Tuesday 18th June 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

NBA Finals 2008: Los Angeles Lakers are Gold!

NBA Finals 2008 | Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce

May 31, 2008 – Dr. Browntorious

The best there is, possibly to become the best there was, and who knows eventually he could be the best there will ever be – Kobe Bryant. Although there is much debate already amongst The Hoop Doctors on the eventual outcome of the NBA Finals, there is no doubt in my mind that this year the NBA champs will be the Los Angeles Lakers. If you think otherwise, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. The playoffs have been a breeze for LA so far, they cruised past Denver, had a slightly longer stay than expected with Utah and almost swept San Antonio. That’s right, almost swept the defending champs, the team that quite easily beat Cleveland last year and Detroit in 2005 (Note: Boston struggled to beat these teams during this post season run). They’ve done this by placing a high performance supporting cast around the best player in the NBA, Kobe Bryant. The NBA MVP.

Why do I feel it is a sure bet for LA to come out on top? Look at their opponent, it’s the Boston Celtics. Yes, this one is a throwback to one of the great finals rivalries in the history of the league. For all you past Larry Bird/Magic Johnson era fanatics, they were fairly even teams back then I agree. But let’s look at it today, aside from the historic rivalry, the Celtics are worn out and beat up. It took them a whopping 20 games to get to the finals, where LA only had to take 15 in the more difficult Western Conference. LA is nicely rested and ready to take and dish out a beating. Let’s start by matching up the players:

Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce – Pierce has been great, but Kobe is a better defender and is a proven scorer on absolutely anyone in the league. Pierce was great on Lebron, but he shouldn’t expect to affect Kobe’s shooting percentage like he did with Lebron (he could always call up Bruce Bowen and ask him how that worked out). Advantage Lakers.

Kevin Garnett and Lamar Odom – I’m a fan of both these guys; however, I think Lamar is the most underrated player in the NBA. They both are amazing passers; they both grab over 10 boards a game; except Lamar usually scores about 5 or 6 less points. Advantage Celtics.

Pau Gasol vs. Kendrick Perkins – I shouldn’t even have to match these players up, Gasol is a top 5 big man in the league, versatile scorer, amazing defender and great rebounder. What’s Perkins first name? Advantage Lakers.

Ray Allen vs. Vladamir Radmanovic – Ray Allen is a great scorer, an amazing sharp shooter, but has been slumping as of late. I would be doing an injustice to Allen to compare his career to that of Radmanovic…but come on, who has been a more accurate sharp shooter in the playoffs this year then Radmanovic? Maybe Sasha Vujacic, oh wait he’s on the Lakers too. Ray Allen had a big night with 5 out of 6 threes against the Pistons, great, but Radmanovic has been lighting it up all playoffs long. Advantage Lakers.

Derek Fisher vs. Rondo – This match up is pretty close in my mind, except Derek has the veteran experience and know how to get it done in the playoffs. Do you remember the infamous 0.4 second shot? Fisher is a proven winner, and Rondo’s shot selection has been suspect in the playoffs so far this year. Advantage Lakers.

If you take a look at both teams bench, Boston has been underperforming under the playoff pressure and the Lakers are completely in sync. Lakers have Turiaf, Vujacic, Walton, and Farmar off the bench who could all potentially be starters on almost any team in the east this year. Lakers are really deep; Boston has a few solid bench players but are nowhere near as deep as LA. Watching PJ Brown and Cassell in the playoffs this year makes you think about the fine line between the value of a veteran presence, and having players that are just too far past their prime. James Posey is a great defender but when compared to Sasha Vujacic in the offensive department, this clearly favors the Lakers.

After sizing up all the players, if LA has such a better team, why is it that they only won 57 games vs. Boston’s 66? Most likely a combination of the East vs. West games played, and the Lakers have been gelling increasingly as the season has progressed.

Finally, there is the muscle factor. People say that LA is soft and Pierce, Garnett and Perkins are really tough players who throw their bodies around. Yeah…for those Lakers skeptics, did you guys watch the Utah/LA series? I think Boozer, Harpring and even Okur are much bigger, tougher opponents with regards to throwing their bodies around. Remind me how that series ended?

If you read my post where I matched up the remainder of the teams after the first round, you’ll see that my predictions thus far have been fairly accurate. Now I will make a bold prediction. The Lakers will not only win the Championship, they’ll either Sweep Boston or take them in 5. Just remember, you heard it here first from Dr. Browntorious!

Celtic or Lakers fans, feel free to post your thoughts or predictions on this one.

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