Let’s get it on.
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are going to do it again. I know everyone wanted to see two-time NBA MVP LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers (for now) and Kobe Bryant go at it, but hey, seeing two teams renew their rivalry is the NBA Finals isn’t too shabby.
In 2008, the Celtics took the Lakers out in six games and in the series-clinching Game 6, they just ran them out the building with a 131-92 victory.
Two years later, the Lakers and Celtics meet again, but this time, Los Angeles comes in as the defending champs and unlike 2008, it has the home-court advantage this time.
The two teams are essentially the same from when they faced each other in 2008. You’ve got the Big 3 for Boston and Kobe Bryant is still the best player between the two teams.
Here are the differences.
1. Rajon Rondo is now a star. He was a role player in 2008 for the Celtics. Now Rondo is someone the players trust and can make it happen. He’s a pace setter, makes key plays on defense and has shown in these playoffs the ability to put up big scoring nights.
2. The Lakers have Ron Artest and although the guy is a straight head case, his mind is in the right place right now. He’ll be key in guarding 2008 NBA Finals MVP Paul Pierce.
3. The Celtics have Rasheed Wallace and he’s in Boston for this time of the season. The guy can make big shots and force the Lakers’ big men to play him on the post. Having back issues right now, but if he’s healthy, that will helps the Celtics in a big way.
4. Doc Rivers no longer has to prove himself to be a great coach. He is and that makes him a more difficult challenge for Phil Jackson. Jackson has more rings (10 to 1), but Rivers is a guy who has a greater connection with his team than even Jackson does with the Lakers.
5. In 2008, Pau Gasol has been with the Lakers for just half the season because he was acquired in a trade before the trade deadline. Now Gasol knows he has to play big or feel the wrath of Kobe. Gasol has disappeared in the fourth quarter of the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Suns, but the Lakers still prevailed. He can’t vanish against the Celtics.