Wednesday, June 4, 2008

NBA Finals

While I realize everyone and their brother will have an opinion about this series, nobody will do it quite like me. Ok, everyone will, but I get to put curses in my entries and they can’t.

Lesson? I fucking rule!

Celtics and Lakers are back at it after a 20 year layoff and I couldn’t be happier. Let’s get to the tried and true rundown. Let’s hope this turns ugly at the end of game 2 and suspensions are handed down at the beginning of next year’s regular season. Expect any Lakers fans attending the Boston games to be slaughtered, too. I mean that literally. Hide the fact you like the Lakers unless you want to be hanging next to the 16 Celtic banners by your own intestines.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

POINT GUARD: Will Rondo show up with his speed, confidence and ability to create chaos? Or will Fucking Rondo show up with his lazy lob passes and inexplicable decisions? Fisher is a stable vet who can knock down open shots, but there is no way in hell he can keep up with Rondo. If Rondo realizes this and uses his speed to get past Fisher on a regular basis then the Celtics are looking good.

That said, the triangle offense isn’t really built around the point guard. Christ, BJ Armstrong won three championships with Jordan’s Bulls and he was average. At best! Figure Kobe will most likely be bringing the ball up. More on him in a second.

Advantage: Celtics.

Wild Card: Eddie House who will hopefully take over Sam Cassell’s spot in the rotation. I can’t fathom Cassell seeing anything besides garbage time in this series.

SHOOTING GUARD: Let’s see Kobe Bryant vs Ray Allen. Holy fuck are the Celtics screwed here. Hopefully the Celtics will employ the same defense they used against LeBron in Games 1 and 2 of that series and just double team Kobe every time he crosses half court. If Allen can shoot like he did in the last two games of the Detroit series, the Celtics should be fine. But there is no way Allen will be able to guard Kobe one on one. Hell a good defender can’t guard him one on one.

Advantage: Lakers.

Wild Card: Tony Allen. Supposedly he’s hurt, but if he can provide 10 minutes of physical abuse on Kobe….ah, who am I kidding.

Wild Card #2: Kobe reverting back to selfish Kobe. Or him trying to prove some random point by not taking any shots (remember the Suns game, Lakers fans?) or demanding a trade halfway through game 2.

Random questions: Do you think every female hotel attendant in Boston is receiving self defense training just in case Kobe ‘invites’ them to his room? How about free mace around the neck? Does his wife have a tracking device on his ankle? What sort of chant will the Boston crowd invent for him?

SMALL FORWARD: Paul Pierce vs who? Luke Walton? I like him as a player, but that’s a horrible matchup for the Lakers. Trevor Ariza? Ira Newble? The way I figure it, Kobe and Pierce are going to be matching up against each other. If you’re Doc you don’t want Ray Allen guarding Kobe and if you’re Phil Jackson you don’t want any of your three SFs guarding Pierce. While they technically play different positions, they are the same size and have played against each other in the off season. Why not match them up?

Advantage: Celtics, but only if the Lakers try and play someone other than Kobe on Pierce.

Wild Card: James Posey who, when played, can kill a team from three point range and step up the defensive intensity. Think he sees time against Kobe? Me too.

POWER FORWARD: This is a great matchup. Garnett vs Gasol. Two pieces that were acquired by each team to put them on top. Not only have they turned their respective teams around, they’ll be directly facing each other. The problem for the Lakers is Garnett is probably going to eat Gasol alive, digest him, shit him out, then finger paint with his remains. Am I the only one that sees Gasol cowering in three point land afraid to get near the basket? One Garnett dunk on his head or one shot he takes that KG sends to the balcony and he’ll be lost for the series. While Gasol is a good passer and decent shooter, he doesn’t seem to have that tough mental makeup. Garnett is going to take this matchup as a personal challenge and psyche Gasol out.

Advantage: Celtics

Wild Card: There’s a good chance Doc will complete out think himself and put Perkins on Gasol. While this isn’t a terrible move, Perkins won’t get into his head like Garnett. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen, because I’m rooting for the first Finals nervous breakdown at the foul line.

Wild Card #2: With their lack of true centers, Phil Jackson may start Gasol at that position and go small against the Celtics. In which case, who matches up against Garnett? Here is where the absence of Andrew Bynum is really going to hurt.

CENTER: Kendrick Perkins started showing some passion in the last few Detroit games. If he can keep pounding the boards and shoving people around in the paint, then the Celtics could be very happy when this is all said and done. That said, he is probably going to be the sacrificial lamb in the ‘hard fouling Kobe rather than letting him dunk’ scenario. Expect him to be in foul trouble during some of these games. A lot of foul trouble. On the other hand, who is the starting center for LA? Mbemga?
Advantage: Celtics

Wild Card: Chris Mihm, who could be looking for payback against the Cel…..ahahahahahahaahahhahaha, I almost got that out with a straight face.

COACHING: Doc Rivers. Phil Jackson. Doc Rivers or Phil Jackson. The only consolation I’m taking in this matchup is that Jackson doesn’t seem like he even gives a shit whether he wins any more. He just sits on the bench looking like an inflated version of himself. Other than that I’m terrified….TERRIFIED…that Phil Jackson is coaching against Doc Rivers. It’s like Bobby Fisher playing chess against Elmo.

Advantage: FUCK!!!!

Wild Card: Cardiac Arrest.

BENCH: The Celtics have loaded their bench with a nice combination of veterans how have been here before (Eddie House, James Posey, Sam Cassell, PJ Brown) and young players trying to prove themselves (Leon Powe, Big Baby, Tony Allen).

On the other hand, the Lakers have a young, athletic bench which will give the Celtics fits (please see Atlanta series). One can only hope that the bright lights and pressure of the Finals will rattle the young ones.

Advantage: Lakers, but only by a little

BOTTOM LINE: This is going to be a typical Celtics – Lakers series. Games will be close. Blood will flow. Children will cry. I will be highly entertained and tired since the games won’t start until 9pm (What the hell?!!). It’s hard to tell what matchup is going to be most crucial, but I have my thoughts. It involves the two men that are sitting on the bench.

You know. I just remembered that Eli Manning’s team beat Tom Brady’s 18-0 team in the Super Bowl this past year. That the Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit against the Yankees a few years ago (perhaps you heard about that). That Antoine Walker and Gary Payton both won rings with the Miami Heat.

Maybe Doc Rivers besting Phil Jackson wouldn’t be so strange.

Prediction: Celtics in six. Please….make it so…..

Today’s distraction: AskMen's Top 10 NBA Finals Matchups. While I hate to argue any of these, why is a sweep on the list and not the Suns/Bulls matchup? Lame, AskMen, Lame.....


French said...

Toe-to-toe blogging, JB? I don't know if i can keep up with your virility but I shall try.

I'll give you my x-factors for this series:

1. Perk. It wasn't necessarily that he started exuding this passion against D-town, he just happened to log consistent, foul-free minutes and therefore he was able to get into a rhythm. When he has confidence, he's actually s serviceable offensive guy and you know he's gonna bang all day. But his youthful spirit/idiocy gets him those stupid reach in fouls following a missed layup or what have you. If he can stay on the court, he'll be a key factor. And I like him on Gasol because he'll beat him down physically and most likely make Gasol wish he was never born.

2. Ray-Ray. If he continues to realize his stroke and make transition baskets, the Celtics will win. But he needs to be aggressive and get to the line, like Paul does. But we both know PP will get his and KG, too. It's Ray we need to hope will get into a groove. And he most likely won't be on Kobe...I can see some different matchups being employed there, but wouldn't it be nice to see Doc throw KG on him when Lamar or Pau is on the bench?

3. PP in LA. It's no secret that Paul plays his best ball in and against LA. He's back home, he loves to compete against the Lakers and he loves to beat them and show up the home crowd. I cannot wait to see him bark at Nicholson after roping a three in Kobe's eye.

4. The Laker's O v. The C's D. Intrigue here, lots of it. They are not going to stop Kobe. But if they can shut off the Lakers' perimeter game, I like the C's in the post battle. See Perk.

French said...

Oh, and my prediction also happens to be C's in 6.

BeachBum said...

Yeah, the Celts definitely have the advantage in the post. The real key to this entire thing is how Gasol responds. At some point he's going to go up for some layup and get hammered. Or Perk will put an elbow in his ear while they're fighting for a rebound. If that scares him out of the paint, the Lakers have no chance.

Hammen said...

It's gonna be one hell of a series. As French so aptly stated, my boy Pierce loves playing in LA, he's going off. Jesus Shuttlesworth vs. Kobe? Love it when they go at each other, those two have some hatred for each other, that alone may elevate Ray's game (hopefully.) I'll be rooting for your boys. Hard.

BeachBum said...

I heard that there is a movement afoot to get a chant going when Kobe is at the foul line:

'No means no'

Please, make this happen, Boston crowd.

Clayton Bigsby said...

I just got done watching game one. My sister asked me before that game who I thought would win. I said Lakers in 5. Wish I had my pick back back after watching Garnett and Pierce tonight. They want it more.