Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Lakers and Celtics are in the Finals

To prepare for the Finals, which start tomorrow, I'm going to do a player by player comparison to determine which team has the advantage in the series.

Home Court: advantage goes to the Lakers. However, both are veteran teams, and both played well on the road. So I'd have to say that I doubt home court advantage will be a big factor in this series.

Point Guard: Rajon Rondo vs. Derek Fisher. Rajon has had some monster games this season and also led his teams in WP. Derek Fisher is 35 and not much of a dribble penetration kind of guy. The Celtics have a huge advantage in Rondo v Fisher.

Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant vs. Ray Allen. Obviously, Kobe is Kobe, skilled at everything, and performing really well now that his knee is in better shape. The Celtics have Ray Allen, who is adept at moving without the ball, rolling around multiple screens, and hitting open shots. The problem for the Lakers is that it forces Kobe to spend energy on defense chasing Ray Allen. The problem for the C's is that Ray Allen will probably have to guard Kobe, which is very tough to do.
Small Forward: Paul Pierce versus Ron Artest. PP is a very good player, especially on offense. Ron Artest is a good player, especially on defense. Its a situation of one players strengths going against anothers strengths, which is rare. Most players make it to the NBA based on offense. Ron Artest was brought to the Lakers for defense. Also, Ron Artest has been hitting corners threes very well lately and playing under control. So while the Cs have the advantage when it comes to their best player, its not as much of one as I'd suspect. Ron Artest is happy to play like a pitbull all game against Ron Artest and nothing else.

Power Forward: Keven Garnett versus Pau Gasol. Advantage Lakers. With all due respect to KG and what he's done over the years, Pau is better. Hes much better on offense. However, same situation as the last position. Pau is great on offense, KG is great on defense. Tireless, relentess defense. Also, KG has always been a good outside shooter and has an array of post moves. Over the course of a season, Pau is better. A seven game series? Not as sure. Advantage Lakers, but not a big one.

Center: Two guys who are there for their defense, defending each other. Great. I expect 2.45 ppg for each player! Ha, we'll see. Between Kendrick Perkins technical foul trouble and Bynums knee problems, I expect both players to miss significant playing time this series. Advantage: No one.

6th Man: Lamar Odom vs. Glen Davis/Rasheed Wallace. Neither Cs sub has the combination of mobility and strength to match Lamar. He is also rebounding very well (see his 19 rebound performance against the Suns). Davis and Wallace both have their strengths, also Wallace has had back problems and is as likely to throw up a clunker of a game as he is a good game. Wallace does seem dialed in and focused, however. Advantage Lakers.

Bench: Both benches are erratic. The Lakers PGs may be able to help with Rajon Rondo ( Shannon Brown and Farmar) but beyond that, its a toss up as to which team's bench will have a good game and which one won't. Whoever blinks first losses the championship.

Coaches: Both veterans, both experienced. Doc Rivers had a reputation for being overmatched and incompetent before the Big 3 arrived, and he is now hailed as an amazing coach. Probably somewhere in between. Jackson's main coaching strategy has been to have Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Shaq, Kobe, and now Gasol, as his players. I thought Stan Van Gundy did a better coaching job last year in the Finals.

Prediction? I don't know.

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