Friday, June 6, 2008

Five reasons the Celtics will win the NBA Championship:

Reasons the Boston Celtics will win the NBA Finals:

1. Defense. Boston has the best defense in the NBA. Period. Their help defense is some of the best I have ever seen – which will be huge against a team who moves the ball as well as the Lakers do. Boston has the best interior defender in the league in Kevin Garnett. Look for Gasol to have to score more off of the pick and roll and cutting to the hole after penetration to get his points because Garnett will be able to adequately guard him straight up. Boston won’t win shootouts with L.A., so defense is the biggest key for them to win. The Celtics did a great job on LeBron (other than game 7), so it will be interesting to see how they do against Kobe. The Celtics get stops when they need them; can they stop Kobe in crunch time?

2. Paul Pierce. Garnett is going to average about 20 and 10, so Pierce will be the difference maker. Will the Lakers put Kobe on Pierce? Not likely – Pierce is stronger than Kobe and the wear of guarding Pierce one-on-one will take its toll on Bryant. Fisher might guard Pierce at times, but Pierce has a few inches on Fisher and can post him up. Kobe and Fisher will probably rotate on and off of Pierce during the game as the Lakers look to defend Pierce by committee. No one on the Lakers roster can match up with Pierce (other than Kobe), and if he plays big, look for Boston to win.

3. Home Court. Boston has not fared well on the road in these playoffs after posting the best road record in the league during the regular season. It looks like the Celtics finally began putting it together on the road against Detroit, but the Lakers are a whole different ballgame. Obviously, if Boston protects its home court they win. Boston has only lost once at home during the playoffs and no one has put the Lakers in a hole yet this postseason. If Boston can win the first two games, it will put pressure on a relatively inexperienced Lakers team to win. The 2-3-2 format means that if Boston wins the first two, L.A. will almost have to win 3 straight at Staples. Plus, Boston has already won 2 game sevens at home.

4. Kobe Bryant. If Boston’s defense can make Kobe feel like he needs to win games by himself, the Celtics will win this series. This is the biggest stage, and Kobe wants to be remembered. He wants to be MJ. If Kobe goes into me-against-the-world mode, the Celtics will win. The Lakers are here because they play so well as a team. If Kobe forgets that, Boston will be raising another banner.

5. Rebounding. Boston has a big advantage on boards against the Lakers. Los Angeles was outrebounded handily by Denver and Utah but better talent won out. Boston dominated Detroit on the boards and will probably do the same against L.A. If the Lakers don’t do a better job on the glass, Boston will limit the Lakers to one look and will get second opportunities consistently. The glass could be the Lakers downfall.