Boston versus LA is far and away the sexiest matchup basketball has ever produced. The record books speak for themselves, the titles between them illustrate that and the utter disgust for one another is pure gold. Lakers reserve guard Sasha Vujacic can’t stand the sight of green. Celtics fans can’t wait for their next opportunity to pelt a Laker bus. And that poor Boston fan that got belted by a chair by Lakers fanatics, would love nothing more than to throw it right back (YouTube it!).

From now until the NBA Finals end many of us will ask many questions depending on which team you’ll root for, and most of us will argue and debate. If there’s anything the 2010 playoffs have taught us, is that it’s pointless to predict a winner. But rather, belief in what you have breathes a more viable outcome.

As even as most of contenders appeared to be, we only got one playoff game that went to OT. We had one Game 7. We had the two best NBA teams (record-wise) bow out miserably. We had the this year’s MVP play the most remarkable game 3, only to put out the most pathetic, disinterested performance two games later. We had a Phoenix team that clearly overachieved. We’ll try and address those issues short n sweet.

Will Rajon Rondo be the Finals MVP if Boston win?
Check this stat line- (21 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 steals). Not only were those stats the last time he played LA in the finals, but Rondo has been near perfection these playoffs. When he’s on song Boston win, it’s that simple. Paul Pierce is the heart and Kevin Garnett is the soul, but Rondo is Boston’s clear cut stud right now. If Celts win, YES he’ll get the hardware.

Will Rondo break a sweat?
A mate alluded me to this during the season, but it’s somewhat true. How often to do you see Rajon sweat? We know KG has enough to create puddles, but this boy is squeaky clean every time he gets a close-up. If Rondo sweats, he’s in trouble – not.
(Ed note – In case anybody is having doubts, Rondo is NOT smoother than Ray Allen)

Can Kobe Bryant ‘Black Mamba’ Boston?
Only if (either two or all) Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum have double-digit games. If Kobe’s mates struggle, pack him up. This is not Phoenix and the Celtics defense will be too much.

Does Bryant’s career hinge on this series?
In a sense – Yes. His validity will be brought into question should the Lakers not come out on top of the Celtics this time around. Forget reaching Michael Jordan credentials, this is his greatest hurdle as a player and as a Laker. Can he lead LA past Boston?

What can LA be thankful for this time around against Boston?
That Vladamir Radmanovic is not on their roster.

Who has the better bench (out of the probables)?
In one corner we have the Celtics- Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson & Tony Allen and in the other the Lakers- Odom, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar & Vujacic. Pound versus Panache. Boston win’s out on hustle and effort. As anal as this will sound, I even simulated the bench matchups on NBA 2K10 and you guessed it, Boston still came out on top. RobD called it, thus I’ll also jump on his wagon.

Should Nate thank God in his in-game interview the next time he explodes?
Hell (no pun) NO he shouldn’t. First of all, thank Rondo for viciously hitting the deck allowing him to enter the game. Then thank Doc for keeping him out there long enough to turn the game, and then thank Jameer Nelson for letting him get that open time n time again. I prefer my religious shout-outs after titles have been won.

Who on LA’s roster is talented enough to do a Nate?
Lamar is King Scrub off the bench. But if they’re hoping for something deeper, then it’ll be Shannon Brown. I’ve said this before to mates, Brown is hugely underrated. Now’s his chance to prove it. I’d love to say Vujacic, but he’s regressed so much in the two years since he was firing off the bench.

Will Andrew Bynum be a factor?
Yes he will, as well as his knee. Look, he’s managed to make it through three rounds of the playoffs. Out of all the Lakers aside Ron-Ron, he’s been itching to get to this moment- Boston one, and title to play for two. Then again, we are flirting with the idea of past performances again. A 10-point, 10-rebound effort will be enough for LA to keep Boston’s bigs honest.

Can Artest quell Pierce?
There’s really no other way of putting this but as redundant as this sounds – No one can handle The Truth. Not for 48 minutes and certainly not a series. But on a game-winning possession, I’ll back Artest to make the stop. What a match up.

Will there be a wheelchair sighting?
Hey, this became a Willis Reed moment in the last series.

Does Phil Jackson look like Colonel Sanders?
Yes he does.

Will Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy bicker?
Absolutely. Jeff might even grab his leg, who knows?

Can Kendrick Perkins avoid another tech?
At this stage, I’d give him the finals MVP to him just for overshadowing Sheed’s count.

Is the Lakers PA announcer super-boring?
Lawrence Tanter has never inspired me. Probably because I’ve measured all PA’s projection to that of Ray Clay or John Mason. This guy droning, monotonous voice gives you reason to wanna Beat-LA!

Does LA have the killer instincts to “convincing” beat up Boston?
Let’s bring you back to the 2008 series. In games Four and Five of that series LA twice had 20 point leads only to see Boston claw back both times, one saw them get up, the other they didn’t quite get over the hump. The Lakers are good enough to ride pockets of heat during a contest, but to sustain it is another thing. Let’s just hope Vujacic isn’t on the floor when LA is up big. Ouch.

Who should be the favorites?
How LA were favorites last time around astounded me (Rob D asked himself the same question after ’08). The Kobe-MVP- factor tipped most in their direction but Boston clearly had them covered on paper, and as it turned out everywhere else. The Celtics should be the favorites and really should put the Lakers away again. They generally controlled both series’ against Cleveland and Orlando before landing the knockout blows. Again, going on past performances has been risky in this postseason. But let’s face it, Boston has LA’s number come the championship rounds. A Herculean performance by Rondo (and we know he’s capable of that) will nullify anything LA has. It’s a huge call, but that also include Kobe. Boston has peaked, is healthy, hungry and just more talented.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

« « Previous Post: Backing the Green
» » Next Post: NBA Finals Game 1: Pau! Right in the kisser