David Stern’s dream match-up between the Boston Celtics and our Los Angeles Lakers is just a few days away. After conducting an interview with Boston SportZ and thinking a little more about the upcoming, I am nearly one hundred percent positive that the Lakers will win the series in five games. Here is my rational.
1. Nobody can stop Kobe Nobody on the Celtics can slow down Kobe Bryant. They just can’t and the only way he’s going to be stopped is if the Celtics put seven guys on the floor. So far in the playoffs, Atlanta Hawks’ Joe Johnson and [[Detroit Pistons’ Richard “Rip” Hamilton were able to score at will on any defender that the C’s threw at them. If Joe Johnson and Rip Hamilton are giving Boston problems than wait until they try and slow down number twenty-four. There is no reason why he shouldn’t be able to score at least 35 per game in this series. Because of this, look for Bryant to exert himself, especially late and in close games, which will become a huge edge in their favor. In an evenly matched series, the team with the best player wins often, and Kobe Bryant is unquestionably the best player in this series.
2. The athleticism of Gasol and Odom The Lakers have a huge advantage with their frontcourt’s athleticism. While Kevin Garnett can certainly match up well with either Lamar Odom or Pau Gasol, it will be increasingly difficult for Kendrick Perkins to match up with either of them them. Against the Utah Jazz, Odom proved that he is more than capable of playing well against stronger, more physical defenders like Perkins. Pau also poses a matchup problem for Perkins because of his agility and touch around the basketball. Both Odom and Gasol are quite athletic and will be able to run with the Celtics if needed to. Plus, they have an excellent outside shot and are able to drive to the basket with relative ease. I question how effective of a defender Perkins is when he’s fifteen feet away from the basket. Look for Boston to struggle to contain Gasol and Odom.
3. Phil Jackson > Doc Rivers With Phil Jackson at the helm, the Lakers have a huge coaching edge. The Zen Master is one of the best coaches of all-time, and is currently within four wins from earning his NBA record 10th Title. Doc Rivers was nearly run out of town after last season’s dismal record and many Celtics were fans calling for his head. He is also relatively inexperienced when in comes to playoff basketball, as this is the first season that his team has made it past the first round. Because of his experience and superior knowledge, look for Jackson to exploit all of the Lakers advantages.
Now, you’ve heard me. What’s your pick?