Saturday, January 30, 2010
Lakers vs Celtics Preview
Tommorow Afternoon the World Champs go into Boston for another showdown. These 2 storied franchises have the most championships in NBA history. In 2008 the rivalry was officially renewed when Boston stockpiled their roster with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett making them contenders over night. The Lakers traded for Gasol that same year and the two teams were headed for a collision course. Both teams met in the finals as Boston went on to win in 6 games. LA committed themselves to being tougher and made the necessary adjustments to get back to the finals. The Lakers did just that and beat the Orlando Magic in 5 games in 09' giving them 4 championships in 10 years.
Today, little as changed. LA is the premiere team in the West and in the midst of an 8 game road trip. By beating Philly last nite the Lakers improved to 4-2 on this current road trip. The Lakers have looked dominating but have also looked soft at times. It just depends on who's looking. With 2 losses to Cleveland many questioned LA's toughness and ability to play well in a physical game. New Acquistion Ron Artest has yet to consistently show why the off season trade made sense. Bynum and Gasol have yet to play well together as they continue to find chemistry. Lastly, Kobe has been nagged by injuries. A broken index finger on his shooting hand and back spasms have slowed the best player on the planet and made him less efficient. With all these setbacks LA has had the best record in the league the majority of the year and are still favored to repeat.
Boston has also had some adversity this year. Kevin Garnett has missed significant time with a hyper extended knee. This injury comes off the heals of knee surgery that sidelined him for the 2nd half of last season including the playoffs. The Celtics are showing their age. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Garnett are all approaching their mid 30's and are starting to slow. Rondo has come into his own and is leading the league in steals and is 3rd in assist. He has been the lone bright spot for the C's. Boston has also struggled against the elite teams this year especially Atlanta who just completed a season sweep against the Celtics. They are 0-2 in their last 2 games and they welcome the champs on Sunday.
I expect to see an extremely physical game in Boston tomorrow in front of a sold out hostile crowd. If Gasol and Bynum can play big and withstand the physical nature of the game I expect LA to win going away. Kobe will be Kobe but who from the Celtics will have a big game. I am also anxious to see how Artest will play against Pierce. That match up might be the key to the game. Boston needs this win bad to get back on track but the Lakers also need it to show that they can still dominate the eastern conference. This is easily one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports and might be a preview to the 2010 finals. Tip is scheduled for 3:30 pm est. Sun on ABC.