Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thoughts Before Celtics/Lakers Game 1

Here's a few things too keep an eye on both tonight and moving forward:

  • As much as it drives me crazy, it's more than likely that Kendrick Perkins is going to miss a game in the series due to picking up a technical. I'd be stunned if he now goes more than 4 games without a tech after watching how fast the refs are with these inane Double Technical calls that aren't even for bad conduct.
  • Even if Perkins misses a game, though, the Celtics have interior depth that LA doesn't. Now that Bynum's showing some serious knee problems, they're going to be even more shorthanded. If the Celtics have to play primarily with Wallace and Davis, they're not really screwed against the less physical Lakers (like they would have been vs. Cleveland or Orlando).
  • Look for the Celtics to try hard to run a lot of pick and roll with Rondo when Kobe's guarding him. The Celts are going to try to hammer on Bryant when the get a chance and they should be able to exploit LA's shaky interior defense with this play.
  • Allen should continue to have success running off picks and getting open looks, expecially with the shorter Fisher likely guarding him.
  • I don't see Gasol or Garnett really being able to guard each other 1 on 1. But the Celtics can help more than the Lakers can.
  • Lamar Odom is likely to give the Celtics a lot of trouble if he's able to get into the lane. Boston doesn't have a guy who matches up with him well. What's likely to happen is that for most of the minutes, Garnett will be on Odom and Perkins will play Gasol.
  • I expect the Lakers may get into some foul trouble. Rondo and Pierece generate a ton of fouls on their own, and the Lakers will get into trouble with reaches and dumb stuff.
  • Bryant will get his points. But he'll have to work, and that's fine for Boston. Basically, the Celts can handle stars, as they've already faced Wade and Lebron.
  • Look for Glen Davis to have some success off the bench agaisnt LA's second team interior guys. They don't have a sub who can body with him.
  • The improvement in the Celtics defense (especially on the interior) over Phoenix or Utah is going to give LA some major problems earlier. LA has been able to coast on offense against mediocre defenses for 2 rounds, and that's going to end abruptly.

Overall, I'll take the Celtics in 6 games. I'm thinking they'll take game 1, take 2 of 3 at home, and win in game 6. The defense for Boston should be good enough to keep LA in check and the improvement in Rondo is, hands down, the biggest change in these two teams since 2008. Pierce won't have the success he did two years ago, but the team overall has more weapons. The last 2 series for both teams are what seals it for me, with one team beating the top two in the regular season and the other a couple of injured stragglers.

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