clue how awful it is going to be for them. Or maybe the best part is that we will have walked through four of the NBA First-Team this year conclusively proving that basketball is a team sport. It will be a great thing for basketball. Imagine being able to point out to all of those pee-wee hoops players when they start idolizing Kobe or Lebron that those guys didn’t win the championship. Gonna be sweet.

    The matchups:

    I’m going to assume that the Lakers go with Gasol and Odom, not just because Bynum is hurt but because he is also the most overrated center in the game, and when the chips are down, Phil Jackson always reverts back to Gasol and Odom. Interestingly, Gasol actually had more minutes at the five than at the four. It’s going to be interesting to see who defends whom. If we assume Gasol vs. KG, Gasol has a very small edge in production differential during the season. This is the best matchup of the series — if Gasol is at the 4, then the two of them are both top-five in the league at that position in production differential with KG as the best at limiting opponent’s production, and Gasol among the leaders in production. I should point out that a lot of people probably think that KG had an off series against Orlando. But KG continued to do what he does best — not just producing, but eliminating the other guy’s production. During the 08 playoffs, KG outproduced his man 25 out of 26 games. His performance has been very similar this year as Eran pointed out — the other team’s 4 has pretty much evaporated against KG. And Gasol always looks somewhat spastic trying to cover KG. Odom/Bynum have a slight edge over Perk, but it would be weird if Odom and Perk were covering each other — I don’t think that Odom is strong enough, and Perk is not mobile enough. So something is going to be switched up.

    At the 3, the edge is ours. Artest is a good defender, but so is Pierce, who is the far better offensive player and has the greater production differential.

    At the 2, the edge goes to Kobe over Ray. This is clearly the Lakers biggest edge even though Kobe’s production differential has dropped dramatically over the last two years to the point where it is highly questionable that he even made the NBA all-first-team. Still, he is an elite 2, and Ray’s production differential also has dropped this year.

    And then there is the 1 — I was surprised at this, but it turns out that the biggest edge for either team is Rondo against whomever the Lakers put at the 1. The Lakers do not have a single person who can play the point who has a positive production differential. In fact, they don’t have a point guard who doesn’t rank in the bottom third of the league at this position. Against Rondo, who has become an elite PG. Of course, Kobe can wear himself out covering Rondo, but then the question becomes who covers Ray? See below.

    Lastly, the bench. We win this one by default, because the Lakers don’t have one. Once you get past whichever Odom/Bynum is coming off the bench, the Lakers do not have a single player with a production differential better than negative 1 and Farmar is a negative 1.6. Everyone else below negative 2. Basically, the Lakers will never have more than four good players on the court, and as soon as the starters sit, they are in deep trouble.

    So slight disadvantages at the 4 and 5, with the 4 almost a tie, advantage to the Celtics at the 3, big advantage to the Lakers at the 2, and a collosal advantage to the Celtics at the 1 and on the bench, particularly if TA and Glen Davis are healthy.

    It’s going to be a good asskicking. Not only will we hang another banner but we get to put a great big asterisk next to the Lakers championship last year. Celtics in five.

  • dranen645

    amen, Ray Leighton

  • LAFAN

    HAhahaha celtics in five please…..we don’t have vladrad guarding pierce….ron will make his life tough…frontcourt should cancel out and kobe is playing out of his mind….rondo is going to take a bunch of long dumb jumpers…homecourt is actually a factor i n the finals its very hard to win three at home

  • DRJ1

    I’m compelled to add something to Ray’s excellent analysis. About the intangibles… i.e., the things you can’t see in the stats. Like character. Dedication. Toughness. And a blazing, unstoppable WILL to win. If you think it’s a beatdown-coming looking at the differentials…. it’s even much MORE SO looking at the intangibles. Teams can rise above their stats, when it really counts. But they cannot rise above who they are.

    In all the intangible areas, the Celtics beat the Lakers HANDS DOWN. As in “no contest”. When the going gets tough, the Lakers have ONE true warrior. Well… ok, one and a half… I’ll give ya 1/2 for Fish. But if you look past those two? You see a vast empty space. Nothing there. They cannot rise above who they are because they haven’t the character for it. For any of it.

    Cs in 5.

  • RBD

    I’ll say Celtics in 6 although it wouldn’t surprise me to see it get done in either 5 or 7.

    I think by the end of the series we’re going to be terrified of Kobe again (he’s playing crazy good right now – nothing wrong with that knee I can see).

    But Kobe, sadly for him, will be very angry at his teammates for letting him down.

  • RBD

    This is a huge series for Pau Gasol. It’s going to serve as a referendum on whether he’s a real prime-time player or a guy who rode Kobe’s coattails to a title.

    Jury’s still out on this guy.

  • Deron

    Re: The Rematch
    Why this NBA Finals is far from a rematch…

    The Lakers really don’t have the opportunity to exact revenge from the Boston Celtics. We won’t know if Gasol can score constantly against Kendrick Perkins (who abused him in the Finals) as he will mostly be matched up with KG. We won’t know if Luke Walton or Vlad Rad can all of the sudden stop Paul Pierce because well… are they in the league anymore? We won’t know if Kobe can learn how to score against James Posey unless at halftime they play a little one on one with Posey coming out from the stands. But we do know that Kobe can guard Rondo pretty effectively, and Fisher can’t guard Ray Allen (or anyone else). We do know that Artest gives Paul Pierce fits and Gasol’s length flusters KG. These are two evenly matched teams… the winner will the the winner of these two matchups… who is going to be the best great player? Kobe or Rondo? And who will be the best 6th man? Sheed or Lamar? Let the games begin…

  • rondo-is-love

    I can’t help but wonder if Gasol realizes what he’ll be facing now. He’ll have KG to start with and that’s bad enough. While ‘Sheed does play at the 5 spot, he’s also capable of coming in at the 4 if necessary. Considering all the success Pau’s had against Davis (regardless of how good the D was, it was the size advantage that killed it), I feel like Doc’s gonna play ‘Sheed at the 4 a bit more against Gasol if KG were to get into foul trouble or something.

    To an opponent, KG-’Sheed has got to be one of the league’s most annoying 4-spot combo that is still active. I truthfully wouldn’t be surprised to see Gasol getting frustrated on a nightly basis. I mean, seriously. If I was playing at the 4 spot, it’s bad enough that I have KG breathing down my neck most of the time with all his feisty-ness and intensity, but to think about ‘Sheed replacing him just when I think I get a breather for a bit? ‘Sheed, who makes sure he gets the most out of the six fouls he’s got to use, all the sneaky veteran moves he uses and just his craziness in general.

    I think the guy that scares me the most other than Kobe is definitely Odom. While he’s inconsistent, when he’s on, he’s ON and will be a tough cover… but at the same time, wouldn’t he also have trouble on the defensive end? I don’t think he can guard KG or ‘Sheed, but he might have success against Baby.

    As for the Kobe/Fisher/Ray/Rondo matchups… I’m pretty sure Kobe will get the most time guarding Rondo. Rondo should, for the most part, have a lot of success against them since LA to this day has trouble with speedy little point guards. Out of all the ones they’ve had to face so far this postseason (and the list they’ve had to face is no joke), I’d say Westbrook is the one that caused them the most fits until Kobe started guarding him… and in my own opinion, Westbrook is the most similar to Rondo from that list. The difference between Rondo and Westbrook, though, is the fact that Rondo’s got much more experience, having already been in the Finals with Kobe guarding him whereas for Westbrook, it was his first time in the playoffs as a second year point guard who’s probably still trying to figure out who he is as a player. Rondo was in that position two years ago, and although his game still has much room to improve, he knows who he is now for the most part.

    It takes a lot more energy to fight through screens (which I think is part of the reason Rondo had some struggles guarding Nelson when they came out with the “staggered screen” play, making him fight through two screens) so I just can’t see Kobe doing that, chasing after Ray. He’s a lot more important to their offense than Fisher is.. too important, in fact. The main thing about Fisher that worries me, other than the possibility that he may come alive, is that he might take a cheap shot or two on Rondo or Ray that could end up costing the C’s dearly.

    As for the Artest-Pierce matchup.. I think Pierce has been dealing with Artest for too long to allow Artest to get into his head. Pierce obviously has the advantage over Artest offensively… but I’d say Artest has a slight advantage defensively, which really ends this matchup in a draw unless one of them comes alive and can’t miss or something.

  • What Can I Say?

    C’s in 5.

    When this is all over, the running joke will be that Kobe can thank KG and his knee problems for that 4th ring.

    The key to this series BEING a series is how LA defends their home court. If they can go up 2-0…obviously it is a series. If they lose even one of the first two games….C’s in 5.

  • Evan

    What’s with all the C’s in 5? This isn’t going any shorter than 6.

  • DRJ1

    I don’t know Evan… I keep seeing Kobe saving that team’s butt over and over, taking shots that have NO BUSINESS going in, but do. That’s no way to win a championship. But… anything can happen. 5 or 6, either’s fine with me.

  • Urbeltic

    I’ll say it again….Sheldon Williams WILL win a game for the Cs.

  • Paolo

    @Urbeltic: SW. The Secret Weapon. Are we expecting a Powe-like performance from him? Haha.

    @DRJ1: I have to agree that Kobe keeps saving his team over and over again. Game 6 against the Suns, Phoenix had all the momentum in the final minutes of the fourth until Kobe shot lights out with video-game-difficult-level-shots.

    I think the key to this series is just like the key to defeating the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Shut everyone down and make the superstar work. Gasol, Bynum and Odom may be good offensive players but they are nowhere near unstoppable. How the Lakers will defend the Celtics is the big question mark. Boston has already went through two of the best defensive teams in the league, and won blowouts on both teams. The C’s also managed to shut down the offense of the Magic which was one of the most efficient ones in the league.

    I also believe that aside from Kobe, there is no other competitor that comes close to the Celtics’ core players. We saw how that level of competition affects games in the series against the Magic.

  • Fabian

    I’m really lookin forward to the Artest vs Pierce matchup… allthough I’m a bit scared, since Paul is exactly the type of player Artest is still able to defend…
    And Kobe is playin out of his mind right now.
    Anyway I still think the Rondo against “whoever LA wants to sacrifice” matchup will win this series

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FD796H08J7w

  • JP

    The lakers are used to the Suns swiss cheese style zone defense, they definitely won’t be scoring over 100 on the Celtics. I think this series goes 7 games, I think the Celtics win. RonRon is one of the only players in this series without Finals experience and I think that will hurt the Lakers ultimately.

  • Ersatz

    Artest will be able to limit Pierce in one or maybe two games (though it might be Pierce playing bad, as he did in game 3 of 2008), but as he has done many times in the past, Pierce will explode for some monster games, in the 35-point range (a la game 5 of 2008, though let’s hope KG and Ray show up this time). I see that as the determining matchup, because our advantage at the 1 is offset by theirs at the 2, while the front lines will most likely even out over the series. I think it’s going to come down to the Captain, and after his fantastic series against Orlando, I like our chances.

  • Dr H

    So happy to see the Celtics in the finals!! Celtics in 5 would be my “very very optimistic, I believe in this team” prediction..Celtics in 6 would be my safe prediction.

    As for the Kobe/Fisher vs Rondo/Allen matchup: I assume it won’t be Kobe guarding Rondo the whole series, they’ll switch off. I also think LA will do what they did against OKC – Kobe will guard Rondo a lot more later in the series instead of from the start.

    If anyone gets the free time they should look up player vs player stats – I’ve seen someone else do it between Ron Artest and all the better players in the league(including Pierce)..strangely enough there wasn’t much of a difference between Pierce’s stats and Pierce’s stats against Artest. Kobe was the only player that had BETTER stats against Artest, Pierce was minimally worse(can’t even call it worse), LBJ was a bit worse..

    All I know is this rest will GREATLY benefit this team. I’m really can’t wait for this series. I’m confident this team can and will come in firing on all cylinders with the rest that they’ll have.

  • http://ESPN.com Bernal

    WOW….
    Granted, I’m a (and have been for 40 yrs) die-hard Laker fan, but I’m not the band-wagon-love-the Lakers-and-hate everybody-else-fan. I am a NBA fan and this is the best series we’ve had in a long time (even better than ’08 when the C’s took both regular series games).
    This is a very evenly matched series. Both teams played each other during the season injured and both teams are now playing (IMO) their best game. WOW.
    Their are a lot of variables that can sway this series:
    Kobe’s health- Finger is healed and his shot is back
    Artest vs Pierce-
    Bynum vs Garnett
    Refs: will they keep falling for Paul Pierce’s ” Oh, I got whiplash from going around a pick” stunt
    Bench vs Bench
    Sheed vs Odom

    Both teams have proven that they can withstand injuries (‘cept Kobe)
    Even though all of the games will be a challenge, I think that the home-court will prevail. The Lakers only have one more road trip the season (games 3-4-5) while thew C’s have two.
    Lakers in 5

  • Jay

    Some really biased analysis going on here, no surprise since it is a celtics blog and some serious wishful thinking (celtics in 5 is not going to happen).

    The 2010 celtics are weaker then the 2008 celtics
    - The loss of Powe and Posey will prove crippling in this series as they gave the C’s critical defense and scoring the last time around. This time around the celtics bench sucks about as much as the lakers, tony allen and Big Baby Davis make bad basketball decisions and almost luck into baskets. Rasheed Wallace will revert right back to his regular season form when on the floor and is good for costing the C’s a game with a bad technical foul in a critical spot. Celtics offensive production stagnates when Pierce/Rondo are not on the floor with Ray Allen being the only legitimate scoring option. Slight edge Boston (I think that odom/bynum will neutralize rasheed big baby on the bench, rest of lakers bench is bad however celtics bench is a shell of its former 08 championship self).

    - Paul Pierce’s production will be severely limited by Ron Artest, Paul is the one guy on the celtics who doesn’t always play team basketball and his desire to have an impact on the series will turn him into a volume shooter negatively affecting the celtics. If the games are close look for the truth to attempt to lead his team to victory with bad shots. (I like how the self-annointed best player in the world didn’t make the olympic team) edge: push (PP will score more but the shooting % will by low negatively impacting the C’s)

    - KG, terrific player and leader however he hasn’t looked right in the playoffs this year, his production is down and he is in danger of getting ejected if he can’t keep his cool and throws elbows again (replayed in slow motion HD for the league to look at in game 6 of the Orlando series), this matchup will be a slight edge to Gasol.

    - Ray Allen: Still a lights out shooter, will be defended by Fisher, I expect ray to average 14ppg against the Lakers, Ray is an older version of Ray 08, still automatic on open 3s but a step slower getting to the basket and on defense, edge celtics.

    - Rajon Rondo: Has improved considerably as a player and is no longer a complete offensive liability, however still hesitates to take open mid range and 3 point jump shots, and is suspect when he does take these shots. Additionally he has now had serious back issues in back to back games, coming out for back spasms in game 5 against the Magic and again on a bad fall in game 6. He will be guarded primarily by Kobe who will have success against Rondo (is slower then westbrook and has the same issues with shooting range). I expect Kobe to dominate this matchup. edge lakers.

    Kendrick Perkins: Complete offensive liability when he is out on the floor since he sprained his right hand. When he gets the ball he doesn’t even consider shooting the ball and even his attempts at putbacks look weak, he has been so bad that the lakers will not even have to commit a man to guard but can instead just rotate help over to him if the celtics decide to pass him the ball. Even worse he is playing with 6 technical fouls, I expect him to pick up at least one more tech and be suspended for 1+ games in this series. edge lakers (bynum, odom, gasol)

    In the end the homecourt advantage and increased physical toughness of lakers versus the 08 team (artest, bynum, gasol who bulked up 20 pounds) will be the difference in this series. The officiating in the first 2 games will favor the lakers as the home team, and Boston fans cannot expect to get Eastern Conference officiating (ex. significant contact on kobe or lakers bigs will be called). Additionally the celtics have shown that they are getting old in the legs, second half scoring has been a problem with lots of shots being missed short by KG and Pierce in the second half of games. C’s will be in a 2-0 hole after 2 games and will lose game 4 at home. Lakers close this out in 6.

    - Bottom-line in all sports getting older (past peak years) is not an advantage players on the C’s roster are slower, have less lift on their jumpshots and are getting injured easier. The big 3 as well as Rasheed all fall into this category.

  • http://ESPN.com Bernal

    Good and accurate assessment Jay.
    Although, there should be no surprise with the Celtic fans rooting with their heart and not the facts.
    I enjoyed the comment that somebody left about putting an asterisk by last years Laker championship ( hey..we showed up at least).
    No excuses this year even though we still only have half of a Bynum as compared to no Bynum in ’08.
    The Lakers will still prevail by talent and not by taking cheap shots ( Garnett, Pierce, etc).
    Look for Luke to play a significant defensive role (probably on Ray Allen).

  • rondo-is-love

    @ Bernal

    “Granted, I’m a (and have been for 40 yrs) die-hard Laker fan, but I’m not the band-wagon-love-the Lakers-and-hate everybody-else-fan. I am a NBA fan and this is the best series we’ve had in a long time (even better than ‘08 when the C’s took both regular series games).”

    Yet you predict the Lakers in 5. The best series we’ve had in a long time, better than when in 2008 when the series went to 6 games, but it’s somehow Lakers in 5?

  • J-Bad

    C’s win in 5 or 6 because of their balance, defense, 1 on 1 abilities, bench advantage, and guys steppin up. 2010 Champs: Celtics!

  • Jason

    Fact: The Cs just beat the best two teams in the league in 6 games. Fact: Fakers have not faced a credible defense to eke past the Thunder or Suns. So, facts (not heart) indicate the Cs can handle the Fakers pretty easily. Yes, Cs in 5.

  • Ersatz

    The Celtics ’08 bench was marginally better than the ’10 bench, if at all. Davis is capable of reproducing his and Powe’s offensive production–see game 2 vs. Miami, game 3. vs. Orlando–and is better defensively. Sheed is a much better post defender than PJ Brown and has probably the best post game of any player in the series; plus he’s been hitting his 3-pointers during the postseason. Despite the mythology that has grown up around Posey, he was totally unable to defend Kobe in 2008; it was embarrassing how bad he was. Tony Allen in 2010, however, can slow down Kobe, or even stop him (see Jan. 31). Posey was able to stretch the floor, but we’ve got Finley for that. Plus I like Tony’s running and driving ability, which is more disruptive to the Laker defense. So the other big difference is House, whose biggest asset was that Kobe couldn’t play off him. Well, the Celtics and Rondo have largely solved that problem.

    At this point, I actually think our current bench is better. Of course it a week or two I could be singing a different tune.

  • thugfromla

    can’t wait for this series to start!! it will be a fight of two great franchises in history… I’ll bet of bunch of you are still little kids and don’t remember the classic moments in the 60′s and 80′s yes Boston has come up on top most of the time but remember boston won a bulk (half if not more) of their 17 championships in the 60′s. The Lakers are always competing mostly every year… but back to this series I love the match-ups and I think both benches are equally the same. I think this series comes down to not Rondo but how much Kobe wants it… I don’t care what you boston fans say but kobe will dictate the tempo and he will pick boston apart anyway he wants to… and i also Love the way you boston fans like to call the Lakers Fakers that’s very creative honestly it is (NOT) come now you gotta bring more than that to table get under our skins out here in LA that’s if anything a joke to us out here it sounds like something you mom’s will tell you to say…lol LAKERS IN 6!!

    PS: Cptn Bubbles… We celebrate that way because we can… we are not affraid of the law out here the law is afraid of us… we run LA.

  • http://hoopstersworld.blogspot.com miss j.moxie

    Interesting. A Lakers fan bashing the creativity of Celtics fans. Because Lakers fans are so creative with their trash talk.

  • zebulon

    @Ersatz

    Our 08 bench: PJ Brown, Powe (damn I miss Powe), Eddie, and Posey.

    Our ’10 bench: Sheed, Baby, Tony Allen, Nate Robinson.

    Sheed is PJ with less footspeed on defense, but a more capable offensive player (all season long in the post, in the playoffs with his three point shot). Edge to Sheed, but barely.

    Baby is an undersized but fiesty PF, just like Powe. Baby is much better at playing off the ball (Setting screens and cutting for open layups), but doesn’t have Powe’s ability in the post. Both are incredible offensive rebounders (Oreb% around 16%… just incredible). Edge Baby because he fits into this team better (doesn’t need the ball to score).

    TA vs Posey: Both “Defensive specialists”, although TA is much better in that role. His footspeed is so much faster than Posey’s it’s almost incomparable. TA is our best defensive matchup with Kobe at this point, particularly if he stays disciplined and lures him into taking contested jumpers. TA doesn’t have the shot of Posey, but he gets out on the break better than anyone on our team not named Rondo, and gets easy baskets by cutting off the ball. Edge TA by a decent margin.

    Nate vs Eddie: Everyone loves eddie, because the dude was always fired up and could drain threes. But his defense was HORRIBLE. Nate, despite his defensive lapses, will always be a better defender than Eddie. Nate also has the ability to handle the ball and create shots, both of which Eddie lacked. Significant edge to Nate.

    Two other major factors: Rondo and Perk are both FAR better than they were in 08. Our crunch time lineup in 08 was House-Ray-Pierce-Posey-KG. This has two players playing out of position, and puts paul into a ball handling role the entire time. Our current crunch time lineup is our starting lineup, or possibly sheed for perk if we need more floor spacing.

    Paul and Ray have declined slightly, KG has lost his confidence on offense. Both statements true, but this downgrade is more than made up for by the improvements to Perk and Rondo (see the regular season efficiency numbers for this lineup… still great).

    We are a better team than 08. There is more confidence, and Paul no longer needs to be the hero every night. On the other hand, Kobe has not and will never get over his need to take bad shots.

  • thugfromla

    that’s it? that was the comeback miss j.moxie? that was weak you guys and ladies are no fun… lol

  • LakerHater13

    thugfromla….. Boston – 17 titles. LA – 11 titles. We win! You are right LA has stayed more competitive. 1999-2007 LA was much more competitive. Just remember. No team has beat the celtics in a playoff series with this starting 5 of boston healthy. Boston in 6 for banner 18. Remember your city only has 11 titles. I dont want to hear about the lakers with 16 titles. The city of LA has only 11 titles.

  • I love Green

    Lakers have 15 not 16

  • LakerHater13

    they won 1 with the nbl and im sure laker fans count that one too. bottom line only 11 in la. boston is the better team and the better city

  • strips

    when did the lakers get so gay? (talking bout the pic…)

    oh, and thugfromla, c’s in 5…

  • Mike

    It looks like it will be a good series. In 2008 the Lakers just kinda magically appeared in the Finals and weren’t really ready for the challenge. They are older and wiser now so I think the outcome will be different.

    For all of you predicting C’s in 5, I’m sorry, you are mistaken. LA is not Cleveland nor are they Orlando, you can’t expect a similar outcome here. Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher have the experience of 4 championship wins and 7 Finals appearences altogether. So let’s ease up on the disrespect.

    I think this series will ride on the first two games in LA. If the Lakers win both then it’s over, sorry Boston fans. If they split then we will see a classic series most likely. I look forward to it.

  • lakerland

    lakers are outmatched on the bench and in the 1,3,4 spots. but we got kobe and thats good enough for me.
    lakers have 15 and the celts have 17. franchises are franchises, lets not pull the city in, cause if you do, then LA has a shit load more of other stuff than boston does, don’t even try to compare cities man…don’t…

  • Jason

    “LA is not Cleveland nor are they Orlando”

    That’s right, LA is worse than both of them. Cleveland and Orlando were 1 and 2 in the league in point differential. The Celtics just manhandled both of them. So how again is Celtics in 5 so outrageous?

    Just make sure you send KG a thank you for getting hurt last year (Yao, too, actually) because otherwise you wouldn’t even have the 2009 paper championship to ignorantly enjoy. The Cs are clearly the best team in the league the last 3 years. The next two weeks will prove that once and for all.

  • Jason

    And for those thinking Odom will be the X factor, please. He woke up last playoffs, but who was guarding him. Rashard Lewis? Give me break. Cotton soft. As soon as Odom gets any resistance, he’ll go back to his whatever mindset. Jamison, shut down. Lewis, shut down. Odom? Please pin your hopes on Odom. Ha ha ha ha ha.

    Kobe has a killer instinct and Artest “let me brick a 3 instead of wind down the clock” has a killer instinct, but that’s usually a “go in the stands and kill people or give my coach and teammates a heart attack with my stupid play” instinct. Not quite the right killer instinct. And everyone else will fold.

    The Cavs freaking quit they were beaten so bad. Game 3 of the Magic series, same thing. That’s what this championship team does to other teams. Rips out their hearts. Makes them wilt and quit. You think Odom has what it takes to resist that? Artest is certainly a model of mental fortitude. Gasol and Bynum? Hardly. Fisher’s got the cajones, but not the talent to do anything against this team.

    Cs in 5.

  • lakerland

    @jason: Gasol and bynum will both have to fortitude to go deep into the series as they still remember 2008 well.

    fishers a vet who has been to 7 NBA finals and he has dug the lakers out of plenty of holes in the past and even in the playoffs this year. btw he did score 22 points just a few days ago.

    odom is the x factor for the lakers,but not for the series. the x factor will be whoever is guarding rondo, who you guys live and die by these days.

  • LakerHater13

    Lakerland. If your proud of your lakers 5 championships from the other side of the country good for you. As for the city of LA. you have 17 sports titles all together. Just the celtics have as many in boston. So…a shit load more stuff? Yeah ok i mean if you talk outside of sports yeah you will kick our ass. If your talking sports which we are you just cannot compare out there in LA.

  • Lakeshowrealityshow

    It’s obvious the records of Cleveland and Orlando are EXTREMELY MISLEADING. To prove that 100% — they both LOST to a team with an inferior record (C’s) SO the “the Celtics just beat the teams with the two best records” is a MUTE POINT…Records don’t determine ANYTHING…Habits do. The Celtics have egregious losses — Close out game 4 against Miami on the road…The 29 pt beatdown at home after winning game 2 in Cle…A close out game 4 against a mentally weak Orlando club… HABITS DON’T LIE…4th quarter offensive effeciency is atrocious, offensive rebouding is hella suspect, and KG is MISSING…So u tell me — does it say more about the Celtics being ” a team of will and heart” as much as it says the “East is a WEAK conference with inferior, mentally weak teams?!!!” The Lakers have closed out 3 consecutive series on the road — The Heart Of a CHAMPION…The only prediction I have is — The Lakers WILL WIN the series!

  • Ray Leighton

    Ah let the trash talking begin…. so first at Jay and Bernal, I am always amused when I point out the stats and then someone expresses pure opinions and somehow they are right. No doubt you vote Republican and still think that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. So here are some facts for you:

    We have seven guys to your five with positive production differentials. And I am being generous by not adding Finley because his sample size is too small.

    Our best lineup has a Hollinger winning % of 66 to your best lineup at 62.

    Those numbers don’t look very good for the Lakers, given that those two stats take into account pretty much everything.

    TA this year has had far, far better defensive numbers than Posey ever had. The idea that your bench is anywhere near as good as our bench is ridiculous. And truthfully, the issue is not so much that our bench is great, it’s that your bench is awful. Go read some Vince Thomas — he’s been rooting for the Lakers a lot longer than most of you have, and he thinks that the Lakers have an awful bench. Better yet, actually go look at some numbers and see how your bench compares to the rest of the league.

    As for Boston vs. LA, I lived in San Diego for six years and had the misfortune of having to travel to LA on a regular basis. I was disturbed that so many stereotypes about LA were true. Most of you are probably waiters who think that you are actors or screenwriters. Truman Capote was right, you guys lose 2 IQ points for every year you live there. Everyone thinks that Hollywood sucks because they can’t come up with anything new, but the rest of the country doesn’t realize that’s because you guys have no memory and the attention span of gerbils. I’ve met Laker fans who didn’t know who Elgin Baylor was. I’ve met people in LA who saw Helter Skelter and didn’t realize that Charles Manson was real; they thought it was a great plot and couldn’t wait for a sequel. I once read a letter to a movie website in LA where someone complained that a movie review of Titanic gave away that the ship sank. I’m not making this stuff up.

    You guys have nothing, no culture (surfing is not a culture), no creativity. I’ve traveled all over the country and LA is one of the worst places that I can think of. All you have is smog and traffic jams and condos too close together that nobody can afford. You can’t even get a decent cup of coffee in LA because the dope behind the counter cannot remember what you ordered.

    And what’s really bad is that you guys are actually short-sighted enough to worship Kobe Bryant, the guy who singlehandedly cost you guys multiple championships by driving out Shaq and Phil Jackson, all because he was too much of a crybaby about not getting the ball enough and having to play second to Shaq. Yeah, so you won one last year, but you guys would have had a dynasty early in the decade if Kobe wasn’t such an insufferable prick (and if he hadn’t personally sucked so badly for three games in a row against Detroit — and still kept hogging the ball). Great team player you’ve got there.

    What I find most amusing is that it’s the Lakers’ fans who keep bringing up 2008. You keep mistakenly assuming that we Celtics’ fans are saying that we will win because of 2008. 2008 has nothing to do with it, and we aren’t the ones who keep bringing it up. Something about 2008 must really bother you guys…

    Oh, one other item — I’m going to repeat myself yet again (sorry Celtics’ fans) but since Laker fans keep saying it (there’s that short-term-memory problem again), I just want to point out that you Laker fans have this bizarre idea that Artest covering Pierce somehow makes a difference to the final outcome. Yeah, Ron Artest is a really good defender. Yeah, Paul probably won’t score as many points as he did against Orlando. But Ron Artest is not as good a defender, and he is certainly not as good an offensive player, as Lebron James. Paul didn’t have a very good series offensively against Cleveland, in part because he was spending a lot of energy covering Lebron, and partly because Lebron is a great defender. And you know what? It didn’t matter. We still won in six. That’s because, unlike some teams, we don’t need to rely on one guy to score 30 for us every game. If Paul isn’t the star for us, someone else will be. And when the time comes, it won’t be Paul trying to singlehandedly save the game, it will be Kobe shooting and missing again and again and again over a wall of green.

    But I know that you won’t be coming back here when the Lakers get their asses handed to them, so enjoy your little hatefest now while you can. Although actually, you probably will come back here to whine about the officiating…

    Btw, to all the Orlando and Cleveland fans out there, I just wanted to let you guys know that I appreciated you; you guys were a class act.

  • thugfromla

    @Ray Leighton Look here buddy… this is about a basketball series but now you’ve made it personal obviously when you talk about them stupid people from LA I’m sure you’re talking about them rich people that live in the hills that have no Idea what goes on on their world other then their money…yeah those people exist here it’s obvious that you never been to the real side of LA where the real shit goes down… and you just said it all when you pointed out that you lived in san diego where all you pricks are a bunch of scum… you guys cant handle the real LA life that’s why you live in boston and don’t come at me with “Boston is a better city” REALLY?!!! what is there to do out there? run in the woods naked? come on now you didn’t even believe it your damn self when that came out of you mouth… LA is the place to be and all you know it… Boston is a great city to retire! and it’s easy to talk all this trash when you’re in the other side of the country I’m in Tewksbury, MA. all the time and I talk smack about boston sports all the time and I find it funny that face to face I never meet a boston fan that will talk trash unless it’s on a forum like this…

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