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NBA finals, Celtics Lakers: 2010 ain't 2008

May 30, 2010, 9:59 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for Rondo_Fisher.jpgThe players are mostly the same. The franchises, the mascots, the colors, the pageantry, the history, the bad blood. All that’s still there. But this finals matchup is uniquely different from 2008 for five reasons.

1. The Lakers are better: When last these two teams met in the finals, the Lakers were less than a half season since the Pau Gasol acquisition. They were still figuring one another out, still learning each other’s tendencies. This team was not whole, as it is now. Furthermore, Andrew Bynum was out after knee surgery. Granted, Bynum’s still struggling with a faulty knee. But even in limited minutes, Bynum can be a huge factor, helping LA to dominate the glass and get easy points down low, two things the Lakers will need in this series. Ron Artest gives LA a wing defender they can sick on anyone and expect him to deliver. And he does.

2. The Celtics are better: You thought that 2008 club was tough? Try this one, that knows it’s a championship caliber squad. The Celtics simply have that much more swagger to their step this year because they know they’ve already gotten that ring, reached that summit, climbed that hill. They are not lacking confidence in that regard. They’re also more familiar with one another, and have learned different ways to beat teams. This is also a deeper club, with Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, and Glen Davis all providing significant minutes off the bench. This team is fiercer than it was 2008, as incredible as that sounds.

3. Rajon Rondo has come of age, Derek Fisher has become aged: Rondo has been phenomenal throughout the playoffs, arguably the best player in the league. Rondos’ shown a driving ability that can help the Celtics to not only attack the basket of LA but can open up opportunities for his teammates down low. It doesn’t take much for the Celtics to go into attack mode. Rajon Rondo is the high pitched squeal that lest the Celtics off. Derek Fisher’s having himself another playoffs full of huge shots. He’ll be called upon even more in this series to try and equalize Rondo’s contribution a bit.

4. Boston is better on the road and worse at home: TD Northbank Garden was a house of horrors for the Lakers in 2008, as they wilted in Boston time and time again. The Celtics are no longer unbeatable in Boston, losing games to Cleveland and Boston in the playoffs and it has become somewhat of an issue. The bad news is that they’re significantly better on the road. The Celtics have developed a knack for winning one of the first two games, stealing home court, and putting the fear of God into their opponent from the get go. LA has to hold serve if they want to put the C’s on ice.

5. The legacies are different: The 2008 Celtics were on a mission  to destroy everything. It was their first real chance at a championship, and when they realized that, they pushed their play to another level. But now the Celtics expect to in. They can point to that ring as the ultimate in validation. The Lakers on the other hand have just realized how good they can be at full strength, and are still struggling to get everyone at the same level.

Both teams are storied, both teams are champions, both teams are the cream of the NBA crop. We’ll have to see how this series shapes their legacy in the years to come.

176 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Kechekan - May 31, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    Wasn’t Kobe accused of rape and sodomy in Colorado? Wasn’t he married with children?
    Who in their right mind would root for this pig?
    I hope the Celtics destroy the Lakers.

  2. good series - May 31, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    Lakers don’t suck and have a lot more than Kobe. Pau Gasol is the best at his position in the NBA. Lamar Odem is the best 6 man in the NBA and is an all star. A 6’11” forward that can bang 3 pointers all day. The celtics can win but KG has to step up his game. He is not playing good offense. Celtics need a perfect series to win where the Lakers only have to be above average. I hope the celtics take down the lakers but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  3. CELTICS ALL DAY - May 31, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    how would the lakers win tell me that o i know because of gay kobe thats why you think they will win robert

  4. Kooooookoo - May 31, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    Think about how different the league was then and how different it is now. Yes, Michael Jordan is the best, but that time the NBA was pretty easy, had only a little amount of good players who played during the same era. All the others showed up when the other was retired. Now we got a handful of good players all playing in the same decade. So in ways Kobe is better and in ways Jordan is. They are not really too compatible.

  5. Fakers - May 31, 2010 at 7:41 PM

    What is not to like about the Celtics? Besides the fact they kinda took their foot off the gas the second half of the season, they are now rearing to go.
    Should be a classic series with loads of intensity from players and fan bases.
    To all of you who try to drag Kobe throught the mud. He was not convicted of rape. He was merely accused. He did pay off that young coed in Colorado to drop the rape charges against him. And he purchased a humongous diamond so his wife would forgive him. It is unfair to call him a rapist. Philanderer, cheater, aldulterer and sodomist are all okay.

  6. luffy - May 31, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    Obviousy by your words, you are a lowlife thug w/o a bit of a class. I don’t believe that you watch basketball everyday too but I you idolize Delonte West though. Why do dumbass people like you exist in this page?

  7. Anonymous - May 31, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    Say goodbye to a 2110 banner laker losers. The Celts D will shut them down, watch and whine Laker losers.

  8. Drew - Jun 1, 2010 at 12:17 AM

    I might buy your “but the league has changed” argument if you were talking about maybe the 50s, 60s, 70s, or even the 80s. But, the players of the 90s were every bit as good as the players are today. In fact, I would say the teams and players Jordan had to beat were better than Kobe’s competition. If anything, the competition and the rules were tougher for Jordan back then. Guys were every bit as strong as they are today. I mean, explain to me exactly what has substantively changed from the 90s players to today. More athletic? No. More physical? Definitely not. More skilled? I don’t think so. Smarter? No.
    With the exception of the Pacers, I think the finals’ opponents for the Lakers championship runs have been very average for contending teams, whereas the Bulls faced some serious competition.
    By the way, I cheered against Jordan in every single year of the playoffs so it’s not as if I have a bias. I’m just giving a logical observation.

  9. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 1, 2010 at 7:00 AM

    @Matt: You’re okay in my book. As far as I’m concerned you’re a fellow NBA fan. Getting tired of all these ad hominems. Makes me think that a number of them are still in grade school… oh well, I respect what the Celts have to offer, and I would like to thank the Thunder, Jazz, and Suns for making the LAkers look good. Only by beating the best can one validate one’s team’s greatness. Cheers!

  10. Matt - Jun 1, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    Hey, I just like to talk sports and I try to do in an objective fashion, however thats pretty hard to do when my home team is involved. You also seem like a pretty chill guy who want to do nothing more than talk bball. I respect that, even if you are pulling for the Lakers, lol. Cheers!

  11. Matt - Jun 1, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    Hey, I just like to talk sports and I try to do in an objective fashion, however thats pretty hard to do when my home team is involved. You also seem like a pretty chill guy who want to do nothing more than talk bball. Also I know how not to make it personal, unlike a lot of these people who are taking it personally. I respect that, even if you are pulling for the Lakers, lol. Cheers!

  12. Matt - Jun 1, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    Wait, who is with me here. I think the NBA refs are way too involved with the games. They call too much, even if it a slight brush on the shoulder after the shot is taken its called. This is why so many players can now become bitches, and why they’re always bitching at the refs when they don’t get the call they want. Especially the super star players. I liked the NBA better in the 80s when the refs didn’t call every little thing. Like McHale’s foul, I believe we all know what I’m talking about, when he clothes lined Kurt Rambis. In our day thats a flagrant and possibly a suspension the next game. Then it was just a normal foul. Thats how the game was played back then and how it should be now. Refs these days are to blame for player’s bitchiness, these are grown men playing, they can take a hit or two. I wish it was the way it use to be. Now I wasn’t alive for it, but I’ve seen 80s basketball and I must say the refs were much better then than now.

  13. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 1, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    As for the refs, well I tend to agree and I understand your point. Might as well just play chess, right? However if not controlled, you would end up with many career-threatening injuries. Pity the families who solely rely on a number of these players.
    BTW, Here’s a clip of one of my posts in the thread. Check out the Celtics/Lakers Legacy debate. Here it goes:
    You know, it just dawned on me since this thread is based on FRANCHISE ACCOMPLISHMENTS/LEGACY, I will take the Lakers’ 15 over the Celtics’ 17. Why? From 1961 to 1965 there were only 9 teams. From 1966 to 1968 there were 14 teams. By 1974, there are 18 teams… and so on and so forth. After 1969 the Celtics won 6 more titles as opposed to the Lakers’ 10. The gist is (are you listening Matt Moore?)the Celtics Dynasty was a big fish in a small pond while the Lakers’ dominance ever since the 70’s onwards is a bigger fish in a much bigger pond. I would put an asterisk on those 11 Championships prior to 1970. Considering the number of NBA teams during the Celtics’ Dynasty, wouldn’t that be an equivalent to playing roughly in today’s Conference? Wouldn’t the Lakers accomplished a parallel feat since it has been lording it over the Western Conference 19 times after 1969! How about numbers of games played in a season? Did the teams in the 60’s play and grind each season as much as today’s team would considering the number of games played? How about back to back games? Dunno about you, but I rather lord it over 29 other just as hard-working NBA teams as opposed to what? 9? 14?

  14. good series - Jun 1, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    Koooooko are you crazy saying players are better today than in Jordans Era. Shaq, Ewing, Hakeem, Duncan, Robinson, Mailman, stockton, Miller, Dominiq Kemp, Payton, Barkley, Iverson, KG, Drexler, Magic, Bird, Isahah, Penny, Grant Hill, I could go on forever. You are nuts. Kobe loses to Jordan in every statistic. Steals-Jordan, FG%-Jordan, MVP’s-Jordan, Scoring titles-Jordan, RPG-Jordan, APG-Jordan, PPG-Jordan, Triple doubles-Jordan has more in one year than Kobe’s lifetime, Highest PPG season-Jordan. Jordan won defensive Player of the year. 6 times championship MVP. Nobody should ever try and compare Kobe to Jordan. Its not even close. The only thing you can compare is Kobe’s offensive game and it ends there. Nothing else.

  15. Tony - Jun 1, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    i agree totally overated but they will eat there words especially about Kobe being better than M J. MJ never lost a finals, I will stop with that. Go Celtics !!!!

  16. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 1, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    I dunno how you arrived to the conclusion that the Lakers are overrated. The Lakers have been more consistent in winning in the past decade than any other NBA team. Your Celtics just won ONE TITLE after TWENTY TWO YEARS OF MEDIOCRITY and you think that you’ve been champs like forever! Twenty two years! That’s one generation of whippersnappers right there! If the Lakers are overrated, what makes that of the Celtics? What dictionary did you and Jim Bob the hillbilly use? Amazing. Totally amazing.

  17. Matt - Jun 1, 2010 at 8:01 PM

    They survived in the 80s, I mean its not football, this is not a contact sport. These guys would be fine, maybe a bit more banged up, but they would earn more respect. I’m not saying they should play no blood no foul, though I wouldn’t mind that, but I mean they’re sopose to be men.

  18. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 1, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    I’m all for that, dude. Hence, my chess comment. The crucial thing there is the consistency of the refs to make the call so that things don’t get too out of hand. I hate it when a foul is called just because of a minor tap. It’s like having boils in your body… just one tap and it’s gonna burst. Disgusting I know, but you get my point.

  19. Jahn Bielter - Jun 1, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    It is very clear that the LA fans who are calling the Celtics old and worn out and saying silly things like Steve Nash is many times better than Rondo have been living in a Western Conference-centric bubble and not watching the Celtics have their way with the Eastern Conference powerhouse teams. If the Celtics have shown anything it’s that it takes a TEAM to win, not just one or two superstars. And defense, like pitching, wins championships, my friends. Celtics in 6; possibly 5.

  20. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 1, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    I would say the same thing when Celtics fans say that Fisher is too old to guard Rondo. So what’s it gonna be? How convenient it is when such argument works on your favor and yet complain when the same argument is used against you. Make up your mind! Face it, THEY ARE OLD. If I were a Celtics fan I would say big deal, so they are old, but they would make it up in other aspects considering their experience. The reason why the Celtics thrive in defense is because they ARE OLD. Not only are they old, they’re “bulky” (read: Perk and Davis). They can’t afford to run with the young guns, They have to dictate the tempo and slow the pace.

  21. Jahn Bielter - Jun 1, 2010 at 9:02 PM

    It’s not a question of Fisher’s age relative to guarding Rondo, and kindly don’t put words in my mouth. It doesn’t help your argument. I ask again, have you been actually watching these old Celtics play in the playoffs? Because they wisely rested in the second half off-season and roped a few dopes in the process.

  22. basketballsjesus - Jun 1, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    guys, you need real topics to support why each team will win. check out what basketball4ever wrote on comment number 108. he put som key reasons showing why its so hard to pick a winner in this series. even tho you say lakers in 5-6 or celtics in 5-6 im pretty sure all you laker and celtic haters have SOME disbelief in your choice and you should check out those key things…

  23. Dummy - Jun 1, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    poop

  24. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 1, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    No. You completely missed it. The fact remains that they are old. You can’t dispute that. And Fisher is old too. My argument lies in the issue that people use age as a big factor in a finals series. By being in the finals age may well be a factor, BUT experience and savvy will be the bigger factor. Otherwise, how did both teams end up in the Finals after 3 rounds? And yes, sonny boy, I’ve been watching those Celtics series as well. Hence, I think that the Celtics need to control the tempo of the game and make it slow-paced. Celtics focused on defense (as it should be)as running is out of the question. Lakers can run and they can play it slow using the triangle. As for conferences, half the east are powerhouses while the west, let’s just say that our 8th seeded Thunder has the same record as your 4th seeded Celtics. Your records were padded by feeding off like vampires over your more numerous bottomfeeders. As for the West it’s a total grind as almost all of us have to face each other 4 times in a season.

  25. Matt - Jun 1, 2010 at 10:18 PM

    I think if it doesn’t affect the shot it shouldn’t be called. Oh and they should call flops,thats annoying to watch players get free shots because they’re good actors. This whole tap calling lead to flops, its ruining the game.

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