Lakers Vs Celtics: Rivalry Renewed Again In 2010
Here we are folks, the NBA Finals. Once again, we have a dynasty facing a dynasty as the Los Angeles Lakers face the Boston Celtics in a rivalry that sees both of these teams face off with boatloads of history between them. Before we witness these two teams battle in the championship for the 12th time, let’s take a look at everything that’s on the line.
There are 32 NBA championships between the two teams. Thirty-two. The NBA has only had a total of 63 championships. Boston owns 17 of those championships while the Lakers have 15—easily the #1 and #2 teams when it comes to titles. The next team with the most NBA championships would be the Chicago Bulls with six, and all are accounted for by Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson,who just so happens to be the Lakers head coach and owns 12 NBA championships, two as a player and ten as a coach. Jackson stands alone as the all-time leader in NBA championships and and has the best playoff-winning percentage.
While Jackson is padding to his historic run, Kobe Bryant is looking to cement his own legacy. The Lakers star is looking to win his fifth ring, which would break a tie with Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal and further solidify his place as the best player since Michael Jordan. Jordan is the standard with six rings but Bryant is chasing him down.
Did we mention that the NBA’s most storied rivalry as teams also has a history with two of the greatest players in NBA history? Magic Johnson vs Larry Bird defined the height of the rivalry in the 80′s and now Kobe Bryant vs Kevin Garnett looks to redefine the magic in the millennium.
The Celtics want to distance themselves from the Lakers with their 18th title and continue their dominance over the Lakers as they own a 8-2 record against their West Coast rivals since they moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s. What is most impressive about the Celtics is how many counted them out as they staggered into the post season as a #4 seed, written off with the supposedly much stronger Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks jockeying for position. But Garnett, Pierce, Allen and Rondo buckled down and are in search of their second NBA title, and are certainly not looking to bow down to the power Lakers.
Who’s going to win? Conventional wisdom would say the Lakers are the favorites, but I am leaning toward the Celtics as they feature a number of matchup problems for the Lakers. Rondo and Allen will give Kobe Bryant problems in the backcourt as Derek Fisher and his aging legs may not be able to chase Rondo or fight through screens to keep Allen from getting his jumper off. In the middle, Garnett, Perkins and Wallace should give Gasol and Bynum a number of headaches on both sides of the floor.
The X-Factor for the Lakers and Celtics are how well Lamar Odom and Paul Pierce play for their respective clubs. Odom has all of the talent in the world and if he is able to average double figures in scoring and rebounds, the Celtics won’t be able to stop the Lakers. When Odom shoots well, the Lakers are able to spread the floor and Odom’s height and ability to shoot the three forces the Celts to make some uncomfortable decisions with defending him. When Odom is on, life stinks.
Paul Pierce absolutely must show up in order to make this series interesting. While Bryant and Fisher will have their hands full with Allen and Rondo, Pierce will have Ron Artest and the wrath of Queensbridge all over him. If Pierce is able to outplay Artest, the Celtics will have options if and when Rondo makes his way to the basket. If Pierce becomes a three-point threat, Artest cannot help inside against Garnett and Wallace. With Rondo being no threat to shoot anything outside of ten feet and Allen making most of his points off the pass, Pierce will have to prove he can create his own shot and make the Lakers respect him.
Ultimately, the NBA Finals will be an enjoyable one when the series begins on Thursday. Who are you picking?