The Celtics and the Lakers feuding rivalry started a new after Boston dismantled Detroit onward to a face off with the well rested Lakers.
Boston have been into a series of downfalls which started after drafting Len Bias as their no.2 pick and Len died just 48 hours after the draft. The drought went on for 22 years with only 4 playoffs appearance on 1996-2007. Last season Boston went on a record by losing 18 in a row and just when the series of bad lucks are starting to sum up the Celtics got Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and the once gloomy season started to brighten up as Boston is just 4 games away of coveting another NBA championship.
The Lakers had to go the harder way as they started from scratch after the Kobe-Shaq era. The Lakers with Phil Jackson went into a series of first round exits and after the emergence of Andrew Bynum and acquisition of Pau Gasol and returning guard Derrick Fisher. The Lakers was all business again. Kobe started to trust his teammates and his teammates reciprocated with ferocity on the court.
The Lakers as a whole is a more gelled team compared to Boston. There were no big changes made on their line up with Phil Jackson sticking to his rotation. Game 5 against San Antonio was a barometer on how good this Laker team is… Down by 17 points on the second quarter but Phil Jackson stick to his bench and they delivered. Its just goes to show how deep and how confident Phil Jackson is to his bench.
Boston struggles when the three superstars (Garnet, Allen and Pierce) struggle. They have to go through two game sevens to teams on which they easily beaten before the playoffs.
The main factor would be consistency, Bench plays and determination on winning the NBA championship. Boston who was believed to ease their way out on the playoffs struggled along the way and Lakers silence the critics after knocking the defending champions 4-1 topping the powerhouse Western conference.
Key for Boston Win:
–Garnet, Allen and Pierce should average at least 70 combined points for them to win
– Play hard nose D on Bryant. Bowen made Bryant a shooter and let Kobe beat him up through shooting. He made Bryant missed shots by throwing his body and putting a hand on Kobe’s vision and although Kobe was contained but we all know Kobe is like a time bomb who is waiting to explode anytime. Paul Pierce and James Posey could alternate assignment on Bryant the key to guarding Kobe is to be physical and play smart.
– Motion offense rejuvenated. The Lakers could run and are good offensive rebounding team Boston should use the Motion offense with lesser isolations and more passing. Isolation plays could lead to an easy fastbreak points in which the Lakers are pretty good finishers.
–Bench contributions. Boston needs Sam Cassell, James Posey and all the Celtics bench to help more on the offense and to free up Ray Allen and Pierce on the offensive end. Contributions need not be on points but overall team play so that if ever Garnet, Allen and Pierce struggle they still have a bench to count on.
Key for Lakers Win:
– Pick ‘n Roll with the triangle. Kobe don’t have to worry about throwing the ball high with Gasol’s long arms. Triangle offense is at its best with two long and athletic forward and center in Odom and Gasol. They are good passers and could shoot the ball well from mid range. Setting Kobe some high picks and sliding down for a rebound or an assist. This is an underrated offense but prove to be effective in their San Antonio series.
– More Odom. Lamar needs to step up because he creates a lot of mismatches. Although in this series he needs to step up more on the defensive side since he will have his hands full against KG. Lamar also needs to play smart since the Lakers cant afford Lamar to be in foul trouble. Watch out for Lamar sliding on to the small forward position with Gasol on KG and Turiaf on Perkins.
–KOBE. Yup he ain’t the league’s MVP for nothing. Kobe can score but he can also pass, rebound and play defense. In order to win Kobe just have to be himself like he always do.
–Gang rebound. The Lakers are good fast break team they have been successful against the Spurs because they score a lot of second chance points. They will have to duplicate their feat again this time against the Celtics who is also considered to be a good rebounding team.
Boston has gone a lot of drastic changes and Im so happy seeing them on the top. The Lakers-Boston rivalry is just the beginning of a lot of things to come in the NBA. The starters of both teams are equally paired but I think the key to success is the bench contributions. The Lakers proved to be the most durable team by winning and even closing series on the road. Boston relies more on their home court advantage going to the series. Although both teams deserved to be winners but there should only be one victor.
Although Boston is a powerhouse team but going into two game sevens in the weaker Eastern Conference proves their cloak of invincibility is diminishing. If they want to succeed then everyone needs to step up the Lakers is the more tested team between the two and with a deeper bench they are likely to win the coveted Larry O’Brien cup.