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Reminder: It’s Not 2008

 

It has been impossible to find any story about the 2010 Finals that does not somehow frame this series around the 2008 Finals. Everyone wants to discuss: 

How are the teams different? 

How are they similar? 

Is anything that happened in 2008 significant now? (Note: What people are really asking when they ask this question is: Are Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom still “soft,” to the degree they ever were “soft”?). 

Celtics fans, of course, look back at 2008 and find reason for optimism. The ’08 C’s bullied the Lakers out of the gym, and now Rajon Rondo is awesome, too! Los Angeles fans will point out how different their roster is today. 

The discussion is (sort of) interesting but ultimately irrelevant. Because if you think whatever happened in 2008 has any predictive value for what’s going to unfold starting Thursday, you’re nuts.

Here are three differences between 2008 and 2010 that make the entire discussion a fun but silly exercise. 

1) Ron Artest. 

This should end of the comparisons, really. The presence of Artest as LA’s starting small forward is, on its own, a large enough change to make the 2008 Finals a near-irrelevant precedent. In other words: If both rosters were entirely the same, and everyone’s skill level had remained the same, making the single change of replacing Vladimir Radmanovic with Artest as LA’s starting small forward is big enough to blow up any ’08/’10 comparisons. 

The Lakers started Vlad Radmanovic at small forward in 2008! And he wasn’t a token starter! He played 21.5 minutes per game in the Finals, shooting 39 percent from the floor and playing mediocre defense against Boston’s best offensive player. 

Luke Walton played 11 minutes per game in the Finals and shot 31 percent. Trevor Ariza, who supplanted both Rad Man and Walton in ’09, was a total non-factor, logging just 7 minutes per game in the ’08 Finals. 

Those three players, combined, logged about 40 minutes per game in the 2008 Finals. I realize those minutes sometimes overlapped, but still: Forty minutes per game

And now comes Artest, a guy who held Kevin Durant to 43-of-123 shooting (35 percent) in the first round. 

Artest hasn’t exactly shut down Paul Pierce, but  he has made Pierce work hard to score. In their last eight head-to-head match-ups dating to 2006, here are Pierce’s scoring numbers against Artest:

18.8 PPG, 43 percent shooting (46-of-107), 36 percent from three (14-of-39), 52 free throw attempts.

Not bad. 

I can hear the Celtics fans already: Pierce couldn’t score against the Cavs, either, and the C’s steam-rolled through that series! 

Come on, guys. The Lakers are a different team, with a much better supporting group of players than LeBron has/had in Cleveland.

2) Andrew Bynum

Bynum is playing with a torn meniscus in his right knee, and he’s far from 100 percent. But he may have 20 minutes per game in him, and he’ll change the way the C’s guard the Lakers when he’s on the floor. Bynum is too big and strong for KG, meaning Perk, who did a wonderful job on Pau Gasol in ’08, will have to defend Bynum when Bynum and Gasol are on the floor together. 

I’m not saying that hurts Boston defensively, because KG is a natural match-up for Gasol, and the Lakers’ offense has performed much worse with Bynum on the floor versus with Bynum on the bench, according to Basketball Value. But Bynum’s presence means fewer easy post-up chances for both Perk and KG on offense. 

3) Guarding Kobe

If you’ve been paying attention, you know Kobe has added a significant post-up element to his game this season. According to Synergy Sports, a full 22 percent of Kobe’s offensive plays started with a post-up in the regular-season, the highest number of Kobe’s career. 

Our buddies at The Painted Area dug into Synergy a bit further and found that Kobe largely abandoned the post-up game against Phoenix in favor of isolations on the perimeter and spot-up jumpers. Why? Probably because Grant Hill is 6’8” and Jared Dudley is 6’7”, making them taller and (in Dudley’s case at least) stronger than Bryant. 

Ray Allen is 6’5”. Tony Allen is 6’4”. 

Expect a lot of Kobe Bryant in the post. All that work he did down there this season—it was almost, by accident, the perfect preparation for a series against Boston. 

Paul Pierce is listed at 6’6” and is bigger and stronger than Kobe, and he bothered Kobe during the ’08 Finals. Pierce’s request to guard Kobe in the 2nd half of Game 4 is already the stuff of Celtics legend. 

But Pierce isn’t going to guard Kobe for five or six or seven games. He doesn’t have the stamina or the quicks to do that anymore, and, even if he did, there is no Vladimir Radmanovic around to serve as a hiding place for Ray Allen. 

Yes, I’ve cherry-picked three differences here that all bode poorly for Boston. The fact is, you could go on and on pointing out differences between 2008 and 2010. Rajon Rondo is a much more polished player, James Posey is gone, Glen Davis is ready to be a big factor, Sasha Vujacic won’t play 22 minutes per game (as he did in the ’08 series), and so forth. 

All of those things are true. I went with these three because I see far too many Celtics fans making the argument that, hey, we won in ’08 because we were tougher than LA, and we’re tougher now, so we’ll win again. 

It doesn’t work that way, folks. These are different teams, and this is a different year. The Celtics can absolutely beat the Lakers four times in seven games, but they’ll have to do it differently this time around.

  • Ever

    Won’t happen. Boston and it’s fans underestimating the Lakers are making the same mistakes LA did two years ago. You believe your own hype and you’re blindsided by a very determined team. Not only are the Lakers far, far better (Gasol was only with the team for a few months prior to the playoffs, and LA didn’t have Bynum or Ariza), while the Celtics evened out with the loss of key defenders and age taking it’s toll countered by Rondo’s incredible ascension.

    In fact, the biggest advantage the Celtics have is that games 3, 4, and 5 are going to be in Boston. That’s huge. Rondo isn’t the trump card most Celtic fans think he’s going to be; La has dealt with the best PGs in the west all playoffs (Westbrook, then Deron Williams and most recently Nash), so Rondo isn’t going to take anyone by surprise.

    Careful, Boston fans. It’s not going to be the series you’re dreaming about.

  • Hippocrates

    @Ever What are you saying? We’re the underdogs. No one thought we’d make it out of the second round, let alone make it to the NBA finals. We’re the best road team and we’ve got a lot of great complementary pieces. It won’t be easy for EITHER team and I anticipate a great and hard-fought series. Rondo’s been the best player in the playoffs and has dominated the 1st and 2nd best teams in the NBA so I dont know where the ‘overestimation’ has come from. He’s got THE play of the playoffs and there’s no one who can stay in front of him.

    All I know is we’ve come a long way and we’re hungry. If we play hard and execute we’ll give ourselves a great chance to hoist #18 to the rafters. Good luck to both teams. Great article and GO C’s!!! ??

  • Gump

    Even 2008 Garnett couldn’t guard Gasol all that well. In ’08 the Celtics had the fortunate matchups of Perk-Gasol and KG-Odom. For the possessions in which KG ended up guarding Gasol, Gasol often torched him. Keep in mind, this was the 2008 KG. If 2010 KG is forced to be Gasol’s primary defender, well…

  • Gump

    ^^btw I’m not a fan of either team,I’m more a fan of players, and both teams have players I like (KG, Ray, Artest) and neither team has players that I hate. I’m just looking forward to this great matchup and trying to envision how it will play out.

  • DeVelaine

    @Ever: I see where your big mistake is… We, the fans, can think and say whatever we want as we try to figure out who’s going to win. We can be blatant homers as well when making those decisions, as we see everything through “green lenses.”

    But those 15 men who suit up in the Green and White *won’t* be making those same mistakes that the fans make. They know now that they can play and beat any team in this league, as long as they play together. 6 straight wins against the two best teams of the regular season, shutting them down completely during that time, will go a long way toward telling the “Big 15″ how to be prepared to deal with your Lakers. Even on the road.

    Point is… We’re fans. We’re allowed to be foolishly optimistic, even if it can be an exercise in futility. At the end of the day, two teams of 15 still have to show up and play. Unless, of course, you’d rather that Kobe and Co. don’t show up. I know we won’t argue if they don’t. :)

  • IRS

    And Rondo is not like Williams or Westbrook–both are larger, stronger point guards, and I credit Fisher with doing a good job being physical with him. Nash is fading and while fantastically skilled and courtsmart, he is not terribly fast. Rondo is the fastest and quickest player in the league; being physical will not be enough (see Parker, Anthony).

    If Bynum can play 30 minutes a game, I do worry about Gasol against Garnett. But can you think of a tougher guard for a player who has weak knees than KP? I expect Boston to test Bynum’s knee and keep him off the floor if it does not pass.

  • http://CelticsHub.com Zach Lowe

    @IRS: No way Bynum plays 30 minutes per game.

  • Mo

    If you look at PP vs. RA in just the last 2 years (the Houston and LA years*), it’s a slightly different story. PP takes 12.3 shots per game and makes 40.8% of them and scored 16.25 ppg.

    He actually shot better from 3 (42.8%) than from 2 (39.2%). Looking at the tape, this year this is probably due to how Pierce was able to best score against Artest, in transition. Pierce and Rondo would lead the break and Artest would guard the layup and Pierce would drain the open corner 3. However, in half court sets, Artest gave him much more trouble.

    The should be a fun matchup to watch.

    * This is to take out the fact that those Kings’ teams were absolutely brutal on D, leaving Artest on an island.

  • Sweeney

    Bynum may not even make it thru the series so I too think 30 minutes borders on the absurd for those knees. Artest is going to do what he does. He will eventually get under Paul’s skin and I believe we lose one game just because of it.

    Basketball junkies have to love the match up as much as our fans do. You can win the Title, but it means so much more when you beat either of these two teams.

  • Perry

    I might add over the years the 2-3-2 format has not produced favorable results for the team without home court advantage.

    Are the Lakers’ coming into this series with a chip on their shoulder? You can make a strong case for revenge being a mitigating factor, but I think that will die down as the series wears on.

    Both teams are mentally tough, but the Celts showed unbelievable resolve gliding past two of the top five teams in the NBA. The Lakers were not even close to being challenged defensively as they will be in this series.

    There is no sample of data to measure what the Celts have accomplished. Their grit is unmatched. They have answers for every match up advantage LA used against the Western Conference.

    The Lakers shot a really high percentage from inside three, especially in the playoffs against the Jazz and Suns. Neither team had the inside presence to counter Bynum, Gasol and Odom. That won’t be the case in this series, plus Bynum just had his knee drained. So the offensive burden may shift to Gasol and Odom in the paint with Kobe doing his mid range thing. Whatever the Celts plan on taking away will fall on the shoulders of Fish and a streaky Artest. The Celts cannot ignore Fish. He must be accounted for, and taken off his game on the defensive end.

    I’ll discount the win in LA and work with the lone game Kobe played in Boston. Rondo was 9 for 16, but only 1 for 5 in the mid range game. So a big key to this series is limiting LA to one shot and getting the ball to Rondo in transition. That’s where Olk. City found success until Kobe drew the Westbrook assignment.

    Rondo has showed a propensity to blow past Kobe if the open floor game isn’t there. The Celts ball movement should counter Kobe’s help defense. On the other side, Davis must put a body on Odom. I liked the way he kept track of Lewis, so he passsed the first test.

    LA has not defended well in these playoffs and are slow of foot on rotations. A fatigued Kobe means Rondo is having a great series, but I think in order for the Celts to win it they’ll have to do it on LA ‘s home court.

  • Chris O

    Zach I think you could point out lots of things that are better about this Celtics team than is ’08 as well. And I know Pierce has lost a step but really so has Kobe. Both are over 30 and neither are living in a vacuum. Kobe IS playing out of his mind but if Paul can do close to what he did in the last series than I think that benefits the C’s more than Kobe playing amazing benefits the Lakeshow. Either way this is going to be a hell of a series…but I think we ARE still tougher than LA. That does not mean we will win but we can.

  • Moriarty

    Zach,
    I think this is another significantly different thing from ’08. Pau Gasol has emerged as one of the best big men in the game and is playing that system to perfection now.

  • DRJ1

    Paul Pierce is listed at 6’7″, not 6’6″ (did you really think he’s SHORTER than Kobe?)… and I always thought he was bigger, around 6’8″.

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

    @DRJ1: Depends where you look. He’s 6’6” some places (like here: http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/p/piercpa01.html) and 6’7” other places. I went with the shorter height.

    And, no, he’s obviously not shorter than Kobe.

  • mitch

    L.A doesn’t deserve another title, they have horrible fans…and the city of L.A itself has so much pollution in the air…I’m suprised all living organisms haven’t perrished there

  • mitch

    Paul Pierce is 6 foot 7
    stop trying to make him seem shorter

    let me guess, BYNUM is only 6 10? gtfo here….it says on his ESPN profile that he’s 6 foot 7…now do your job and stop making mistakes on peoples height

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

    Caught me red-handed Mitch. It’s time I came clean.

    I am part of an ongoing conspiracy designed to create the impression that Paul Pierce is 6’6”. Our goal going forward is to make the public believe all NBA players are one inch shorter than they claim. Our secondary goal: world domination.

    FYI: NBA.com also lists him as 6’6”, while ESPN and Yahoo go with 6’7”.

    But the conspiracy story is a better one, I think.

  • Korey

    A sincere THANK YOU to Zach from a Lakers fan.

    I expect all the Cs fans to think they will win. You should believe that.

    But dont give me that whole we’re just “tougher” argument again because it’s not going to happen that way with Ron Artest on the floor.

    Pierce will need to play well to score (which he can I might add) but it will be no cakewalk (ahem Radmanovic!)

    The Big Factor that changes for the Celtics (which I assumer zach will detail later) is the presence of Rondo.

    The way I see it, if the Celts want to play the conventional Cs way and run plays for KG, Allen, and Pierce 90% of the time, you will lose. We can matchup with each of those players (remember, JJ Redick was decent v. Allen).

    If the Cs want to go Rondo P/R 60-70% time then the Lakers have serious issues.

    Let’s see if Doc Rivers figures it out quickly enough.

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

    @Korey: C’s have used the Rondo-based screen/roll heavily all season. You’ll see it a lot, so get ready.

  • Someone who can actually play BBall and knows what they are talking about

    I don’t understand how it is that people assume that Pau Gasol will somehow destroy KG in this series, or even make the production that he has had in the playoffs. What is it that makes people believe that just because Gasol was not with the Lakers the whole year in 2008 that that makes any difference.

    Gasol stats:
    2008 w/ Lakers: 18.8 ppg 7.8 rpg 3.5 ast
    2010 season: 18.3 ppg 11.3 rpg 3.4 ast
    2010 playoffs: 20 ppg 10.9 rpg 3.4 ast

    Granted his points have been higher in the post season and rebounds are higher than in 2008, but couldn’t that be due to the undersized competition LA has faced?
    OKC doesn’t even have a true 7 footer on the Roster, not even close, no matter what the stat sheet says.

    Utah lost their Center and Boozer is 6’9″ at best!

    Pheonix with Amare and Lopez is hardly a “tough” duo in the post.

    The C’s have faced Shaq/Z/Varejao and Howard/Lewis/Gortat and creamed them all in the post.
    The Lakers will be a harder matchup for the post obviously but by no means are they going to simply lob it to Pau and Bynum or Odom and just put it in.

    As for point guard debate, get real!

    Rondo right now is the equivalent passer of Nash, the speed of Aaron Brooks, and the rebounding of Vintage Jason Kidd. Not to mention the explosive play ability in scoring of Derrick Rose or D-Will. And he has more length, toughness, and athleticism than all of them.

    He is beginning to find his shot from the floor and FT’s.

    LA is nutts to think Fish will be able to stop him, and if you switch Kobe, Allen will eat Fish alive on the drive or 3.

    That is going to be the difference in the series. If the Lakers can find a solution, they will win, but so far…No one has.

    The C’s starting 5 intact………..has never lost a playoff series.

    LA can’t say that. (Aside from that Artest just got here, since they haven’t won a Title with this lineup either.)

    C’s in 6.

  • Someone who can actually play BBall and knows what they are talking about

    @Korey:
    One player doesn’t make a TEAM tough. It just means they have someone a little tougher on the floor in ONE of FIVE spots on the floor.

  • Korey

    @Zach…

    Hmmphhh..thanks for the heads up.

    I always assume that they use Rondo as the setup or the misdirection guy.

    And at the very least, Rondo took over more of the offense in-season because of all the injuries but the way they really want to play when healthy is Pierce, then Allen, then KG, then Rondo. Although #3/#4 are interrelated via P/R.

    I also want to bring up the team chemistry issue here too.

    When Pierce fumbled away that game winner in game 4 v. Orlando, Rondo was visibly upset.

    Does that attitude show up again under duress in games I think will be much closer than the ones in the Orlando and maybe even the Cavs series?????

    I wouldnt be surprised. But that’s the Celtics hater in me.

  • Korey

    @someone…

    Well, fine then, read Zach’s post.

    Bynum is tougher than Gasol. So Perkins wont be able to beat up on Gasol all game.

    Artest is tougher than Radman, Luke.

    Kobe is tough and Fisher are tough. You have to admit that.

    So now the whole “win by toughness” thing isnt going to happen this year.

    You may win by i dont know, just playing better, but not by toughness or intimidation.

  • the current avalanche

    The Lakers have changed dramatically since 2008, and their change starts and ends with Ron Artest. His addition is HUGE. He will limit Paul Pierce to some extent (though I doubt it would be to any extent close to what Lebron James was able to do).

    My concern here though is that I feel you’re severely short-changing the changes the Celtics have undergone since 2008. Again, the differences start and end with Rajon Rondo….and if you think the impact of Ron Artest is going to prove larger than the vast improvement in which Rajon Rondo has undergone this year…then you clearly have been over-estimating Ron Ron’s impact against defensively challenged western teams, or you haven’t watched enough Celtics ball this year.

    Western point guards have burned the Laker defense this playoffs. Unfortunately for their teams however, they didn’t have even half the supporting cast that the Celtics do on offense. In addition, EVERYBODY on the Celtics plays defense…not just the bigs. Do you really think Kobe is going to be going ballistic like he did against Phoenix, against the Celtic defense?

    Come on…the Celtics stopped Lebron, Wade, Carter and Howard… they are eminently designed to stop superstars…

    And the teams the Celtics played through were BRUTALLY tough. If the Lakers THINK they are just going to play tough by just willing it…well, I feel sorry for them. They’re going to get manhandled by the Celts, and no simple addition of Ron Artest is going to change that dramatically.

    The Lakers will have to beat us by being a superior version of what they already are…a transcendent offensive juggernaut. They won’t be able to beat the Celtics by trying to copy their approach…and neither will the Celtics beat the Lakers by adopting their approach.

  • Someone who can actually play BBall and knows what they are talking about

    @Korey
    If you read my post I never mention toughness as a contributing factor to who will win or lose.

    And, I do not make any claim to that past accomplishments dictate future results.

    But what I do know is this…
    The defense that the Lakers have seen from OKC, Utah, and Pheonix, is NOTHING compared to what they will see against this Celtics team.

    In fact, I will go so far as that…
    This Lakers team has NEVER seen a defense like the one they will be playing in the Finals…not even the 2008 version of the Celtics were this good.

    Everyone who has anything to say about it should just wait until after Game 1 to make comments about it because you will know after that.

    And if this goes the way I see it going…even C’s fans will be shocked.

    LA is in for a rude, Rude, RUDE, awakening.

  • Gump

    @someone

    I am very interested to see how well KG can defend Gasol this time around. In the first two games of that ’08 series, Gasol pretty much had his way with KG anytime KG ended up guarding him. Going off what I saw with my eyeballs, forget stats. That was 2008 DPOY KG. 2010 KG isn’t the same player, yet he’ll be expected to guard a Gasol who’s even better this time around, assuming that Bynum can stay on the floor.

    This is why I think Bynum is so important for the Lakers; he gives Gasol a better matchup when Gasol is on offense (going against KG instead of Perkins). Based on that 2008 series, Gasol would much rather have KG guarding him.

    Can KG step up to the challenge defensively? Fun matchup to keep an eye on.

  • Gump

    ^^ btw I say “first two games of that ’08 series” because I’m still downloading games 3 through 6. :)

  • Korey

    @someone…

    See , what you should know is that the Lakers have already seen a defense like the celtics… Cs fans talk like their is some maaaagggical Celtics D that nobody can ever touch.

    OKC was better than the Cs defensively all year, and over the 2nd half they were the #1 FG% team in the league.

    Did the Lakers steamroll OKC? Nope…But they found a way.

    And the big point is that the Celtics aren’t really going to playing a brand of D tougher than OKC…Sorry. The #s say otherwise in every facet.

    I expect a dogfight like the OKC series.

  • Korey

    * on the OKC #1 FG% 2nd half quote, I forgot to put: “(I’m pretty sure of that)”… I dont have the official stats on me, but i’m sure if you look it up, you’ll see they were red-hot on D.

    Also, they blocked like 10+ Lakers shots one of the games. So again, the Cs will have good D, but I cant see it better than OKCs.

  • Someone who can actually play BBall and knows what they are talking about

    @ Korey:
    Actually if you check the stats (which I’m sorry but, most LA fans don’t) The C’s have allowed the 2nd fewset ppg defensively in the postseason behind only the Magic who were playing the offensively challenged Bobcats and mentally checked out Hawks. Infact OKC is rated 6th just ahead of the Miami Heat, the other team the Celtics disposed of soundly.

    LA: 11th at 101.7 ppg
    Pheonix: 12th at 102.5 ppg
    Utah: 15th at 109.3 ppg

    Offense:
    LA: 4th ranked but after 60% shooting allowed in 2 games by the Suns, who’s suprised here?

    Cavs:5th
    C’s & Orlando: Tied for 7th on Offense.

    The Celtics have played tougher grittier teams with superstar power (Wade, Lebron, Howard, Lewis, Carter, Nelson) than any of the teams that LA has. Not to mention the teams in the East are much more balanced on both ends of the floor.

    So YES the Lakers have not faced ANYTHING like the C’s D…ACCORDING TO THE STORY THE STATS TELL.

    Remeber regular season stats mean nothing. If those stats meant something why are Cleveland, Orlando, and Atlanta all golfing and having “free agent meetings”?

    The 2nd season is ALL that matters.

  • I love Green

    So Ron Artest arrives, and Gasoft immediatley becames tough Pau Gasol? Yeahh right Perk, KG, and Sheed are some of the toughest big men in the league Gasoft will just get scared. He’ll still be a big factor, but he’s not going to dominate.

  • Kevin

    @Someone

    I can’t believe someone whose internet handle is “Someone who can actually play BBall and knows what they are talking about” is using points allowed per game as the definitive statistic for measuring defensive success. Try %defense or pace adjusted numbers instead. Raw PPG allowed is quite flawed and you should know that.

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    interesting discussion. A few points:

    As it was, I think Rondo played awfully well in the 2008 series so projecting he’ll be so much more of a factor doesn’t necessarily square with reality.

    Kobe had a terrible series in 2008 thanks almost entirely to the efforts of the now departed James Posey who was the designated Kobe stopper in that series.

    KG is a shadow of who he was then, especially offensively where he now seemingly settles for fadeaway jumpers or 18 foot wide open, half court looks practically every trip he’s involved. Far fewer run outs involving him as was the case in 2008. He’s a still a presence but not scary one the way he was in 2008 unless that changes in the finals.

    Pierce with those trailing spot up threes won’t be getting those looks. If Artest can limit the looks that the league’s leading scorer (Durantula) gets, then he’s going to have a major impact on PP’s scoring in this series.

    The Lakers have 2 great individual defenders which is something the Celtics haven’t faced. Kobe and Artest can have a major effect on the scoring opportunities for 2 of the 3 Celtic non bigs at all times.

    Mitch K assembled this team specifically to deal with the Celtics firepower.

    As long as Bynum can provide 20 -25 minutes shifts per game to keep the 3 headed monster in tact, the Lakers will be fine.

  • suttonduch

    @someone who actually plays basketball but doesn’t understand advanced stats… So ppg are meaningless. It’s efficiency ratings that matter. It’s a series of matchups and I’m excited to watch it. I’m not sure what is going to happen and that’s exciting. But Jesus the smugness combined with the using of ppg as a strong argument is enough to make me crazy

  • Someone who can actually play BBall and knows what they are talking about

    @Kevin:

    You are correct not neccesarily the only part of the equation, however ppg allowed and differential IS a large part of what can be expected to hold true.

    C’s are 2nd in point differential.

    Also, the C’s cause turnover’s at a HISTORIC rate. Read Zach Lowe’s article about the rate of turnovers caused by teams now vs. the era of legal handchecking on Defense and you’ll notice that the C’s are almost even in percentage of steals and caused turnovers, with the JORDAN ERA BULLS, who were a defensive MONSTER! Not to mention that NO TEAM has been even close since that time save for one.

    So while ppg may not be the ONLY factor for measuring defensive efficiency, the stats as a whole, prove that the Celtics defense IS better than any the Lakers have played this year, probablt last year, and likely better than 2008.

    That, you cannot deny. And if anyone truly believes that OKC’s D is better than the Celtics D…they need their head examined, or have just been tuning into too many LA sports analysts.

    And you may be thinking I listen to too much Boston sports radio or soley listen in on WEEI, but guess what?

    I live an hour south of LA, so don’t deny it because I’ve heard it all postseason!

    Be objective, or don’t bother.

  • Gump

    @ Dave

    I just watched the first two games of the ’08 series, and so far the Posey-as-Kobe-stopper line is proving to be a myth. Posey spent minimal time guarding Kobe. The bulk of that task fell to Ray Allen, at least in the first two games.

    I’ll revisit after re-watching games 3 thru 6.

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    And the statement regarding tougher competition in the playoffs based on regular season performance is interesting.

    Presumably we all know now that these teams who performed notably during the regular season were pretenders.

    Describing the Cleveland front line as something in awe inspiring is just laughable. an aging Shaq and Anderson V? They didn’t have any players anymore then Phoenix did and you know it!

    Dwight Howard is a different story, but let’s face it, the Celtics prevailed despite their efforts to stop him. Not as a result!

    You beat an Orlando team with a single star caliber player and very little playoff IQ to draw from.

    Lewis, Nelson and Carter are what Al Maguire used to refer to as the “little brothers”. They confuse everyone with their strong play during the regular season but when it comes time to deliver they shrink from the spotlight.

    When all is said and done Cleveland and Orlando don’t amount to anything more than Phoenix or Utah.

    It is impressive what the Celtics managed to do in terms of winning series where they surrendered the home court advantage each time though.

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    @ Gump…Yes watch games 3 through 6. Especially games 4 and on where the series was decided.

    Doc figured out that anytime he wanted to slow Kobe down (usually in the 3rd quarter and beyond) Posey was the man and Doc went to that repeatedly.

    It wasn’t that difficult a choice for Doc since Ray wasn’t shooting all that well going into those finals.

    I think Posey got in Kobe’s head. Ray Allen played against Kobe teams for years in the Pacific division. That’s not a match-up that would make Kobe terribly uncomfortable. And I’m not dissing Allen when I say that. He’s a good team defender. Only an average individual defender though. Same as Pierce.

  • Someone who can actually play BBall and knows what they are talking about

    @Dave:
    Sooooooooo what you’re saying by your last post is that, Carlos Boozer and Kyrlo Fesenko as well as Amare and the half a man that was Robin Lopez coming off injury are better than Lewis and Howard, or Shaq/Z and Varejao/Hickson….wow….you really don’t watch the games do you.

    I don’t care how old Shaq is he’s still better than Lopez or Fesenko and Howard was COMPLETELY nuetralized by Perk when he was on the floor. The only time Dwight played well was when Perk was in foul trouble.

    And by the sound of what LA fans think, Pau and Bynum will cause more issues at both ends of the floor than Howard does.

    And as far as Nelson goes, he may not be a superstar but he’s a heck of a lot better than Fish is. That’s the point, the TEAMS have been better than the Lakers opposition.

    If you don’t believe that…you’re more of a Laker Appologist than I thought.

    The better TEAM will win. Not the team with the best PLAYER or PLAYERS.

  • Kevin

    @Someone

    I don’t particularly care where you live or who you root for. I do care that you brag that you are “Someone who can actually play BBall and knows what they are talking about” and continue to push PPG allowed as a good measure of defensive prowess. It just isn’t a good tool compared to other statistics that are available. Point differential is a useful way to measure the overall strength of a team (in that it takes into account both offense and defense), but it is not a terribly precise indicator of defensive effectiveness either. Phoenix was fifth in the entire NBA this season in point differential, but no one uses that figure to prove that they are an elite defensive team. The turnover figure you cite is a good tool to measure one aspect of defensive prowess. I have no problem with that. I have no problem admitting that Boston is a very good team. I do take issue with some of the statistical indicators you have been citing as proof that Boston is a great defensive team – especially given your handle “Someone who can actually play BBall and knows what they are talking about.”

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    @Someone who can actually play…

    You should know that when it comes to the post season, everyone of these series is different and they’re all about the matchups and how teams adjust from game to game.

    Playing that silly game of who did better against who, when is just silly.

    In 2008 the Celtics struggled to beat every opponent they faced in every series they were in. This after dominating the regular season. On the flipside the Lakers pretty much breezed through the west that year.

    Neither of those factors had much of an effect on the outcome of the finals though.

    And last year the Lakers struggled to make it out of the west with Houston and Denver. It didn’t bother them very much when they took down Orlando in 5 games.

    This is totally different for both teams. The star power is so much more formidable on both sides and these are both teams that have won championships the past two years. So neither of them is going to blink with the increasing amount of pressure.

  • Someone who can actually play BBall and knows what they are talking about

    @ Kevin:
    So are you insinuating that due to the use of ppg as ONE aspect of an argument that my handle is misplaced and that I infact am “Someone who can’t actually play BBall and doesn’t know what they are talking about”?

    Is that what the basis for defense of the argument is?

    Because if that’s all then I’ll happily change it to something that is more suitable…=0

    Does it have that much bearing? Are you saying the statements are not fact? That the C’s are not in fact a Great defensive team?

    Do you believe the C’s would give up 60% shooting in 2 games in a row? I wouldn’t. In fact I’d feel comfortable betting my life on the fact that they wouldn’t give up 60% from the field, when healthy and intact, for even 1 game. Would you bet your life against that?

    My handle has nothing to do with it. The facts and stats are just that. Stats and facts. Nothing can determine what will happen. Kobe could be killed in LA traffic Wednesday and LA would be completely screwed. KG could blow out his knee and the C’s are dead.

    The past is the past, but it does give us a glimpse of what these teams have done, and how they got there.

    C’s: Defense
    LA: Offense

    And Defense almost always wins. These teams have had the same makeup for 40 years. Lakers have always been built off offense and C’s off D.

    C’s: 9
    LA: 2

    That’s FACT. This time might be different………….might.

  • Laker fan

    I am a realist laker fan first of all. I thought in 2008, the lakers had the better player but the Celtics were a better team and outplayed us in every facet. Seconf of all, this year I think we still have the best player(not named Lebron) and a better all around team with LO off the bench and Artest(not space cadet) guarding Pierce. Finally, I think the key is the Lakers need to win both home games(8-0) to but the pressue back on Celtics to defend their home court(7-2). Whoever blnks first losses. Finally, I still dont feel Gasol is any tougher than he was in 2008, guarding superman in 2009 who has a constant smile is different thank guarding KG and Perk how have a constant scowl(s/p). But having Bynum for 15 to 20 minutes to take up space an be a 7 foot road block can only help. Lakers in 6 or boston in 5. Can go either way.

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    @someone:

    I’m saying it’s a silly apples to ornages comparison. It’s like me saying that the Lakers have faced all of the toughest point guards already (Westbrook, Williams and Nash) so therefore Rondo should be no trouble.

    Or the fact that Artest made Kevin Durant into a mere mortal means that he should be able to completely do a number on Pierce.

    Interesting comparisons that in and of themselves don’t hold much water.

    Phoenix posed problems for the Lakers that Boston won’t and vice versa.

    The Lakers are flexible enough to play either physical or not depending upon the opponent.

    They’re the defending champs. Statistically amongst the best rebounding teams in the league and the best defensive teams. Including and especially stopping 3 point shots.

    You don’t become that if you’re not physical and you’re not tough. They are.

  • Kevin

    @Someone:

    Your first post above relied solely on PPG allowed, which I called you on. Your second post reiterated PPG, then added point differential and turnover rate. I responded by objecting to PPG and point differential and accepting turnover rate. You keep harping that facts are facts and stats are stats, but my point is you are using the wrong facts and stats to support your position. Boston is a good team. I am not challenging that. I am challenging the deficiencies of your particular statisical analysis, which I find especially amusing given your internet handle.

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    Same makeup for 40 years?

    Where were you during the Laker Showtime years? This team doesn’t reflect in style anything approximately close to the makeup of that team.

    Look I tip my hat to the Celtics of the 60′s but it’s been a long, long time since then and the Celtics have never enjoyed that kind of an advantage over the Lakers in the finals since.

    In the last 4 meetings since Bill Russell and Jerry West suited up that is, the two teams have faced each other four times with each side winning two.

    If I were a Celtic fan I’d hold onto the domination of the 60′s for dear life as well. But the Lakers have enjoyed more success than the Celtics have since then. That’s also a indisputable fact.

  • Someone who can actually play BBall and knows what they are talking about

    @Dave:
    I never said anything about the recent success of each team.

    As you said the last 4 times have been split.

    And the Lakers have had more Championships in the last 20 years, that is undeniable.

    However, the Lakers lost in 84′ to the C’s, won in 85′, didn’t show up in 86′ because of some miraculous win by the Rockets, and won in 87′. So the C’s were in the Finals 4 straight years. Against a team with other HOF players on it. And they won 2. Lakers only went 3 times in 4 years and won 2….the only 2 they have against the C’s.

    Those Lakers and Celtics teams were probably the best teams ever. You might put the Bulls in there when they had 6 but, Jordan only won AFTER those teams were old and gone.

    But the 1986 Celtics is regarded as probably the best team ever.

    That was the team the lakers didn’t show up against. In fact most people believed LA’s “miraculous” loss to a young unpolished Rockets team was to avoid the trouncing that they would’ve recieved. Of course LA fans probably won’t believe that but everyone else did. You may not have been around then, I don’t know.

  • http://www.hotmail.com Josh

    To all you amazing basketball minds who said Gasol “had his way with” or controlled KG in the 2008 Finals…..uhhhh here are Gasol’s stats from the 08 Finals:

    14.6ppg 10.2rbg 3.3 apg

    Yeahhh, lets keep the insanity to a minimum in here.

  • Freddy

    I’m a bostonian and the C’s is my Team to root for but i’m not too optimistic this round as the Lakers holds every key matchup that beats the Celtics……Therefore Cs has no chance to Beat LA unless… Boston have to score more than 95 points per game with the help of the following stars.
    1- Garnett can shout his out side shot over 50%
    2- Perkins devlop an outside shot to keep Baum out side so rando and pierce do penatrate
    3-Ray Allen must score 20 points plus
    4-Rasheed has to be reliable scorer

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    @Someone

    ’86 was ’86. The Lakers didn’t get to the Finals. I guess you’re forgetting about the rest of the decade when the Lakers were busy playing and usually beating the Detroits and the Phillys in the finals.

    I mean the Celtics beat Houston in the finals twice that decade as the only other times that the West wasn’t represented by the Lakers in the 80′s. That’s 8 appearances for the Lakers in the Finals and they won 5 times in the 80′s.

    The Lakers faced Philly 3 times in the 80′s winning twice. Detroit twice winning once. and Boston 3 times winning twice.

    The Lakers were swept twice in those 3 losses.

    To Philly in ’83 when Worthy went down with a broken leg a month before the playoffs started and Norm Nixon had to leave game 2 of the finals for good due to a dislocated shoulder.

    Swept also by Detroit under similar circumstances in ’89 when both Byron Scott and Magic tore their hamstrings in the first two games of the finals.

    Two strong championship bids washed away due to unusual misfortune at the worst possible times but then injuries are part of the game.

    As a fan I’ll take 5 championships that decade but without the devastating injuries I know that it could easily have been 7.

    As far the perception that the Lakers failed to show in ’86 out of deference to the Celtics? Why are you cherry picking ’86?

    Couldn’t the same be said about the Celtics in ’80, ’82, ’83, ’88 or ’89 when the Lakers reached the finals?

    Yes the Celtics got there 4 straight years but the Lakers were the ones with back to back titles in that decade and they won 5 titles versus the Celtics 4 in the 80′s.

    The ’86 team was a nice team but I think you’d get a lot of argument about “best ever”.

    McHale and Bird were fabulous and Walton was great off the bench. The back court wasn’t extraordinary and Chief’s best years were behind him by then.

    In fact I think the ’82 Lakers with Magic and Norm Nixon in the back court and a younger stronger more vibrant Kareem in the middle would have exploited those weaknesses and McAdoo off the bench that year would’ve been every bit as big a contributor as Walton proved to be for one year.

    But in ’82 the Celtics couldn’t handle Dr “J” and the Sixers in the East so the Lakers had to take care of them in the finals instead.

  • Gump

    @Josh

    The primary task of guarding Gasol in ’08 fell to Perkins. This year, if Bynum plays a big role, the task of guarding Gasol will fall to KG. Go back and watch the ’08 series and stop relying blindly on stats. Gasol had more success against KG than he did against Perkins.

  • Kevin

    Just one more thing to add before I bow out, as I don’t normally follow the Celtics blogs and don’t intend to make a habit of it:

    Someone who can actually play BBall and knows what they are talking about says:
    June 1, 2010 at 5:16 pm
    @ Kevin:

    My handle has nothing to do with it. The facts and stats are just that. Stats and facts.

    Someone who can actually play BBall and knows what they are talking about says:
    June 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm
    In fact most people believed LA’s “miraculous” loss to a young unpolished Rockets team was to avoid the trouncing that they would’ve recieved. Of course LA fans probably won’t believe that but everyone else did.

    I thought the juxtaposition of these two quotes was very funny.

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  • Gump

    @Dave

    “@ Gump…Yes watch games 3 through 6. Especially games 4 and on where the series was decided.

    Doc figured out that anytime he wanted to slow Kobe down (usually in the 3rd quarter and beyond) Posey was the man and Doc went to that repeatedly.

    It wasn’t that difficult a choice for Doc since Ray wasn’t shooting all that well going into those finals.
    I think Posey got in Kobe’s head. Ray Allen played against Kobe teams for years in the Pacific division. That’s not a match-up that would make Kobe terribly uncomfortable. And I’m not dissing Allen when I say that. He’s a good team defender. Only an average individual defender though. Same as Pierce.”

    Okay Dave, I just got done watching games 3 and 4, and I can confidently say that what you are saying here is a blatant lie.

    In games 3 and 4, Posey rarely guarded Kobe. In particular, in the series-deciding game 4, Posey matched up with Odom on both ends, not Kobe.

    It was the defense of Paul Pierce that slowed Kobe down in the crucial 3rd and 4th quarters of Game 4. Yes, Paul Pierce.

    I’ll continue re-watching Games 5 and 6, but I think it’s safe to say now that the Posey-as-Kobe-stopper-in-’08 idea is nothing but a myth.

    Your credibility is officially zero. Why make stuff up like you just did? How sad.

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