Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lakers in 5

My prediction could not be more clear. The Celtics are good, but several of their players (Rondo, Perkins, Garnett, T.Allen, Wallace, Daniels) are in various stages of recovery from injury, and Perkins risks suspension every time he tussles in the paint. Kobe Bryant is supposedly suffering from various ailments, but his performance in the Utah series and Phoenix series resembled Michael Jordan in a way I've never seen from any other player. Andrew Bynum can only give about 20 minutes per game due to a knee injury, but he does better when playing without Pau Gasol on the floor, anyway.

Who on the Celtics will score the ball? Perkins cannot score with his wrist injury; he has averaged 5.6 points in the postseason, down from 10.1 in the regular. Moreover, Bynum/Gasol can surely contain a reduced Garnett. Artest will do a much better job containing Paul Pierce than Vladimir Radmanovic or Lamar Odom could in 2008. Rajon Rondo has obviously improved greatly since two years ago, and he will likely carve up the Lakers' parade of inferior defenders: Fisher, Farmar, Vujacic, Brown. However, if Rondo is scoring, he is not distributing, and his teammates may grow frustrated. It may fall to the Celtics' reserves — Davis, Wallace, and Nate Rob — to spark Boston's offensive flow.

Boston can still play excellent D, but Los Angeles now has Bynum and Artest as additional offensive options compared to their '08 squad. It is hard to imagine Ray Allen containing Kobe Bryant's endless array of feints and parries, even if Bryant tires somewhat chasing Allen around curl patterns at the other end.

The Lakers have grown fat and happy since 2008, as Lamar Odom, Sasha Vujacic, and even Andrew Bynum have found some measure of womanly companionship. However, the stern bark of Kobe Bryant will keep them focused on the prize. Boston is very good, but the Lakers are better.

No comments: