Finals MVP

I'm not saying that the NBA Finals is going to end tonight, but with the possibility that the NBA champion will be decided tonight it might be useful to at least start the discussion about who should be the Finals MVP if Boston were to win the series.

Now, several Celtics have put together some big games this series, including Rondo's career-high tying 16 assists, and Leon Powe's 21 points in 15 minutes. However, it is clear that the only real candidates for Finals MVP are the members of the Boston Three-Party...

Ray Allen- Allen surprisingly has been the most consistent Celtic of this series. In the 4 gamesthat have been played, he is the only one of the Big 3 who has scored at least 15 points in each game, and also has been shooting the highest percentage (52%). In how Allen has been scoring, he's been doing it in all ways possible. He's hit 3's (12 in the series), free throws (18 in the series), as well as been getting to the rim, a la last minute wide open lay-up of Game 4. Additionally, while Ray Allen can't be completely attributed for Kobe's 43% shooting, he has been more often then not been in charge with keeping up with him. I think Doc Rivers likewise sees how well Allen is playing and he's been playing a team high 43.5 minutes in this series. If Allen wins the MVP it will be for his consistency in this series, solid defense, and improvement in rebounding (6.0 in the series).

Paul Pierce- Pierce like all of his 9 year career in Boston, has been the heart and soul of the franchise. When Pierce went down in Game 1, Boston fans thought their hopes for a title had just slipped away. Amazingly however, Pierce came back inspiring his team along with 22 big points in game 1 to help the Celtics win that game. Additionally, with the injury possibly serious and most likely still bothering Pierce, he's still been able to play heavy minutes including having two other games with 20+ points. While Pierce did struggle in game 3, Pierce has done much to make his team better. While instilling his team with fire and energy, he also is averaging 5 assists game, as has been taking advantage of the huge matchup issues when guarded by Rad-man or Walton. On the other end, Pierce has been a good defender, and even better in the limited minutes he's been put on Kobe. Pierce has hit big shots, including tough fadeaways, and deep 3's. The Celtics would not be where they are without Paul Pierce.

Kevin Garnett- Kevin Garnett has been struggling, and especially disappearing in the 4th quarters of this series. Misleadingly it seems like Garnett is putting up the numbers with his 17.5 points, however has been averaging 19 shots a game for 38%. This poor offensive performance however can be overlooked with how Garnett has played on the defensive end. Garnett is averaging a team high 12.5 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks in this series, while at the same time has played stellar defense on Lamar Odom, and helpful weak-side defender on Pau Gasol. Additionally, he's still been showing what a great passer he is by getting his teammates involved dishing out 3.5 assists, More recently, Garnett has become more efficient and hitting shots in the 4th quarter (maybe he was just nervous about being in the Finals the first time), so it is possible he's picked up his game. Garnett has provided a lot of the intangibles and the defense necessary for the Celtics to win, however how much he's been struggling he probably won't win it unless he has a big Game 5 (6 and 7 if necessary).

Prediction: Paul Pierce so far should be the Finals MVP because he's provided a little bit of everything for the Celtics. The offense, the defense, and the intangibles. The Lakers defense has been focused on Pierce and he's played well in all games except game 3. If Pierce struggles again however it will easily go to Allen for his consistency, or if Garnett has a huge offensive and defensive game the award will be his. However, looking at how tight this race is, is a great testimony to how well all three have played this year, and how willing each of the Big 3 has been to defer to each other to step up and play big.

Picture Source: The Big Lead, TrueHoop, derok.net (respectively)

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