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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. AnAgingCelticsLineup - Jun 9, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    Wow, the fact that you are a Nick fan in itself shows you know nothing about basketball.
    Thanks for impressing us with your completely unsupportable and ridiculous claim of correctly predicting past finals winners, which you cannot possible prove.
    Did you also predict that the Celtics were going to crumble on their home court in game three? Man they looked old and slow.
    Did you successfully predict that Kevin Garnett would figure out how to get his shooting hand out of his bra-strap so he could score?

  2. good series - Jun 11, 2010 at 6:42 AM

    Celtics looked horrible on offense. I never seen so many missed lay ups especially in a finals. Big baby playing great. Rondo can’t even hit free throws. Until he learns how to shoot free throws and 3 point shots he’s nothing more than a good point guard. Lakers had an off game and still would have won if Bynum played the second half. Kobe caught fire and made some incredible 3 point shots. I can’t see the celtics winning game 5 in LA. It will be interesting to see. I imagine the Lakers will blow them out by 10 or more.

  3. Matt - Jun 11, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Its amazing on how many easy buckets the Celtics missed and they still won. I also think it is amazing how Sheed got that foul when he was in the air about three feet away from Gasol. These refs are racist; the foul (lets be frank, they’ll make them up) will be given to Gasol if guarded by a black guy (which is the whole Celtic team) But the refs have been horrible this entire series, and the Celtics have had a few bad calls favor them (not as much as LA though), so you can’t expect that to change. This game proved that even if Kobe and Gasol get theirs the Lakers won’t necessarily get the win. As long as the Celtics play as a better team the Lakers will be in trouble. We take game 5, drop game 6 and it all comes down to game 7. The refs will stay out of game 7 because thats all the NBA wanted and there is no reason to fix that game, as long as its good they could care less who wins it. I am smelling a repeat of ’69, which these playoffs resemble the most of all Laker Celtic match ups.

  4. Matt - Jun 11, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    I’ll show up, but its going to be when Bean Town holds that trophy. I expect you to be here when that happens, its a two way street.

  5. Matt - Jun 11, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    Hey, I think you’re wrong. Lakers can’t do it in 5. I think its going to take at least 7 for either team to take it; its such an even series.

  6. anonymous - Jun 11, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    the celtics suck dick! to the ones who are laker haters, get over yourself!

  7. luffy - Jun 11, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    My Bad, I’ll take back what I said, watching the series has been fun and I agree now that it’s gonna go 7 games, down the wire, a series for the ages. Just hope/wish Bynum could go 100% again though, just for 3 more games…
    To anonymous, please… enough w/the foul talk, respect for both teams, just enjoy the series…
    Lakers in 7…

  8. good series - Jun 12, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    I agree with Matt the refs blow. I don’t know about being racist but they are defintely blowing calls and then trying to make up for it by making another call to even it out. Let these guys play. Kobe gets a charge call on the celtics when he is falling down and then Pierce charges Kobe in the end but they call the foul on Kobe to make up for the blown call earlier. Gasol is also a bit annoying with his flops. He is one of the best power forwards I have ever seen at offense and he needs to play like a man. Quit dropping on the ground every time your touched. I hope the Celtics can win game 5 to make it interesting but I sense a blowout.

  9. Matt - Jun 12, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    The racist thing was a joke

  10. good series - Jun 13, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    Game just started. I forgot they are playing the 2-3-2 series. I think this works out great for the celtics and changes the whole thing. I don’t think the lakers will win by 10 and if the celtics win tonight they will have the momentum. I hated the 2-3-2 until now. I think it works in the greens favor.

  11. good series - Jun 14, 2010 at 6:15 AM

    Yeah Kobe was great but failed to get his team in the game. I think thats what seperates Kobe from magic. Kobe may have beaten magic one on one but put magic on that same team last night and it may have been a different outcome. Kobe was spectacular though. I think those comments from Phil Jackson may be the inspiration that carries the celtics to the finish line. I guess if they won those comments would have worked in the Lakers favor but now it just might be what fuels the celtics in the end. Defense win championships. Bulls, Pistons and Celtics are living proof. One more game big green and everyone will be shocked. I hope they take it in 6. If they do I think Phil retires and the Lakers may have some time off from the top.

  12. Rondo1 - Jun 14, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    How many championships will Rondo win in his career. He has the heart of a champion and playing around all these future all stars he has grown into one of the best if not the best players in the game. He is 6’1″ and got 18 rebounds in a game over guys 7′ give me a break he has that that ability that makes superstars great he knows where the ball is at all times and where the ball is going to be. His new name should be THE ONE

  13. scir91onYouTube - Jun 14, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Pau Gasol scored a bucket for the CELTICS in Game 5, and they showed him (the camera focuses on the player who just scored as they run to the other side of the court) as he went to his own field goal but they credited Kevin Garnett for the basket. you guys forgot that?? lol.i guess the nba was too embarassed to show that replay as it went to commercial.

  14. Good series - Jun 14, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    Rondo is good not great. His abilites are incredible but until he learns to shoot the 3 pointer, regular jump shot and free throws he will never be anywhere near as good as Magic, Isahah and plenty others. If he could learn to shoot these shots especially the deep ball he would draw out defense and his passing lanes would open up huge. If he can learn to shot he will be a potential hall of famer. He has the game but has to make buckets. He has to. Especially free throws which point guards usually perfect.

  15. Matt - Jun 15, 2010 at 11:10 PM

    Possibly the most embarrassing game in Celtic history; this was just horrible, hopefully, like in every other the Celtics will come back after a loss and this win will be their 4th win of the series and their 18 championship.

  16. luffy - Jun 16, 2010 at 4:06 AM

    being a Lakerfan, I’d say nice game for the Lakers but there’s still game 7, both teams are back to square 1…
    2 things for the Lakers, momentum and homecourt advantage, that’s it…
    Bynum is really impressive, no complaints, no excuses, but he continues to play w/all his heart. he deserves this title, they deserve this title…
    Kobe, nothing more to say, injured finger, knee, no excuses, continues to play hard and lead his team, they really deserve this one…
    Lakers in 7…

  17. good series - Jun 16, 2010 at 7:20 AM

    Lakers bench just shine at home. They look confident and extremely comfortable. Bynum is a true warrior but I fear he may be damaging his future for success today. He could be a great one if he stays healthy. Celtics looked horrible. Can’t make lay ups. Do you see how they leave Rondo all alone at the 3 point line. If he learned how to make those shots it would change the game for them. Oh well celtics need to dig deep and give it all they have on defense. I would love to see the green holding up the trophey but it will take all they have to do it. Ended up a good series. What more could we ask for as fans.

  18. Kayoss - Jun 16, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    Weak Western Conference???? Have you been watching the NBA this season? The western conference had a higher winning teams than the Eastern Conferences. There are teams on the Eastern conference that shouldn’t even make it to the Playoffs but since half of the Eastern conference teams had a losing record they had to put someone in to fill in the missing gap. There are only 4 good teams in the Eastern conference boston, cleaveland, orlando, and Miami. The rest are garbage c’mon if the bucks made it to the finals that mean the eastern conference have are weak.

  19. good series - Jun 17, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    7 point spread on the game. That is a lot of points for a game 7. Looks like everyone is expecting a blowout. Boston always has a bit of luck on their side.

  20. good series - Jun 18, 2010 at 12:05 AM

    Unbelivable game. I got so pissed off at one point but had to cool off because the celtics played outstanding. They gave it their all. Who in the world would have thought that Ron Artest was going to have the game of his life. He is the only reason the Lakers are holding that trophey. Kobe almost lost that game for them until Phil told him to stop trying to do it all. Ron Artest was brilliant. The Lakers owe him the keys to the city. I have never seen Kobe so bad in a game, moreless a final. Not only shooting terrible he must have turned the ball over 10 times. Kobe and Pau missing free throws and Sasha took pressure free throws that nobody wanted on that lakers team and just drained them. Hold your head high celtics you gave a great lakers team hell at home. Good job Lakers this is one you will never forget.

  21. good series - Jun 18, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    The celtics were in the penalty for 7 1/2 min in the 4th quarter. 37 free throws for the Lakers to 17 for the celtics. I think Doc was outstanding but made some mistakes yesterday not trusting toney allen or robinson to give some relief minutes to the other players. Ray allen played great defense but was exhausted and you saw it in his shooting. Those three fouls shots they gave Kobe were B.S and then artests 3 pointer was a dagger. I don’t live in L.A or Boston so I was just looking for a great series and I got it.

  22. E. C. Griffin - Jun 20, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    Boo hoo… Get out the handkerchiefs. ‘Nuff said!

  23. 2ShoesJohnny - Jun 21, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    “Celtics could win this in four, but will probably take six.”
    HAHAHAHA! Nice call tard.

  24. 2ShoesJohnny - Jun 21, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    “Lakers will choke… They would have lost to the Cavs or even the Magic. They have zero chance. Completely overrated.. They play in the weak Western Conference..”
    Good call there “Jim Bob”. Your pick was as horrible as your name.

  25. jazk - Jun 22, 2010 at 10:03 PM

    funny reading now all these predictions of how the Lakers can’t win against the Celtics. There was reason to believe these two teams would fight it out till the end. Lakers had respect for who they were facing and that probably was the Celtics biggest mistake. Pierce saying he wouldn’t be back to L.A. after taking one game there, that was b.s. and he had that comment stuffed back down his throat in game 3. The Celtics were not prepared for game 6 or game 1 in any shape or form. They got clobbered in those two games. The Lakers (or at least Kobe) fought every game they lost to the very end. These Lakers were the better team this year against a better Boston team from 08.

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