Wild Pitch: NBA Finals Preview

I don’t always watch the NBA Finals.  It’s not always exciting.  But I will watch the Finals this year.  I will watch every game.  I will watch every game because, ladies and gentleman, this is basketball.  This is the best Finals matchup the NBA has seen since the Pistons-Spurs series of 2005.  These two teams deserve to be in the Finals and it’s not only the history that draws me to the games, it’s the teams’ skill level.  The Lakers are far and away the best team in the league.  They are a powerhouse that is looking to be the NBA’s next dynasty.

It’s not just Kobe and it’s not just Phil.  Everyone on the team is playing his heart out and it shows on the scoreboard.  The Celtics are a team to be reckoned with and will bring some stress to Los Angeles.  Boston has a stellar starting five but the way they win comes almost directly from their bench play.  Players like Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, and Kendrick Perkins make the Celtics the second best team in the league.

This series will not be about Kobe.  Nor will it be about Boston’s big three.  Those were the story lines of the 2008 series.  This series is about the Lakers and the Celtics, which is why I’m so excited about the Finals this year.  As much as Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett will contribute to their respective teams, they will not be able to win this series.  The competition is too good.

In 2008, The Celtics were an experiment, a hugely successful experiment.  Similar to the 2002 Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, the Celtics made a major roster overhaul that resulted in the acquisition of several superstars needed to win them a championship.  It only took the Celtics one year to win a championship, but they did not go on to win back-to-back championships (which I don’t think anyone assumed they would do.)  The following year, the Lakers found themselves in the NBA Finals but Boston did not, instead Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic went on to face off against the back-to-back Western Conference finalists.

Over the past three years, the NBA has been dominated by either Boston or LA, the two teams are the power teams in their own conferences.  Granted, there are many other very talented teams, namely Cleveland who has the best player in the world on its roster.  The other teams can’t get it done in the playoffs, however, and once again, for the twelfth time in NBA history, we find ourselves watching a Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals.  These teams have dominated the NBA like no other teams in any other sport and their history and talent seems to coincide perfectly in this series.  Both teams are hungry for a title.  I don’t know if it will be a great series.  It could even be a sweep.  What I do know is this series will feature the best two teams in the league playing their hearts out on the basketball court and that is something worth seeing.

My prediction is that the Lakers win it in six games.  LA is the best team I have seen in the league in many years.  They look better and more fluid than even the Spurs teams of the early 2000s.  Boston is a hell of a team but I don’t see them winning in LA.  Home court advantage will mean everything in this series.  Also it’s nice to have Jack sitting right next to your bench.

-Dr. AJ

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