Thursday, June 5, 2008

Celtics Lakers Positional Breakdown

Here's the interesting part of this series: the individual matchups. Here's how it see it breaking down.

Point Guard: Rajon Rondo vs Derek Fisher
I don't really know who has the advantage here. Most would say Fisher should be able to outplay Rondo, at least offensively, giving the Lakers a big advantage. But I'm not so sure about that. I think that Rondo can stimulate the Celtics offense enough to have a big impact on the offensive end, even if he's not scoring. Fisher knows where the ball belongs (MVP's hands) which should make his job easy.

Advantage: Equal (As long as Rondo doesn't turn into the scared kid we've seen at times throughout the season)

Shooting Guard: Ray Allen vs Kobe Bryant
Um simply put, Allen can't guard anyone, let alone the world's best player.

Advantage: Lakers (huge)

Small Forward: Paul Pierce vs Lamar Odom/Vladimir Radmonovic
Here's the problem for the Lakers that I see as GLARING: who's going to guard Paul Pierce? Yes, Odom can give you good defense but over the course of a game, on an all-star player, he is likely to find foul trouble. It's happened before and I think the best thing the Lakers can do is put bodies and fouls on Pierce. Now I'm not advising hack-a-Pierce but they need to use their bench to stop/slow down Pierce.

Advantage: Celtics (huge)

Power Forward: Kevin Garnett vs Odom/Radmonovic (whoever doesnt guard Pierce)
Garnett is going to have a big series, I'm anticipating at least 3 or 4 games of 25 and 15. That may seem extreme but I see him being motivated and outplaying his defender throughout the series. Who off the Laker bench can come in and give minutes on Garnett? No one. Turiaf will definately be exploited when he comes in and Mbenga (if he even sees the floor) won't be able to play the 4 or 5 well enough to deserve minutes.

Advantage: Celtics (Biggest advantage in the series)

Center: Kendrick Perkins vs Pau Gasol
The most interesting matchup of the series for me personally. Perkins has done some things well in the playoffs and had some solid games. I don't think he'll outplay Gasol but this won't be as lopsided as it seems on paper. If anything, Garnett can help double on Gasol enough to really affect the Lakers offense strategies.

Advantage: Lakers (smaller than it seem)

Bench: Posey, Brown, Cassell, Powe, House, Davis vs Vujacic, Farmar, Walton, Turiaf, Mbenga?
This is another advantage that I earlier thought could be really exploited. The Celtics bench is so much better than the Lakers, leaving Phil Jackson to play his starters for more time than usual. Seriously, is Luke Walton going to give you 10 and 5 off the bench every night? Doubtful. The fact that the Celtics can avoid playing Cassell altogether and be better for it shows how solid this bench is.

Advantage: Celtics (this advantage will win the Celtics at least one game)

Coach: Rivers vs Jackson
Major advantage clearly to the man with 9 rings. Looking for the full two hands of rings, Jackson should be able to outcoach Rivers enough to where this series is full of close games. Jackson needs to give Bryant the ball in most situations and let him work off of that. Not waiting for the fourth quarter to give Kobe the proper treatment could also decide a game or two.

Advantage: Lakers

My prediction is still Celtics 4, Lakers 2. I think Boston wins the first 2 at home, LA responds with a Game 3 blowout, then blows Game 4, takes Game 5 and sees the Celtics win the championship in Boston in Game 6. My MVP is Kevin Garnett. If the Lakers somehow pull this thing out, it will be in 7 games and Kobe will have established himself as a top 5 player of all time with a 35 point a game series. This is the only way LA wins, unless Gasol and Odom can somehow outplay the Boston bigs enough to give Kobe a chance to take over in the end of games.

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