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Finals Predictions

 

I’ll track the many, many Finals predictions here. When you notice one we don’t have, leave it someplace in the comments. Here are the much talked-about (by people who get fired up over these sorts of things) ESPN predictions:

So the number of ESPN experts picking Boston has jumped from zero against the Cavs to two against Orlando and now to four against the Lakers. 

As we/you all see more predictions, I’ll add them here.

  • DeVelaine

    I picked three, and then J. A. Adande decided to reverse course on his predictions. The slacker.

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

    Adande picking the C’s? Must be a reverse jinx or something.

  • Ira

    I will be picking the Fakers and saying I can’t envision a scenario in which the Celtics can possibly beat them.

    That should conteract JA Adante’s blatant attempt to influence the outcome by picking against the team that he treats like Bobby Moore treated Jordan.

  • Zain

    For the record, when those ESPN predictions went up last night:

    Hollinger had CELTICS in 7, and since changed his mind.

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

    John Schuhmann has Boston in 7. http://www.nba.com/2010/news/05/29/finals_preview/index.html?ls=iref:nbahpt1

    @Ira – Thanks for countering Adande’s reverse jinx.

    Thank you John Hollinger for changing your mind.

  • Jay P

    Celtics in 7, but 5 or 6 aren’t out of the realm of possibility.

    I fully expect Boston to split in LA. I honestly believe this team is better on the road that at home, believe it or not.

    Younger teams need their fans to psyche them up, that’s why they play better at home. These guys are veteran savy, if anything the road psyches them up more because they get off on silencing the crowd. So after the split, anything is possible, and it’s conceivable for them to sweep the home games and end it in 5. But I expect LA to put together at least one win, and force Boston to close it out on the road (which they will.)

    Here’s my prediction, game by game:

    Game 1: Boston
    Game 2: LA
    Game 3: Boston
    Game 4: Boston
    Game 5: LA
    Game 6: LA
    Game 7: Boston

  • pilgrimtraveller

    can someone here help me? i can’t see how the lakers can win. no disrespect intended, but i don’t see how they are better than they were in ’08, or even that they are as good as they were then. fisher can hit a shot if he’s left open, but otherwise he doesn’t do much. their bench is even shorter than it was, with only one productive player—and even odom can’t be said to be reliable. bynum will likely contribute as little as he did then when he didn’t even play. artest may slow pierce, but, last night’s game notwithstanding, he doesn’t seem likely to outscore pierce, no matter what score he holds pierce to. gasol may be tougher than he was in ’08, but garnett has been slowing everyone else he’s guarded in the playoffs, so he should slow gasol. kobe is still kobe, the first or second best player on the planet; but one transcendently great player does not a team make. the only major player on either team who is markedly better than in ’08 is rondo, who could well end up as series mvp. of course, a laker fan would argue that pierce, allen, and garnett aren’t what they were, and that’s more or less true, but the big three, as long as they are healthy, haven’t declined much. people keep forgetting that perkins was struggling with injuries then (his shoulder); he seems healthy now. position by position, they have an advantage at one (bryant>allen); a push, it seems to me, at one (gasol=garnett); while the other match-ups (pierce>artest; rondo>>>fisher; perkins>a hobbled bynum; our bench>their bench). we can play shut-down defense. how can the series possibly go 7 games?

  • LakerHater13

    One thing I want to be well known is we are going after banner 18 as the BOSTON CELTICS!!! The Lakers are a joke saying they are going after number 17. They are going after number 11. They won 6 titles in Minneapolis. The last title won in Minneapolis was 1954. They moved to LA in 1959. They didnt win a title in LA until 1972. So basically if the thunder win a title in a couple years they will have 2 titles because when they were in seatle they won 1 in 1979. I hope you LA fans are proud of your 11 titles. We have won all 17 titles in one city.

  • dslack

    @pilgrimtraveller
    It looks like you basically made the argument yourself for how the Lakers are better than in 2008, right after saying that you don’t see how they are. Here’s my take:

    * Bynum, although injured, is playing (and playing well in limited minutes). He was not playing at all in 2008

    * Artest will defend Pierce instead of Ariza/Kobe/Luke. Pierce is exactly the kind of guy Artest was built to stop. Artest can’t keep up with quicker players anymore, so he’d be useless against a LeBron or a Wade, but Pierce’s game isn’t based on quickness. Pierce uses his strength to great advantage against most players, but won’t be able to against Artest. Artest held Durant to 35% shooting in the first round and I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar numbers from Pierce now. I just hope if he’s shooting horribly that he has the good sense to turn himself into more of a decoy instead of shooting 7-24 like Durant did. Since Pierce never puts up 24 shots anymore, I think I’m safe in this hope.

    * Gasol is better than he was in 2008. He’s arguably the best post player in the NBA now.

    * I haven’t looked up stats on this, but I feel like the Lakers are a better defensive team than they were in 2008. Also, Rondo has difficulty driving against huge front lines. The Bynum/Gasol combo might make his trips to the hoop a bit tougher.

    * Finally, look at the Celtics’ health. KG seems like something’s wrong with him on offense. Rondo seems increasingly beat up by these playoffs. Davis was just concussed, though seemed to play well anyway last game.

  • Sam

    Abbot’s been a pretty stubborn Celtic skeptic. Hopefully his sour forecasts will continue to be inaccurate.

  • DeVelaine

    @pilgrim: Simple… Even though LA Fans are usually late getting to the game, they are one of the best crowds for firing up the home team. So winning more than two in LA is probably going to be way too hard to figure. We’ll need a backbreaking game like Game 4 in ’08 to be able to do them in at home.

    Here’s the thing I’ve been looking at though: both regular season games were decided in the final seconds by a single point. Both of those games came after Doc decided it was best for the team if everyone played for health, and they just went on cruise control. Laker fans only see the results of the games, and are quick to remind us that Kobe didn’t play the second one. Fine… But did we have a full roster that game as well? We certainly didn’t have a healthy Pierce out there, we know that for a fact. If we go back to Jan 31 though… Kobe and the Lake Show won a game by a single point, scored on a contested shot, against a team that was hurting and playing for health and not seeding. The fact that it was only a single point is ignored; the win tells these people that they have every right to expect the C’s to roll over and die in the Finals.

    So I repeat… “LA’s going to get socked in the jaw. On their floor. On National TV.” Taking Game 1 (and “home court,” such that it is) isn’t a pipe dream, it’s the first goal.

  • Paolo

    @dslack

    *Part of me believes that Pau Gasol is indeed the best post player in the NBA but game 6 against the Suns had me raising doubts about him again. Right when the Suns were most physical, his production sort of shrinked. Sure he might be great offensively, but he hasn’t really seen much of a defense thrown at him either.

    *It is indeed harder for Rondo to drive into big frontlines, but you have to account that he is fearless going to the hoop. Bynum and Gasol might have the length, but they are not as defensively focused as Dwight Howard. And even Rondo got into the lane against Dwight Howard.

    *I have to agree with you on the Pierce matchup. But who’s going to defend Allen and Rondo? Which is which?

    *KG had a hard time against Dwight, I’m sure of that. As for the injuries, they’re bound to get better in this layoff until game 1. Hopefully, injuries from both teams will have ample time to heal.

  • Jrmz

    I love it when Hollinger picks against us. We always win when he does.

  • Jay P

    @Paolo

    They have no one that can defend Rondo, other than Bryant. Which opens up a whole new can of worms. And Rondo, who was limited against Orlando because of Dwight Howard’s presence, should have his way with this series. There is no defensive presence in LA anywhere near Howard, not even in the same zip code.

    Artest will be a tougher match up for Pierce than what he faced in Orlando, but nowhere near like going against Lebron James, so advantage Boston still there.

    Gasol/KG will be interesting, and this will be the best test of KG yet. He did well against Lewis, but Lewis did not have the ability to post him up. Having to defend a guy who can shoot, and post up as well as any other out there will put him to the rest. At the other end though, Gasol is soft defensively, he can’t touch KG. I call the match up a wash.

    Kobe, is Kobe. He’ll get his points, but as we proved in guarding Wade/James, we have a lot of options to limit wing players. Hopefully TA is healthy, we’ll need him.

    Bench play, clear advantage Boston, assuming Davis/Wallace are healthy. And you will see Nate this series, he’s proven he’s earned that chance. And adding another shooter to that second unit (as well as getting Rondo some rest) is going to do wonders for this team.

    I’m obviously biased, but I look at the matchups across the board, and don’t see a single one (other than Kobe, obviously) which is a clear advantage for LA. Boston just has more weapons, and more options, offensively and defensively.

  • Mang

    Lol @Jay P, “they get off on silencing the crowd”. Sounds creepy in a KG talking to himself kinda way haha

  • Korey

    One of the thing’s NOT mentioned is that Pierce wont be going up against Vladimir Radmanovic or Luke Walton.

    He’ll be going against Ron Artest every night.

    So your Finals MVP wont be putting on that same performance again.

    Also note, it’s not Perkins v. Gasol and KG v. Odom.

    It’s Perkins v. Bynum and KG v. Gasol.

    Again, HUGE Difference.

    The big change for you is Rondo being better.

    So think this is the same as 2008 all you want Celtics fans.

    You have some Laker *hot sauce* coming for you…

  • Mang

    Here are the two foremost reasons why the Celtics are destined to win this series. Yes, “destined.”

    Reason #1. Individuals wins games but teams win championships. It’s cliche, it’s boring, heck it’s even written on the wall at Celtics HQ. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true. This team has been together for a long time. As mentioned countless times before, this is the same starting lineup as when they won the title in 2008. Now, not only do we have a stronger bench but we also have Rajon Rondo coming of age. And despite the bumps throughout the regular reason, this team still trusts each other and has the belief engrained in them that, as a team, they will win. It was hard to see this through the smokescreen during the regular season. However, it’s now clear from their run through the postseason that they have the talent and the determination to literally will themselves to victory.

    Reason #2. Defence wins championships. Plain and simple, the Celtics are the superior defensive team in this matchup. This is where the game of basketball becomes beautiful. No matter how much one team scores, the other team will win if they score more. The solution, then, is not to score even more, because the other team will win if they score more. Focusing on offence and scoring essentially means a team will be gambling on whether they win. Sure, a great offensive team will have a higher chance of winning when compared to a poor offensive team. But in the end they are still putting it down to chance because they are not taking into account how well their opponent will shoot (think FG%). The beauty of basketball is that there is a way to win without handing over the game to chance, if only you can achieve it. That is to play spirited defence, with 100% effort for 100% of the time. It also doesn’t hurt to have a genius defensive system a la Thibodeau. The Celtics have shown that they can do this, as evidenced by their dominant wins (where they have held a large lead throughout the game) in a handful of games over the Heat, Cavs and Magic. The Lakers on the other hand, although no slouch on defence, will ultimately rely on Kobe’s transcendency at crunch time. Phil Jackson is a Hall of Fame coach but he’ll have a hard time motivating his team to play defence when their team has an offensive “ace” in Kobe Bryant. So yea, they’ll win a couple of games, maybe three, but the series will go to the better team. And if you’ve already forgotten, please see Reason #1 above.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    @Zach Can you do a break down on how the ‘experts’ picked the other rounds the C’s were in? I think most of the ‘experts’ picked against the Cs for 3 series thus far. Is there no learning from past mistakes? To be fair, I don’t think Legs originally picked the Cs to reach the finals until he saw them playing well in the playoffs. I distinctly remember the other ‘experts’ scoffing at Legs & acting like he was crazy in 08 (on espn, mashburn, rose, etc). They were all saying the lakers offense was just way too powerful for the Cs—it was going to be a short series blah blah blah. Legs was the lone voice I remember talking about how he really liked the Cs defense. He picked the Cs to win while everyone else had the lakers. It was really funny how they all SLOWLY started to jump ship as that series went on.

  • Korey

    This series is ALL ABOUT Rondo.

    I’m a Laker fan. I’ll give Rondo his props.

    He is a A-HOLE. But so is Kobe.

    If Rondo can impose his will more than Kobe can impose his, Celtics will win.

    All other matchups are a wash.

    Celtics dont have James Posey (which I will say is a hacker before/after plays but was effective), you have Tony Allen. You saw what Kobe did to Grant Hill, JRich, and Dudley. You could try Pierce on Kobe but that sacrifices his offense just like it did vs. LBJ.

    Similarly, we cant really guard Rondo. Fisher, Farmar, Vujacic are no match. But Kobe is. And the BIG question is will Rondo be effective on the road and in the 4th quarter like he is Q1-3. Will he still take that jumper because really he’ll be wide open for it.

    So that’s what I’m watching this series.

    Kobe v. Rondo.

    Those are the 2 unguardable players this series.

  • http://www.hotmail.com Josh

    Hahaha wow Hollinger, you truly amaze me. You should really just quit. I could take your job and continue to make the shitty rankings and predictions you make.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Hollinger said there was “no plausible reason” to pick the Cs over the magicians. So now is he using reason or plausibility to pick the lakers?

  • Ersatz

    @Korey, I’m mostly in agreement with your post, but please put away this argument that Posey could guard Kobe. He couldn’t; Kobe abused him. Tony, on the other hand, at this point might be our best defensive option on Kobe. Though I have a feeling Pierce will guard Kobe at some key point in this series.

  • Mike

    @Korey, The C’s will put Pierce on Kobe again and slow him down; he’ll still get his but not much else. If the Lakers put Kobe on Rondo then Pierce and/or Ray Allen will torch them. The big move the Lakers made was Artest who poses problems for the C’s on defence; who guards him? R. Allen? And does Artest guard R Allen?

    Yes, the players have more heart, soul and talent then the Lakers but the Lakers have a size advantage. The real difference might come down to the superior coaching on the the Celtics. The Zen master has met his match. Doc is brilliant and his assistant coach is a defensive genuis.

    Doc and Ainge remember the 1980′s and how the C’s rode Bird and the rest of the front court into the ground. No one in the history of the league has managed his assets more wisely. Doc could only sacrifice the beauty contest (regular season game win-loss %) if he had the backing from an understanding Ainge.

    C’s in 5-6

  • Korey

    Ersatz,
    I in know way said that Posey could guard Kobe.

    He was effective because he was allowed to hack like no other, grab, and most importantly he had KG and Perkins behind them not worried about Gasol/Odom. It was 1 on 3/4 every play.

    So in that sense, posey was effective.

    But, Tony Allen …ha! …he’s not even big enough or savvy enough to hack Kobe and not get called for it.

  • Korey

    @Mike…

    I said Pierce could guard Kobe but I dont think he could be effective for long stretches. He’s bigger than Kobe but that’s it.

    left 1-on-1, he’ll get torched. But if he plays tight and the whole Celts D is loaded up then he can defend and get more credit then he really deserves like 2008.

    So it’s up to the Lakers to not continously go into Kobe iso mode and play 1-v.-3/4. If Kobe can lineup Pierce w/a minimal support of help defense then you’ll see Pierce get lit.

    Besides, i think Ray Allen takes the crunch time duties anyway cuz the Cs need Pierce’s scoring.

  • http://happyrain.org/ Emily

    @Korey, The C’s will put Pierce on Kobe again and slow him down; he’ll still get his but not much else. If the Lakers put Kobe on Rondo then Pierce and/or Ray Allen will torch them. The big move the Lakers made was Artest who poses problems for the C’s on defence; who guards him? R. Allen? And does Artest guard R Allen?

    Yes, the players have more heart, soul and talent then the Lakers but the Lakers have a size advantage. The real difference might come down to the superior coaching on the the Celtics. The Zen master has met his match. Doc is brilliant and his assistant coach is a defensive genuis.

    Doc and Ainge remember the 1980′s and how the C’s rode Bird and the rest of the front court into the ground. No one in the history of the league has managed his assets more wisely. Doc could only sacrifice the beauty contest (regular season game win-loss %) if he had the backing from an understanding Ainge.

    C’s in 5-6

  • Jorge Meléndez

    If the Celtics split in LA, winning the series in 5 is a possibility, specially if they win Game 1. Now, it is vital for the Celtics to split in LA, then take 2 of 3 at home and win in 6, which is my prediction.

  • Urbeltic

    I agree with Korey….this is all about Rondo. He is going to penetrate whenever and wherever he wants. Also, despite the fact that the Lakes are big, they aren’t as good defensively as a single DHoward. I like our odds on this one a lot.

    One wild card is that the Lakes were exposed as a bunch of puseys in 2008. They have a lot to prove, and I think there could be a lot of flagrants…especially from a guy like Bynum. That makes me nervous, because between KPs tech problem and the physical condition of the Cs, thy aren’t in good shape to get nasty back.

  • Korey

    Urbeltic,
    Rondo is going to penetrate, but the question is will he finish?

    And the most pressing question is if/when Kobe guards him in the 4th will he be tentative? Will he take the open jumper?

    I dont see him penetrating and finishing over Kobe and helping big consistently.

    If he can , props.

    It’s either Rondo finals MVP or Kobe finals MVP and as a biased Laker fan I dont trust Rondo when the game gets close.

    I worry more about Allen making crazy contested 3s more than Rondo.

  • Korey

    I’ll also add the Lamar Odom factor.

    If Odom gets the better of Wallace and Big Baby consistently then you can call this series in favor of the Lakers.

  • lakerland

    these are the matchups i see on lakers defense

    kobe-rondo
    fish-allen
    artest-pierce
    LO/gasol-KG
    gasol/bynum-KP

    i put gasol in 2 spots because while he does start at 4, bynum usually exits the game early on and he starts playing at the 5.

    and i hope kobe is going to respect rondos game alot more than he did in 2008. otherwise there might be riots in the streets of LA

  • Urbeltic

    Rondo doesn’t need to ‘finish’ by scoring two. The moment he penetrates the D breaks down and he’ll hand the ball off to the bigs. This is what happened time and time again.

    Also, if LaLa puts fisher on Allen…i’d LOVE it. Fish’s big body can’t get through the picks.

    And I love the Kobe v rondo matchup too…rondo has figured out the sag d, and if you watched him in the playoffs (see Cleveland as example one) you would know that.

  • Korey

    Urbeltic,
    there is a difference between sag d and playing off a bit.

    Kobe’s guarded westbrook this playoffs so I think he can handle it.

    The BIG thing you arent noticing is that the sag D with a small defender doesnt work. But the sag D with a bigger defender is effective. Thats why Rondo couldnt do jack vs LBJ (yea, I did watch that series).

    And the biggest thing about the sag D is the 4th quarter. He’ll be left open for jumpers and when he drives Kobe will be off enough to cut him off and run him right into another Laker Big.

    So yea, the sag defense from Kobe is 100x different then sag defense from jameer nelson or mo williams.

    Might want to think about that.

  • Jay P

    @Korey

    Dude, did you watch TA guard Lebron? Don’t tell me Kobe is going to be anymore effective.

    And you’re wrong, we did say Pierce wont be as effective as 2008, Artest is undoubtedly a much more difficult match up, no question about it. But Artest can’t push Pierce on the offensive end either, so Pierce will have his energy. And he’s certainly not a better defender than LBJ was, so Pierce has been through this already.

    Kobe is an amazing player, but as a shooter alone, he’s not more effective and Nelson is. So if you want to make an argument that we need to be more worried about Kobe if they play the sad D than Nelson, you’re crazy, and obviously biased by your golden boy.

    Bynum is limited by the injury, and if you’re banking on Lamar Odom to be a difference maker, you’re in for a long series.

    Gasol/KG is a wash, as has been mentioned a few times, I’ll give ya that one.

    That being said, you’re right, a HUGE part of this series will be in Rondo’s ability to control the game and dictate play and pace, there’s no question about that part.

  • Korey

    Wait a second Jay P…

    Are you suggesting Tony Allen had anything to do with stopping LeBron?

    Are you suggesting Tony Allen can do anything about what Kobe is doing?

    Listen to what you are saying. The only thing that bothers Kobe is physicality and Tony Allen doesnt have that. sorry. Pierce and Posey have/had that.

    Kobe’s no more effective than Nelson? Wow man. Listen to yourself!

    I’m not here to be a homer. Just honest basketball discussion and arguments. Let’s not talk crazy.

    Rondo is the ISH. I admit that. I’m not going to start comparing him to weak players (Nelson?!) and saying he cant do a bunch of stuff that’s untrue.

    Fact is having Bynum and Artest is a huge difference than not having them at all in 2008. Bynum is at least 5 fouls that Gasol/Odom dont have to take for one.

    And when/if Rondo does get going , watchout for the Lakers to play big with Kobe at PG, Artest at 2, Odom, Gasol, Bynum.

    That way, Rondo has to play D and get beat down on the block.

    Rondo is good. Dang good. But this is chess not checkers. 2008, Celtics had better team across the board. 2010, the squads are even. Now, we’ll see whats up.

  • Blackberry33
  • ondioline

    Hey Korey:

    In that big lineup, who defends Ray Allen?

    I see a lot of threes in the Celtics’ future if the Lakers go ultra-big for very long.

  • LakerHater13

    Celtics in 6. No team has beat Boston in the playoffs with the current starting 5 when healthy. I dont see the lakers doing that this year. Lebron Kobe and Howard. They are the best 3 players in the game. The Celtics have the best team. They believe in each other and dont care about the individual stuff. If Pierce is a non-factor we can still win. (see cavs series) Kobe is a non-factor and its an ugly loss for La.

  • Korey

    ondioline,
    good point man…i have no idea…

    hard to go big w/ray allen on the floor, but if he’s shooting cold, in foul trouble, or just plain off the floor its a viable option.

    Then again, if Ray Allen gets in one of those crazy shooting zones its not like any defense will be effective anyway.

  • Jay P

    @Korey

    Yes, I am absolutely saying Tony Allen had a lot to do with limiting Lebron James.

    And I am listening to what I’m saying, unless you can tell me you watched the entire Cleveland series and have some great insight into Lebron’s struggles, other than the fact that a number of different Celtics (TA, Paul, Ray) played him extremely tough. Something they also did to Dwade, and will do to Kobe as well.

    Don’t misread what I said about Kobe, I said as a pure shooter only. Since you’re entire argument was that if players sag under, Kobe will be open for shots. In those cases, my point was, if all we’re worried about them stepping back and shooting, well I’d take Nelson in a shooting competition any day.

    I also don’t think Kobe’s foot speed is that far above anyone else they’ve seen and had to deal with in that pick and roll. It worked to stop Dwade, and they were able to cut off his lanes. It worked against Lebron, why wont it work again?

    And if Kobe wants to step back and pull up all day, fine. If he hits him, we’ll have to tip our hat, but I’ll take him spotting up mid-range Js all day, I like our chances if that’s the player he becomes.

    I hope they do go big. Artest doesn’t have the foot speed to chase Ray-Ray around picks all day, Jesus Shuttleworth will rain 3s on that line-up. Ya they can get the ability to post Rondo up sure, but if you think that line up wont get tired, you got another thing coming. Lakers go that big, Rondo is going to run every possession, good luck keeping up.

  • pilgrimtraveller

    hey korey, thanks for showing up and making a respectful case for the lakers. i don’t think anyone on the celtics can stop kobe; we can only hope to slow him down. i’m assuming he averages 30 or more points per game. and i realize that gasol is now more of a threat than he was in ’08, so i assume he will amass healthy point totals. but where’s the rest of the scoring coming from? a hobbled bynum will not trouble perkins, the best defensive center in the game. so maybe the lakers give starters minutes to both odom and gasol, two players who can play inside and outside, unlike bynum, and that would challenge the celtics’ defense. but if odom is essentially a starter, then the lakers have no bench at all. and even when their starters are in, on offense they will be essentially playing three on five, since neither artest, nor fisher can be counted on for significant scoring (yes, i know what artest scored last night, but you & i both know that’s unlikely to happen again). yes, artest can slow pierce, but the celtics don’t depend on pierce’s scoring. all five celtics starters could go off for 25 on any given night; slow pierce, and someone else will pick up the slack. in the end, it comes down to defense and rebounding. the lakers may out-rebound the celtics, but i can’t see them winning the defensive battle. they had their difficulties defending in two of their three playoff rounds. they haven’t faced a defensive squad like the celtics yet. i say—assuming no injury surprises—celtics in six.

  • Jeff

    I watched as much NBA coverage as possible tonight. I heard some black guy predict the lakers in 7 on comcast sports net. and on NBAtv I heard 2 pick the celtics and 1 take the lakers.

    Personally I think that the Celtics will be able to pull it out in either 6 or 7. They are a very good road team and they have yet to play in a game in which they have faced elimination while beating 3 good teams (2 great teams, 3 Superstars)

    Now that Rondo is one of the top 5 PG in the league (Modest)
    1.)Nash
    2.)Paul
    3.)Williams
    4.)Rose
    5.)Rondo
    Personally I put Rondo at 4, maybe even 3 because of his performance this playoffs. Derek Fisher barely makes top 15, other than that the matchups are very similar to ’08 and we all saw what happened then. I know KG is not as good as he was 2 years ago, and Pau is better than he was then; but Ray still has his shot like always, Perk is better, and our bench is ready and willing (Baby, Sheed, TA, and did I mention NATE?!) This is going to be a great series no matter what because of the history. I think the Celtics will be able to teal one in LA but they need to make sure they don’t fold at home like they have done so much (CLE G3, ORL G4) I will even give LA a game in BOS but the Celtics will probably close this thing out in 6, they are the better team and I think they are hungrier this year.

    Celtics in 6

  • Greg

    The series line is currently Celtics +165/ Lakers -185. Provided this is an efficient line, that makes the Lakers somewhere between a 62-65% favorite to win the series.

  • Hillcrestwildcat

    @ Korey cosigning what Pilgrim said I appreciate you coming on here and talking basketball and your holding your own well.

    My thoughts about what has been said is Tony Allen has been much improved and is pesky in fact he’s been a pest to Kobe before, but NOBODY individually is gonna harm Kobe’s game much especially at the high individual level he’s been playing. But that’s the key Kobe got stopped as a team in 08 and it will be the same this time. If Kobe is scoring the way he did against the Phoenix Suns in this series that means the Lakers are losing games.

    What I’ve seen in this playoffs is a magnificent team effort by the Celtics and the Lakers piling on top of Kobe’s individual greatness enough to steamroll their incomplete Western competition. Against the Celtics defense that is an entirely different beast. D-Wade (who I think is the second best player in the league not Lebron) Lebron, even Dwight Howard were all able to have monster games against the celtics but they with their various supporting casts could not beat them 4 times out of 7.

    Kobe is part of a better system has a better supporting cast and coaching than everyone the Celtics have encountered thus far and is a better player, but just like those players he has to show up and be great sometimes better than that for them to beat the Celtics and they have to find a way to allow him to be great but add enough to get them over the hump, that is a tall task.

    The X-factor in this series outside of who guards Rondo/Ray is Lamar Odom. If he doesn’t show up, the Lakers bench is irrelevant in the stretches when Kobe is not on the floor and makes the Celtics advantage huge. How much he shows up and how much Sheed is able to neutralize him if he does or does not come to play is what I think this series turns on.

    My official pick is Celtics in 6 again (especially if they win game 1) but if its game 2 (because I think they get at least 1 in LA) possibly 7 instead.

  • Korey

    @pilgrim/hillcrest…

    One thing the Lakers (and Lakers fans) learned in ’08 is that to try to figure out “whose going to score” is a fruitless exercise. I had this EXACT same argument in ’08 and was humbled a bit.

    The team that defends better will win. On reputation, you’ll say that means the Cs will win, but check the #s and the matchups. Its not cut/dry. I mean both games this season were 90 points or under for the victor.

    The Celtics are known to go on long scoring droughts. The reason they beat LA in ’08 was that Pierce kept you guys out of droughts (not to mention our inability to do anything on D with anybody else either).

    I can easily make a case to show how the Lakers will get 90-95 pts (Kobe 30, Pau 15-20, Odom 10-15, Fisher 7-10, Artest 7-10, Farmar, Brown, Bynum 10-20), but really this is going to fluctuate game to game , home/road. I did notice you called out Fish/Artest. Check Fish’s box scores and you’ll see he has come alive in the playoffs like he always does. Dont leave him open.
    Artest is crazy. But two games a series he actually hits shots.

    All that said, What really matters is what matchup is going to be the one that makes the defense flinch enough so that the other team can get going and build that cushion of a lead.

    I dont see Pierce being *that* matchup for you. He’ll be busy collecting Ts with Artest and battling it out. If PP gets him in foul trouble, we in trouble, but hey, thats for every matchup.

    I can see Rondo getting loose in transition (and a little off of P/R if Kobe is not playing him) and I can see Allen getting hot. If/when either of those happen, Lakers are compromised and scrambling.

    On the flip side, Kobe will get hot at some point. So you are going to have to double there or overplay. The Celtics will swarm we know that. So can Gasol be effective v. KG? Eeehh. Probably intermittently. Can Odom v. Rasheed and Big Baby. Baby is just too small vertically. Rasheed ,well, you’ve seen him all year C’s fans so you know.

    But what I’m saying overall is both teams D will be on point so I’m more trying to analyze where the leaks will come from.

    Rondo can cause leaks. Ray Allen can cause leaks from overhelping but really he is a catch/shoot guy still.

    Lastly, you can expect random player X to come up big at home. Nate Robinson, Tony Allen, Big Baby in Boston. Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Shannon Brown in LA. Leon Powe in 08.

    I believe the Lakers can and will win this series but I’m biased. Just like you Cs fans are about your team. I cant tell you how much every Laker fan has been cursing family members and friends alike since ’08. it’s really THAT serious.

  • Korey

    @hillcrest…

    one last thing: Kobe scoring isnt the issue.

    Kobe’s efficiency is the issue.

    If he’s 30pts, 50% from the field, Cs are going to lose.

  • http://espn.com travis zen

    these analysts have never learned…how many have predicted will never get to the finals or worse not even past heat and cavs..what a shame..get a life guys..ur being paid for shits..

  • pilgrimtraveller

    korey, again my compliments on your well-reasoned argumentation on behalf of the lakers. i agree with your comment regarding kobe’s efficiency: if he averages 30 ppg while hitting 50% of his shots, the celtics are in trouble. i also agree that the team that defends best will win. of course, i believe that team will be the celtics while you believe it will be the lakers, but neither of us will have much evidence for or against our belief until late thursday night. i assume artest will do a creditable job slowing pierce. i’m concerned that gasol has amped up his defensive intensity since ’08, but i was relieved to see that he didn’t do much on either end against the suns. due to injury, bynum won’t be (or so it appears) the force against the celtics that lakers fans hoped he would be. let’s assume pierce averages 13 (6 points below his ’10 playoff average thusfar). does perkins, who thusfar has supplied only clean-up offense (averaging just over 5 points a game), make up most of pierce’s drop-off with a hobbled bynum or odom guarding him? on the one hand, i’m glad the celtics have some time to recuperate after the magic series; on the other, i wish the finals were starting today.

  • ED

    They all picked Orlando and Cleveland! We will see who wants it most!

    Kobe will have pressure now!

  • http://espn.com Herman

    This should be the best series the league has seen in some time. While I’m a Laker fan, objectively speaking, it’s hard to pick against the C’s right now. They just picked apart tougher competition and did it playing on the road to get here, and their defense has looked as good as ever, plus we’ve already seen how these teams match up in the playoffs. Having said that, there are a few things us Laker fans can feel good about:

    1) Home Court – yes Boston is good on the road, but LA is great at home and people forget that the game split in the finals favors the home team even more, especially with Boston not being the best at home. Also, lets not forget the assist Boston got from the refs in 2008, with gm 2 being one of the most one-sided games ever.

    2) Experience – the Lakers biggest flaw in 2008 was they weren’t mentally prepared. Gasol and other wilted under the pressure and played flustered for the first few games. The key players on the Lakers all have more finals experience now than the C’s having gone there 3 yrs in a row and combined with home court, can hopefully overcome the mental disadvantage from 2 yrs ago.

    3) Revenge – any Lakers fan knows that apathy is often LA’s biggest problem; they don’t play well until they need to or are motivated to do so. Can’t imagine they need any further motivation to play hard than getting revenge.

    4) New pieces – Bynum will play, and while limted, he’s a big body that will be important for LA. If he can be active on defense as he was in the last few games of the Suns series, that’s all we need. Also, Perk’ is a good matchup in that unlike PHX, his game is slow and lumbering; it’s not like Bynum’s gotta chase him around, more like box out and just be big and in the way, which his knee shouldn’t prevent.

    Also Artest. His D was already huge this yr with the offense foul (a good call) on Pierce in the Boston game to give LA the ball for KB’s game winner. The Lakers were at a big disadvanttage to PP in 2008, not as much now, especially if Ron Ron plays like he played againat Durant.

    5) The C’s aren’t as good as 2008. Rondo is better, true, but the Lakers just played Nash, Williams and Westbrook, so contrary to popular opinion, I don’t think Rondo is the problem. To be sure, he’s great, but the difference with the C’s is that his supporting cast is better. The Lakers couldn’t stop Nash either, but they did a good job against Richardson and for most games, Amare. Can they slow down the Big Three though? Better players, but not as good as they were in ’08 and we’re better suited to stop them with Artest and Bynum (not to mention that at this stage in his career, Gasol, unlike in 2008, is now better than Garnett, who has struggled on offense of late).

    Matchups:

    Perk/Bynum – draw, maybe adv. Perk is Bynum is limited (on a side note, any disagree that if Perk and Bynum were combined into one player they’d better than D. Howard by a mile?)

    Gasol/KG – Adv. Gasol, slightly

    PP/Artest – Adv PP, but keep in mind that what was a huge adv in the past (Vlad Rad?) is now minimal and a great defensive fit for us, much like having Perk and Sheed to go against Howard)

    Kobe/Allen – Adv Kobe, tho for sure Allen has at least 1 gm he pretty much wins by hitting many big 3 pointers

    Rondo/Fish – Adv Rondo, tho Fish is as clutch as they come in the playoffs and will hit some timely shots to offset what will otherwise be a huge disadvantage.

    Bench, Lakers have the best player in Odom, but are otherwise thin and need guys to step up. Boston has more substance off the bench, but then again, relying on Sheed and T. Allen scares me if I’m a C’s fan.

  • gb

    I pick Boston in 6. Say what you will and say what you may, but Boston is a TOTALLY different team . The last time the were not healthy and didn’t have KG, just watch.

  • http://none Sigh

    @LakerHater13
    “They won 6 titles in Minneapolis. The last title won in Minneapolis was 1954. They moved to LA in 1959. They didnt win a title in LA until 1972.”

    So can we discount the 9 Boston won in the 60′s with the same team against a tiny league during the civil rights era?

    How about splitting the Lakers titles since they moved from The Forum to the Staples center. Inglewood and downtown LA aren’t in the same city either.

    Give it a rest. Titles follow franchises.

  • http://celticshub.com Stephen

    @Herman–There is definately one thing that the Lakers can feel good about, and that is that the Celtics will put them out of their misery—quickly.First off, the 2-3-2 finals format is probably the dumbest thing the NBA ever came up with–it actually works ainst the team that finishes with the better record. If the teams are mismatched going in then it wouldn’t matter however that certainly is not the case in this series. Unless the Lakers win both games in L.A to start this series, they are finished. I don’t know what in the hell some people have been watching to lead up to this series, but I guess it’s different from what I have been watching. The Celtics have just dismantled the 2 teams that finished with the NBA’S best records. The Lakers may just as well have been locked in a gym by themselves –shooting at will, absolutley no difference between that and the Suns defense—totally non-existent. The Lakers are not prepared for what’s coming next. It’s called——DEFENSE !!!!! Something the Lakers are dangerously unfamiliar with.Excellent defense beats excellent offense—ahhhhhhh every time—Kobe or no Kobe. The Celtics can win this in as little as 5 games, of course Laker fans can always count on the officials to keep things closer then theyreally are by—let’s see—maybe getting Perkins ejected and then suspended for a game to try and tighten things up a bit. Laker fans need to understand this– the Lakers played a bunch of marshmellows on their way to the big dance. The Celtics on the other hand are battle tested and ready to rock!!!! —– If this series is officated fairly—which is always an issue for David Stern and his cronies, the Lakers have no chance—I repeat no chance to win this series.

  • DeVelaine

    @Herman: Let’s see… Perk and Bynum are in the Finals, while Howard gets to watch at home… I think these two being better is a foregone conclusion, and that may not even be with a need to combine them. Howard has no post game, and until he learns one, he is Orlando’s weak link.

    @Stephen: I’ve watched those dismantlings with absolute glee, and I still don’t think this series will actually go less than 6 games. Mostly from two key points. 1) Kobe alone will win one game with no help from the rest of his team. One of the huge reasons I hate him (other than the fact that he plays for the Lakers). 2) As seen even during the Playoffs, the C’s will have a game where nothing goes right early, and it snowballs into a loss. That right there accounts for two games, though they could be the same game, I still don’t see it happening in less than 6. That having been said, I’d gladly take a C’s sweep if we were to be so lucky, but I’m not going to bet on it.

  • Gump

    In which games did Posey spend a significant amount of time guarding Kobe? I’m re-watching the 2008 Finals games in order and I’m 3/4 of the way through game 2. So far, throughout game 1 and most of game 2, it’s mostly been Ray Allen guarding Kobe. I have a hunch that the great D that Posey supposedly put on Kobe is being overblown, but I’ll confirm when I’m done watching all 6 games.

  • Gump

    ^^ btw My point is that I think it was Ray Allen who did an adequate job guarding Kobe in ’08, and thus the loss of Posey might not hurt the C’s as much as popular opinion might lead one to believe. Lemme finish watching the series.

  • Emilie

    @ Stephan: You sound so sure about your Celtics. How much would you bet on this series?

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