Series Predictions

In making my prediction of the 2008 NBA Finals, I thought it would be good to evaluate the particular matchups of the series.

The Starting Five

Rajon Rondo vs. Derek Fisher
Rondo is an up-incoming 2nd year player who's grown tremendously in this past year. Playing with 3 all stars has really taught him to elevate his game. He also has tremendous defensive abilities.
Derek Fisher is proven winner. With contributions to the three previous Lakers Championship Fisher knows how to get it done including in .4 seconds.

Advantage: Lakers

The knock on Rajon Rondo is his suspect shooting (34% in the Conference Finals). He's going to have wide open looks throughout the series, and he hasn't proved he's been able to knock them down. On the complete opposite end Fisher will doubt his the big threes (55% in the playoffs) especially if Rondo goes to play help defense.

Ray Allen vs. Kobe Bryant
Allen is a 8 time all star. Bryant is a 10 time all star. Allen is a prolific shooter, Bryant is a prolific scorer. Ray Allen is a great player, but anyway you put it Bryant is the better player (execpt maybe Ray Allen's phenomenal free-throw shooting).

Advantage: Lakers

Kobe Bryant...you can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him. Also, Allen has been struggling to find his shot most of the playoffs. His new sleeve has helped, but won't help him outscore Kobe Bryant.

Paul Pierce vs. Vladamir Radmanovic
Paul Pierce, the franchise player of the Celtics, been here through the good times and the bad. However he's become a proven player scoring at least 10 points in every playoff game this year except one.
Rad-Man. Bad hair, bad contract. Good three point shooter, but never has been a complete player. Best years unfortunately were still with the Sonics.

Advantage: Celtics
In the same way, no one can stop Kobe, Radmanovic won't be able to stop Paul Pierce. Paul will be able to get into the lane with ease. Don't be surprised if the Lakers run a whole bunch of players at Paul including Walton or better defensive player Ariza.

Kevin Garnett vs. Lamar Odom
Odom is one of the most versatile players in the league. He's so skilled in so many departments, but shown in Miami that he is best as a complementary player. In LA he's been great complementing Kobe, doing all the little things to help this team win.
Garnett is loved for his passion and fire for the game. He is one of the most skilled big men in the league around the post and with the midrange jumper. It's great to see Garnett finally be recognized for his amazing defense by winning Defensive Player of the Year.

Advantage: Celtics
Like the two guard matchup you have two very skilled players, unfortunately one happens to be one of the bests at the. Odom will have to try to keep Garnett of the boards, but if one things for sure, Odom will not be able to stop Garnett from getting his points.

Kendrick Perkins vs. Pau Gasol
Perkins is a very active defensive big man giving a great performance in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference. If he can stay on the floor and not get in foul trouble he should give Pau difficulty.
In the two games the Lakers lost this year, Pau Gasol was not on the team. As one of the most skilled big men if was a disaster for Memphis to give him away for next to nothing.

Advantage: Lakers

In the one matchup between the two players this regular season (Memphis vs. Boston) Pau was held for 3-13 shooting for 12 points. Kendrick is going to have a hard time repeating that defensive effort, especially since Garnett won't be there to help out. So I expect Pau to score and pass well in this series.


Celtics Bench vs. Lakers Bench

Eddie House (3Pt Threat), Sam Cassell (Great Veteran), James Posey (Defensive/3pt specialist), Leon Powe (Active Big Man), PJ Brown (Veteran Big), Big Baby Davis (Skilled Rookie Big)
Jordan Farmar (Solid 2nd year), Trevor Ariza (Defensive Athletic Wing), Luke Walton (Skilled all around player), Sasha Vujacic (Turning into a good scorer, and good antagonizer), Ronnie Turiaf (Best cheerleader in the league, and energy player).

Advantage: Celtics
When your backup big is Ronnie Turiaf you have problems. The Celtics bench just have a mix of more skills and experience.

Doc Rivers vs. Phil Jackson

Advantage: Lakers

Zen Master has done it 9 times already, while Doc Rivers was in the hot seat for his job this year. No question about this one.

Celtics Experience vs. Lakers Experience

Advantage: Celtics

Lakers have at least been to the playoffs in the last few years, however all three key players (Garnett, Allen, and Pierce) have all been deep into the NBA Conference finals before. They also have key veteran player PJ Brown and two former champions Sam Cassell and James Posey who've done it before.

With my matchup analysis at 4-4 it's going to be a competitive and close series. I'm calling Boston in 7 though, because Allen, Pierce, and Garnett collectively want this so much more all having suffered through recent NBA purgatory aka rebuilding.

Boston: Game 1,3,5,7
Lakers: Game 2,4,6

Have we ever seen a finals that teams alternated winning every game?

Picture Source: Nba.com


Christopher said...

Pierce has never been to the finals... what are you talking about?

Christopher said...

none of them have been to the finals...and I don't think Ray Allen has ever even been to the conference finals

Lakers have at least been to the playoffs in the last few years, however all three key players (Garnett, Allen, and Pierce) have all been to the NBA finals before.

Double L said...

Thanks Christopher, I was actually referring to them all having been to the Conference Finals.

Christopher said...

no problem - but when was shuttlesworth in the conference finals? on the bucks?