NBA Finals Preview: The Roundtable

A simple question proposed to the IP Sports Staff. Who wins the NBA Finals.

Tierney: Based on my limited NBA knowledge, I’m going with the Lakers in 5. They’ve put together a strong team around Kobe that will be difficult to play against.

Joe Violet: Given the bad blood between the two teams that stems back to a couple of years ago in the finals, it’s bound to be an emotional and exciting series. I believe what we have here is a case of the Celtics’ tough defense against the Lakers’ explosive offense. In this case, I think the defense will hold out and wear out the Lakers. Both have depth, but I think in this case, it comes down to the defense. Celtics in 6.

Rod: Not a basketball expert either but, I pick the Celtics to win it in 7 games, Rajon Rondo’s magic and talent will drive the Lakers crazy and set his teammates for a big series, the talent in both sides makes will make it a very competitive series without a doubt.

That Bootleg Guy: No matter who wins, America loses. I grew up in Los Angeles in the 1980s during the epic Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale vs. Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy wars and I hate both teams. In truth, my irrational bile is mostly directed at the two teams’ insipid fanbases. Fans of the Lakers are cut from the same cloth as Yankees and Red Sox supporters. Passionate? Yes. Self-absorbed? Obnoxious? Myopic? Hell, yes, yes and yes. Today’s “die hard” Celtics fans only discovered this current incarnation in 2008. Red Sox fans actually found their own team – and the game of baseball – four years earlier, so credit where it’s due, I suppose.

I actually hate the Lakers a wee bit more than the Celtics, so take Boston in 7 and another insufferable summer from ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons.

Michael Sloan: I say Lakers in six. They have homecourt, the best player, the best coach and they will give Boston trouble with their size. If they can handle Boston’s perimeter trio (Rondo, Allen, Pierce), which they should, then it will be a lock.

Trent Scott: The Celtics win this one in six for a couple of reasons.

First off, Boston plays this thing called “defense” that apparently no one in the Western Conference has ever heard of. The closest attempt that a team made to that weird playing style was the zone that Phoenix used from game three on. The fact that all the games featured 100+ – 100+ scores tells you how well that truly worked out.

Second is the fact that unlike anyone else that L.A. has played in the postseason, they don’t have the inside advantage that they have had with Gasol, Bynum and Odom. Bynum looks set to be used sparingly, which means the most potentially dominate inside man is out. That gives the physical Boston interior more working space to hammer the crap out of anyone willing to drive the lane. Kobe Bryant better get the armpads out now.

With the interior not in the Lakers’ corner as it has been, Kobe Bryant becomes the be-all, end-all player for L.A. While he will take on the challenge of whoever Boston throws his way, he’ll have to be ready to be physically beaten up if he tries to take it to the lane or even when he’s getting around trade-offs on screens. Boston will bring the game to the Lakers, and, assuming that Boston is relatively healthy, will dust them off in Tinseltown.

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