Post-game Reactions

Earlier this week, I phoned my buddy Cal, an avid Lakers fan out in LA. We spent about a half hour dissecting the series, discussing various scenarios ranging from, who guards Rondo, to what to expect out of Bynum, to the potential X factors of this series.

Inevitably, we got around to predictions. I had a bombshell to drop. Yes, I thought the Lakers were the best all-around team the C’s had faced all year. Still, my confidence in the C’s was unwavering. Cal was obviously expecting a Celtics pick, but I don’t think he was ready for this:

“Celtics in five,” I told him.

Silence ensued on the other end of the line.

“Really?” Cal uttered in disbelief.

And who could blame him for that kind of reaction? I know I couldn’t. This Lakers team is better, much better than 2008. It’s probably even better than last year’s title team. The problem is, they are running into a buzzsaw in these Boston Celtics. So without a further ado, let’s make the case for these C’s. Here’s eight reasons the Celtics will be bringing home banner 18, and won’t have to make a return trip to LA to do it.

Value Of Continuity

The Celtics starting five have played together for three years. They know the schemes, they know their roles, they know where each other will be all over the floor. That kind of experience is essential during any playoff run. Paul Pierce spoke to how key it was for the Green to stick with their core this year, where other contenders like the Cavs and Magic had major turnover both during the offseason and the regular season.

The Lakers have a strong core in place as well within their starting five, but added a new piece this year with Ron Artest being added to the fold. Now, he probably improves their chances in this matchup, but a new piece is a new piece and he’s as big as a wildcard you can get. Don’t discount how crucial this is.


The Celtics have been the best defensive rebounding team in these playoffs. The Lakers have reigned supreme on the offensive glass. Something has got to give. With the Lakers having so much length and size up front, the C’s big men will have their hands full. Andrew Bynum will be limited though with his mobility. This will help.

The C’s coaches know how crucial this will be, so look for them to employ Paul Pierce, Tony Allen, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo to crash the defensive glass considerably and help limit the Lakers second chance points. It’s the factor that killed the Suns, Jazz and Thunder against the Lakers, all of whom were composed of weak or shorthanded front lines. The Celtics are neither and look for them to take care of business in this department.

The Lakers defense has dropped off this postseason.

I know a lot of this has to do with their competition thus far. They’ve had to play some elite offensive opponents. This has caused them to get into a lot of bad habits. Their defensive rating has dropped 8 points during the postseason, down to 111, good for only 10th out of the 16 NBA Playoff teams.

It’s also a pronounced drop from their last two postseasons, where they checked in with 103 and 107 defensive ratings respectively in 2009 and 2008. With points going to be coming at a premium on the offensive end for them in this series, I’m not sure they can ratchet up their defense enough to keep the plethora of C’s scoring options at bay.

Don’t let the playoff numbers fool you. The Lakers don’t shoot the 3 ball well.

The Lakers are shooting 34.8 percent from downtown this postseason, good for 9th out of the 16 postseason teams. Two of the teams they faced in Utah and Phoenix ranked in the bottom half of the league in 3 point defense during the regular season, with the Thunder being the only strong perimeter defensive team they’ve run into.

We all know how much trouble they had with OKC. The honest truth is the Lakers aren’t a good team shooting from downtown. They ranked 24th in the league in the regular season. In fact, Ron Artest was their 2nd best outside shooter, percentage wise. That’s never a good sign.

So here’s my question. What’s going to happen when they face a Celtic team who has held three elite shooting 3 point teams to 32.1% shooting from deep this postseason? The results won’t be pretty for the Lakers and given how much more the Lakers have been relying on the 3 ball this postseason, taking nearly 22 attempts/game, they better hope Kobe is playing out of his mind.

The Lakers lack depth, meaning foul trouble could be a big problem

Lamar Odom is a terrific 6th man and is clearly the best player coming off the bench in this series. Here’s my problem though, if I’m a Lakers fan. All I see on that bench besides Odom is three unreliable point guards. In Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown and Sasha Vujacic, you have three guys that can get hot from the outside and give you some minutes in the backcourt, but they are really limited in who they can guard.

So here’s my question. What happens in this series if Bynum is ineffective and can’t go? Or if Odom or Artest get into foul trouble? It’s happened a lot with Odom this postseason, as he has fouled out of 2 games, and finished with 5 fouls in 3 others. Given the C’s ability to get to the free throw line, this could be a major issue.

Ron Artest isn’t as good defensively as you think he has been

Artest had a great 1st round guarding Kevin Durant, holding the youngster to 35 percent shooting. He deserves a lot of credit for that. Let’s be real though here. Durant was a 3rd year player, playing in his first postseason series against a smart and experienced defender. It was a tough matchup for Durant, against a defense that was centered on containing him.

Paul Pierce is a different animal. This isn’t his first rodeo with Artest. He knows what to expect coming in, knows Ron’s tricks and knows Artest has lost a couple steps over the years. It’s also worth noting Artest didn’t do a great job defending these past two series, especially on the perimeter. He allowed C.J. Miles to shot 39 percent from deep, and the combination of Grant Hill and Jared Dudley went off for 40 percent shooting from downtown against number 93.

Given how well Pierce has been shooting during the regular season (41%) and postseason (39%) from beyond the arc, I expect The Truth to get the better off Mr. Artest throughout this affair.

Kobe Will Come Back To Earth

He has been playing out of his mind during these past 10 games. During these playoffs, he is shooting 48 percent from the field, 40 percent from downtown. There’s a lot more than what meets the eye in those numbers.  He hasn’t been working on the defensive end….at all. He hasn’t faced any strong perimeter defenders, a la Tony Allen, since the first round where he struggled, shooting 40.8% from the field. Kobe has also never shot above 44 percent in the past three seasons against the Celtics.

Did you also know Kobe is shooting 7 points above his season average from 3 point range during this postseason? There’s something called regression to the mean people. Expect to see it here.

The Celtics can win anywhere

It’s the one thing they have been consistent about all year long. These guys love competing on the road and their roster are seasoned well enough at this juncture in their career that no one is intimidated by a road environment anymore. That was a huge problem for the C’s during their run 2 years ago.

So there’s my case for the C’s. Am I being to optimistic? Probably. Do the Lakers have advantages on the C’s that I haven’t covered here. You betcha. That wasn’t my job here though. I’m here to convince you the Celtics will take care of business in this series against their toughest competitor yet.

Celtics in five. Book it.

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Brian Robb

Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
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  • Sami

    Your reasoning is enough to make me believe they can do it in five. However you last reason is why I won’t be worried if it goes 6 or 7 games.

    Still sucks I have to work til midnight tonight so I won’t get see the game til after I get home. I almost considered calling in but didn’t think my boss would by the whole I’m soorry I can’t come in because of the greatast rivalry in sports excuse.

  • MP

    We’ll blame you for the jinx if they lose… =p

  • Brian Robb, you are one crazy bastard

  • DeVelaine

    Actually… I’m interested to know how Cal took the whole explanation of C’s in 5, and what his counter prediction was.

  • Celtics Fan in LA

    Hoping/praying the C’s win tonight. I have floor seats right next to the Celtics bench.

  • NHBluesMan

    so Brian, do the Lakers split at home, then the C’s sweep in Boston? Or do the Celtics take 2 on the road and the Lakers manage to steal one at the Garden?

    I like all these reasons, but i think it’ll be Celtics in 6. If everything goes our way (including foul trouble for the Lakers bigs and Perk avoiding another tech) the Celtics can take it in 5. This is going to be a great series regardless. Now lets bring back #18!!!

  • Jason

    #9 The Fakers haven’t faced an actual defense this postseason and are in for a massive rude awakening.

    I’ve been saying Cs in 5 since last week. They took care of the #1 and #2 teams in 6. And “took care” is a rather mild description. So what exactly are the Fakers bringing that the Cavs and Magic didn’t? A more unstoppable force than LeBron? No. A more destructive center than Howard? Better D? No. Better 3 point shooting? No. Better bench? No. How exactly are the Cs losing this series? Only if everyone on the Fakers is hot and everyone on the Cs is cold. That’s it.

  • Jason

    I’m out here, but didn’t score tickets. Damn, I can’t believe I won’t be there.

  • I’m sure Cal didn’t take that prediction lightly. He grew up with an autographed Magic Johnson Converse Weapon High displayed prominently in a glass case in his living room. Just disgusting….

  • RBD

    Mike Gorman has Celtics in 5 too. He’s assuming the refs will let them play. His secondary pick is Lakers in 5. Which would happen if the refs called it really tight.

  • Mo

    Your logic seems to be the Lakers will revert to the mean, except when mean reversion is an improvement, but the Celtics won’t.

  • Mo

    Re: rebounding. The Celtics haven’t faced a lot of large front lines either. The Cavs and the Magic both employ stretch 4s not known for their rebounding. As for the Heat, when Michael Beasley is your 2nd best rebounder, you’re in trouble. The Lakers have 3 bigs that are legit rebounders.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    I’m drinking this koolaid. Go Cs!!!

  • Jay P

    I’ve been saying 6, only because of how incredibly hard it is to win 3 games in a row in the finals.

    Split in LA, 2/3 at Home. Take Game 6 to close in LA.

  • Jay P


    But both have dominant rebounding centers in Shaq in Howard, kinda negates the stretch 4 thing when you got those two underneath (ok, well Howard at least, I’ll give ya Shaq isnt what he once was.)

    The Lakers have one legit rebounder, Odom. Bynum is hurt and doesn’t have the mobility. Gasol is soft, he’s not going to outwork Perk or KG on the glass, period.

    Odom is a work horse, and he’ll grab some boards, but one man can’t do it all on the glass, just ask Dwight Howard.

  • Mo

    If you mean 2002 Shaq was a dominant rebounding center, I agree. However, in 2010 Shaq’s TRB% was 17%, lower than Gasol’s and Odom’s during the regular season and at 15% in the playoffs it’s lower than the entire Bynum*, Odom and Gasol trifecta. I agree that Howard is a beast on the boards, but Howard + Lewis is much less than any two of Gasol / Odom / Bynum.

    * Despite his injury, Bynum has been a beast on the boards during the playoffs. The injury has affected his offense much more than his D and rebounds.

  • Dustball

    Rebounding – the Cs have faced perimeter oriented, poor rebounding power forwards. Not top 5 in the league rebounding PAUer forwards.

    Lack of depth – If Perk or KG get in foul trouble, the Cs are in the same position… Sheed is the only player off the bench that can keep Bynum, Odom, and Pau from just shooting right over him.

    Kobe will come back to earth – Kobe is bothered by length. That is something your perimeter defenders don’t have. Unlike 2008 where the Cs were able to maintain defensive integrity by sending Posey at Kobe, this year will require constant double teams. While Kobe has played out of his skull the last month, he was being defended by bigger more capable individual defenders than Tony/Ray Allen.

    Cs can win anywhere – The Lakers were no slouch on the road either, but they did it in a conference with eight 50 win teams.

    Ron Artest isn’t as good on D as you think – Ron has had only 1 individual assignment and he shut him down. The guys you named as having above average series were exactly the players the Lakers schemed to allow to shoot. The alternative was D-Will,, Booze, Nash, and Amare. The only team with an offensive strength at the position he defends had their player shut down.

    Value of continuity – Ask the 90’s Bulls if fresh blood helped from time to time. Ron wants this bad. Sure Ariza would have wanted it, but there’s no way he would have been dying for it like Ron.

    We’ll see what happens, but all this looks like wishful thinking to me.

  • DRJ1

    I agree. Cs in 5.
    But if it’s 6, I’ll take it.

  • Mang

    Great post. I have confidence that Cs can somehow grind out a win even if Perk gets his technical, so I agree, Cs can do it in 5.

  • jonathan

    Your numbers about Artest are meaningless unless you look at splits showing those players against Artest vs other defenders. And if Artest has lost a couple steps, how would you describe what Pierce has lost? A handful maybe?

  • Cptn Bubbles

    #1 Barkley picked the lake
    #2 Hollinger picked the lake
    #3 We have more mojo
    #4 Nine out 10 dentists agree
    #5 We have a leprechaun
    #6 On the whole, we have better hair
    #7 We don’t throw our free foam fingers or other projectiles on the court
    #8 We have Gino & we are better dancers

  • Celtics in 3.

  • #9 We play defense
    #10 We have a better announcer….Seriously, have you heard L.A’s? Hes atrocious!

  • Cptn Bubbles

    You know, as our good friend Tom Petty always says, the waiting is the hardest part.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    @Josh……..wouldn’t it be great to have Tommy doing all the finals for ABC??? Passion & Objectivity!!!!

  • Dustball

    @Josh – Thank you! I wish more people would speak up about Joel Meyers (the Lakers announcer). He is truly AWFUL!! From Chick to Joel is what I imagine it must be like to be a Marlins fan… Great to wtf!? in 2.4 seconds. Ironically enough, the Lakers radio guy, Spero Dedes is fantastic and doesn’t look like a troll. I’d say if anyone had a face for radio it would be Joel.

  • David

    Actually the Thunder were one of the better defensive teams this season…they didn’t win 50 games because they don’t play defense. They gave the Lakers trouble and the Celtics are completely different beast entirely. Defense wins this. Celtics in 5.

  • DRJ1

    @Jason– I too am out here. It’s more than a little nuts right now, isn’t it. (I paid a small fortune, but I’ll be there… hope to get out alive 🙂

  • Cptn Bubbles

    uh-oh Joey Crawford is ‘calling’ the game

  • duane

    You must be sniffing paint my friend!!! The celts are OLD. Rondo will fold up when we put Kobe on him. Maybe the refs will KG for his fake warrior act for once. Paul Pierce will need 2 wheelchairs this game (Actresses all em)

  • dslack

    @JayP Gasol is European, but is he really so soft? He (with Bynum’s help) ate up Dwight Howard in the Finals last year. In Howard’s best game, he was 5-6 for 21 points, but aside from that, he was 5-10, 5-12, 5-9, and 1-6.

  • @ Dustball
    Haha thanks, I didn’t know his name. Also I really dont think I can take any more of Mike Breen’s “BANG” but…..Lets get this on!

  • Pau Gasoft

    I have been wetting myself every night for the past week and a half at the thought of Kendrick Perkins. I told Phil to whine about it to the refs so that he can save me with some of his Zen power. I can only hope that the refs will call a cheap tech on Perkins to get him a suspension, otherwise I’ll leave this serious sucking my thumb in the fetal position. =0

  • Andrew Bynum

    I’m not a tough post player with any physicality at all…….

    But I play one on TV in Hollywood!

  • Lamar Odom

    I’ve been having visions….

    Visions of what Glen Davis is going to do to me off the bench!

    Oh GOD!!! PHIL!!!

    PHIL!!!!!!!!!!! SAVE UUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sasha Vujacic


    I just realized this!

    If I throw an elbow at one of THESE guys faces…..

    I’ll be pummeled until my entrails are my out-trails!!!!


  • Phil Jackson


    I suppose people had to find out one day…


    I…rode the coat tails of the “best player” in the game of that time period in order to win my championships.

    In fact…I actually don’t know the first thing about coaching.

    I take tips from Larry the Staples Center Janitor.

    Yeah! I have a notebook full of his wisdom!

    That’s what I use when someone actually asks a basketball related question!

    And if I don’t have it with me! I just make space cadet comments to make people think I’m some sort of genious who’s too smart for anyone to understand my superior basketball intelect!

    But I had you fooled there for a while! Didn’t I!

  • lakerland

    @cptn bubbles i feel that goes both ways.

    @dustball i do love stu lantz though

    your facts about ron artest are wrong, he didn’t guard grant hill or jared dudley, those were kobe’s assignments, and he didn’t do a good job. ron is still a fantastic defender however. and his number is 37 now by the way

    lakers can win anywhere too…closing out all 3 playoff series away.

  • lakerland

    andrew bynum is not a tough player…hes freaking injured

    phil rode the coat tails of the greatest….doc didn’t win till he got 2 more all stars on his team….and even then his playoff wining % isn’t the greatest(unlike phil whos numero uno)

    i do hope sasha elbows KG in the face and gets disembowled…sasha finally does something good and KG gets suspended…its a win win for us

  • Cptn Bubbles

    @lakerland……Right, with Joey, it’s all about JOEY. He has ruined many a game with his little emperor complex. If you show the slightest disrespect he goes ballistic. Even Rajon got t’d, & that is a rare thing. Joey has his favorites & his Timmys. Surely, Stern can do better.

  • JQ

    Spurs fan, Thibodeau fan, Rasheed fan here. It says here that a key factor of the series will be Sasha Vujacic’s ability to somehow bait Perkins into receiving a technical.

  • complexity

    A) You have to be retarded to think this is going to happen if it does.

    B) Who wants to see this happen, really?

    C) Let’s stop predicting, and just enjoy the series.

  • complexity

    ***A) You have to be retarded to think this is going to happen even if it does.

  • Big Game James

    *cough* nice prediction.

    so, I assume you think they will sweep the next 4 games to make your prediction true? 🙂

  • dan

    celtics are done

  • rahul

    lakers will win in 6 if celtics can pull it together, otherwise 5

  • rahul

    *unless viujacic gets another game-changing flagrant lol

  • Lakers4life

    Wow nice prediction, you are a genius.

  • David

    haha, how does that in 5 look now? I am thinking you will be reevaluating your simply absurd prognosis now!

  • To the publisher i say. DUDE, wake up and face reality. LAKERS are going to humiliate your C’s. C’s in 5 LOL. L,s in 4!! Chew on that sucka

  • So glad we playing boston put they ass in a coffin, watch Kobe Bryany offem in the finals so often, always on fiiire keep’em chockin and coffin, thats California purple, that Laker purple in the air, c’mon everybody Paul Pierece needs his wheel chair, 3rd yer still here, overated nerds, this aint the 80’s man, we got Ron Artest, dont you know hes from crazy land, D-FENCE all crazy man, this aint no lazy man, all up in yo face like the ghost of of James Worthy. You aint hurd me, the home of the championship trophy, rollin down Figueroa on the bus with KOBE, dont ask my ring size you already know it, i got a drawer full, i might as well throw it.

  • klr

    this thread doesn’t hold true so far….does it?

  • Mike

    LOL, How did that “Buzz Saw” do in game 1?

  • Gil

    Really, this is going 6 or 7 games. Lakers come out on top. KG and his cheap shots are no match for Gasol this time. Artest won’t stop paul but he will slow him a bit and wear him down. Perkins and Rasheed will both miss a game because of the techs.

  • well since there gonna win in 5..i guess there gonna take the next four

  • My Heart Beats Inglewood

    Well this was a nice article for a second

  • John

    You rap sux first poster you illiterate punk. What a whooping game two and thenbthe sweep in Boston 9 and two goes to ten abd two laker punks

  • Kobe Bryant


  • Alan Younger

    Boston sucks and the Lakers proved who’s the better team. LA LAKERS 2010 WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!

  • Matthan

    Wow your really stupid. Bold, but stupid.

  • Jocelynn[lakersbby;


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