Posted on: June 16, 2010 7:22 pm
This is what every kid dreams of. The biggest rivalry in all of basketball coming down to a pivotal Game 7 in the Finals, for the biggest prize in the business.
Both team's centers are banged up, one (Andrew Bynum) will play through his injuries, while the other (Kendrick Perkins) will be forced to watch his team compete from the sidelines. Not to mention Kevin Garnett's knee, Kobe Bryant's finger and knee, etc, have made this 2010 NBA Finals a battle for the ages.
The Boston Celtics have owned the L.A Lakers in the past, leading their NBA Finals series 9-2. Celtics fans believe that history will repeat itself, Laker fans believe that their Laker team is one like no Boston team has ever faced. One can't argue that the players believe the same notion.
Still, every basketball fan in the world has to enjoy the climax of the NBA Finals: the Game 7 in Los Angeles. The series has been a see-saw battle from the start, the Lakers dominant win in Game 1, to Ray Allen's performance in Game 2, to Derek Fisher's heroic performance in the 4th quarter of Game 3, to the Celtics taking Games 4 and 5 from the Lakers in Boston, to another dominant Laker win in Game 6 to set up the showdown on Thursday night.
Each team has had their fair share of trash talk about eachother. Pau Gasol has motivated Kevin Garnett with his comments that KG has slowed down, and Paul Pierce has refused to acknowledge Ron Artest as a reason for his struggles in the Finals. Kobe Bryant has appeared calm at times, notably in his post-game press conferences, but if you watch closely, you can see the pure anger, frustration, and passion bursting through his face during games. And not the same emotion you see during the season, or in any other playoff series.
Somewhere, Bill Russell and Bob Cousy, along with Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, reminisce over their finals battles. Magic and Bird must talk to trash to each other every day. Kareem and Bill Walton, both UCLA products, must hate each other. Think about it, with the heavily linked history between the Celtics and Lakers, how could the first finals of the new decade not include these two teams? How could the decade not start off with arguably the biggest game in both Laker AND Celtic history?
The keys for both teams are to play with heart like they have previously in their victories at home. The Lakers need Pau Gasol to assert himself, for Ron Artest to knock down open jumpers, and for their bench to provide a spark of energy in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. The Celtics Kevin Garnett to play 3 years younger, for Paul Pierce to score, and for Rajon Rondo to shred the defense with his playmaking.
The persistence of each team through the regular season and playoffs ends here. Both teams have clearly been on cruise control to get to this point. Now is the time for both teams to push their foot on the gas as hard as they can. They have nothing to save for, no game to look ahead to. Now is the time to leave it all out there on the basketball court.
The winner of Game 7 will not be determined through statistics. Kobe Bryant may score 50 points, but that won't be the real reason that the Lakers could win. Rajon Rondo could have a triple double, and that won't be the real reason either. It comes down to who wants that title more, who absolutely despises their rival the most, and who will put the most of themselves out there to win a game.
The Lakers have not overcome the doubts of their thorough defeat in the 2008 Finals, while it may look like a 6 game defeat, it felt like a 5 1/2 game defeat, as the Lakers still have a sour taste in the mouths over the 39-point embarrassment in Game 6 of the 2008 Finals. The Celtics have been the victim of doubts all season, winning 52 games, just barely recieving homecourt in the East, and critics crowning them as the old men of the Eastern Conference. Having been picked to lose every playoff series in 2010, the Celtics have proved that they are still the class of the East, despite their regular season struggles. Having been called soft and unmotivated, the Lakers have proved that they can beat anyone when rolling on all cylinders.
The popular theme for previous NBA Finals has been "David vs Goliath", but this series has proven to be a "Goliath vs Goliath" dream matchup that will likely play out until the last minutes of the last game.
On Thursday, June 17th, history will be made. In the biggest game for each team, and the biggest game for the NBA since "Jordan's last game", who will come out victorious? The Lakers are dominant at home, only losing one game at home this postseason, while the Celtics are decisively better on the road, with the second best road record in the league this season. It's a toss up, and I'm sure David Stern will be beaming regardless of the outcome.
Peace, and much love to you.
Posted on: May 4, 2009 4:20 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2009 4:24 pm
1. Cleveland Cavaliers vs 8. Detroit Pistons
This was, essentially, something to occupy the Cavs in preparation for the second round. Now, the Cavaliers aren't the team of destiny, but the aged Pistons have clearly fallen off the map this year. The Cavs didn't allow the Pistons to crack 85 points scored in a single game in their 4 game sweep. Every victory was won by double digits, solidifying LeBron James' MVP season.
Respect to the Pistons backcourt players[Stuckey, Hamilton, Bynum] for not giving up on their season and scoring for their team in the hopes of a victory, but clearly, Detriot's time has passed and they were swept with ease.
4. Atlanta Hawks vs 5. Miami Heat
Two teams that finished off the season with completely different stories. The Hawks started off hot but coasted at the 4th seed for most of the season, and the Heat shot up into 5th place with the acquisition of Jermaine O'Neal.
This series wasn't as much of a dogfight as most of the 6 and 7 game series were this year, but it was a back and forth affair where they would both come out and get a double digit victory. But, the Hawks came out on fire in game 7 and put Dwyane Wade's Heat out of comission.
3. Orlando Magic vs 6. Philadelphia 76'ers
I thought this series was underrated. This series was a dogfight until game 6, where I think that the Sixers thought they had an easy win, but weren't expecting the Magic to come out in full force. They had a excellent chance to force a game 7, but most[including me] were already looking forward to a game 7 in orlando with all the marbles on the line for the Magic.
Philly is also a young team with a bunch of potential that could propel them to elite status within a couple of years, especially with a healthy Elton Brand next year, they can possibly grab homecourt in the first round, with the Celtics not getting any younger.
2. Boston Celtics vs 7. Chicago Bulls
One of the greatest first round series of all time. Mad respect to the Bulls for not backing down against the champs and giving them a serious run for their money until the final couple of minutes of the game 7. Ben Gordon has really proven himself as a big time performer and scorer, and I think everyone will agree when I say that the Bulls have loads of hidden potential. Some might say that if the Celtics had KG that it would have been a completely different series, but the Celtics are still an elite team without him, and it should not take away from the valiant effort that the Bulls put up.
Neither team had a glaring edge in this series, and this series is what playoff basketball is all about, neither team willing to give an inch, and the Celtics managed to prevail with their smart play and timely scoring/defense. Should be up there with the classics.
1. Los Angeles Lakers vs 8. Utah Jazz
Clearly not as easy of a matchup as Cavs-Pistons, but the Lakers still won this in 5, even though many experts thought this would go 6. The Lakers had a tough matchup, playing against a team that had a top 4 seed at a point in the season, and the Jazz are probably one of the top teams in the league at home, shown when they won their single game at home in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz proved to not be a cakewalk, and they exposed some of the Lakers' weakness, like holding leads and consitent defense, but their relentless hard play as a team helped keep the Lakers in gear as they moved to the second round.
Nice to see Andrew back, even though he looked rusty, getting into foul trouble and such, but the Lakers still have a great amount of confidence in their Baby Beast.
4. Portland Trailblazers vs 5. Houston Rockets
Mild upset. This was a good matchup, but I thought that the Blazers would prove to be just too talented for the Rockets to handle. Boy, was I wrong. Yao and Artest stepped up big time in a defensive series, and the Rockets managed to prevail in 6.
The Blazers may be a tad disappointed, but they are another young team who will be in the playoffs for many years to come, and they will most likely be in the second round next year.
3. San Antonio Spurs vs 6. Dallas Mavericks
I'm not used to this. The Spurs getting eliminated in the first round? In only 5 games? Much respect to the Mavs for being able to beat a dynasty in the Spurs, even without Manu Ginobili. With Josh Howard back in full force and averaging 18.8 PPG, the scoring trio of Dirk, Josh, and Terry, combined with their leadership at Point Guard, the Mavs can pull off an upset and make it to the WCF.
However, for the Spurs, like the Pistons, their time has passed. Tim Duncan is in the twilight of his career, Manu isn't getting any younger, and he's still injury prone, so even with Tony Parker in his prime, unless the Spurs get younger and more athletic, they're doomed until they get bad enough to pick up lottery picks.
2. Denver Nuggets vs 7. New Orleans Hornets
I'm honestly surprised that the Hornets won a game, and I'm more surprised at the play of the Nuggets. They are not playing around. The Hornets high in points in a game was 95, and that was their single win in game 3 at home. The next game, avenging their loss, the Nuggets came out and beat the Hornets 121-63, telling the world that they mean business and are ready for a championship.
On the Hornets side, they really need to get another piece for CP3, even though David West, an all-star should be enough, he doesn't contribute enough on defense, and apparently refuses to play center for his team. I look for them to be very active in the off-season, because they don't want a disgruntled Chris Paul causing a ruckus for a trade after getting embarassed in this series.
Posted on: February 25, 2009 6:36 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2009 6:02 pm
I'd rather have the Clippers land a top pick over them winning enough games to get a low-end lottery pick, because it always seems that this team is cursed with injuries. CURSED. Maybe it's because Dunleavy refuses to play his bench? Or the starters try too hard? Who knows?
With the unpredictable season, and the one win, 5 losses, pattern this team has followed, I wouldn't be surprised if a 7-10 game losing streak comes about after a win up in Oakland.
Busy week this week, and a back to back to end it...at least they don't leave California.
25 games left in the season.
Games for this Week: (2-2)15-45
Feb 23rd vs. Warriors ---> Won 118-105
Pleasantly surprised. Held a potent offensive team to just 105, and that's saying something for the Clippers. They went to a 4-guard lineup, against a small team, and it really improved their ball movement, as they won the assist battle 30-23, and had 5 people with 4+ assists, topped off by Baron's near triple double. With Cambyman and Ricky-D off the bench, the bench had some nice spark, and the starters didn't have to play 40+ minutes, but they were still up there.
Nice to see Mike Taylor coming in towards the end. But they can't be too happy about this win, they have a big one Wednesday.
Feb 25th vs. Celtics ---> Won 93-91
25 pts - 9 rebs -10 asts - 4 stls 27 pts - 7 rebs - 5 asts 27 pts - 11 rebs - 2 blks
Feb 27th @ Sacramento ---> Lost 86-98
The Kings have a lot of new faces, and Nocioni played well the last game and looks to be easing in quite smoothly. Kevin Martin is still a huge threat, and Spencer Hawes can't be allowed to have a breakout game on them. Defense is the key.
1-11 vs 5-4.
Feb 28th vs. Bobcats ---> Lost 95-100
Quote(s) of the Week ---> TBA
Peace! And Much Love To You.