There are some people out there waiting for my NBA Finals prediction and seeing as the series starts tomorrow, I better do it right? I’ll approach this from a player to player match-up standpoint as I believe that key match-ups are one of the best ways to breakdown a series especially once you get to the NBA Finals. The number of superstars and other talent between these two teams is truly remarkable, so by breaking this down through match-ups, this should give you a pretty good idea of where this series will go.Matchup 5: Fisher vs. Rondo
Advantage? Lakers. My favorite match-up of the series! Rondo has been thrown to the wolves all season long and Fisher is the cagey “vet” who’s seen it all before. I still expect Fisher to man-handle the poor young one. Fisher is a physical beast and defensively will lock down Rondo which will force the Boston offense to be at a standstill. Without Rondo acting as a true point, Allen has been off, Pierce has worked way too hard, and KG has been forced to do everything else other than score. Fisher is my #1 key and if he can stay out of foul trouble and suffocate the hell out of Rondo, this could be over with quickly.
Rather than looking at every single match-up possibility (including bench players), we’ll take the starting fives from each team and bring it straight!
Matchup 1: Gasol vs. Perkins
Advantage? Lakers. The Celtics may have to throw Garnett on Gasol if Perkins can’t handle the load but that will only open things up for our next match-up. Perkins may be an underrated defensive player, but Gasol is the far superior offensive talent and will dominate this pairing. With Kobe running wild and various Celtics chasing, Gasol should find tons of open space and freedom in the key. On the other end of the floor the advantage is still with the Lakers seeing as Perkins is absolutely atrocious on offense.
Matchup 2: Odom vs. Garnett
Advantage? Celtics. Odom has been one of the most overrated players in recent history and if I hear another commentator talk about his “potential” I think I’ll probably punch something. Garnett will have torn him a new *bleep* hole when this series is through. The guy finally gets to an NBA Finals (most likely his last) and you don’t think he’ll bring his A+ game? I’d back down now Mr. Odom or this could get real ugly.
Matchup 3: Radmanovic vs. Pierce
Advantage? Celtics. Paul Pierce has bled green for almost 10 years now and has dreamt of the moment he got to face the Lakers for an NBA Championship. You think Vlad Radmanovic, the snowboarding pro, is going to handle his hunger? Pierce has carried Boston the entire Playoffs and I expect him to do the same during this series. If Radmanovic can’t handle it, you may see some Mamba shutting down Pierce. (If that happens, I’d be afraid Celtics fans.)
Matchup 4: Bryant vs. Allen
Advantage? Lakers. Do we really need to cover this one? Ray Allen is by far one of my top 5 favorites of all-time, but with his vaginal shooting slump and poor individual defense, I expect Kobe to be putting up record numbers. Kobe is poised to set himself apart from some of the greats and the only way he can do that now is by rackin’ up NBA Chips. If Allen somehow gets off and that sweet stroke finds its chocolate then this match-up could get interesting. As for now, Bryant should be able to relax on “D” and focus on terrorizing the Celtics like he’s done all season long.
Through those 5 match-ups we’ve got a 3-2 edge leaning towards the Lakers. Now here we come with the magic scoring system to breakdown where this series will end up and my final prediction!
Take 3-2 and look at that like a series score. (Lakers 3, Celtics 2) If this is the case, and assuming the series goes on a 2-3-2 schedule, the Celtics would have game 6 at home. But you also have to look at Bryant and Fisher taking games 4 and 5 which would put the Lakers on quite the tear leading into game 6. To put them over the top, we’ve got to look at the other key match-up that we almost left out; the coaches.
Matchup 6: Jackson vs. Rivers
Advantage? Lakers. Phil is Zen. He has a vacation home in Montana. I’m from Montana. My Dad had a beer at some random brewery last summer on Flathead Lake (in Montana) and sat right next to him and managed to call me to brag about it, so this is where Phil takes the cake. Oh, and he has 9 NBA Championships to Doc’s…um….you get the point.
There you have it! Lakers in 6! (Stop sounding excited…we hate the Lakers.)