NBA Finals: The Celtics are the Lakers' Next Victims

Marcel SmithSenior Analyst IMay 30, 2008

The Los Angeles Lakers just found out they will be facing their old time rivals, the Boston Celtics, in the NBA Finals. The Celtics defeated the Pistons in six games while the Lakers dominated the Spurs in five games behind the world's best player: Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers are going to defeat the Celtics in five games. They are way too good and offensively efficient for the Celtics to keep up with them. They also are playing as well as any team in the league could possibly be playing going into the Finals. I am going to preview the key matchups for the Finals.

Point Guard: Derek Fisher/Jordan Farmar vs. Rajon Rondo/Sam Cassell

The Lakers have an edge as Fisher is very experienced, a great leader, a fantastic perimeter shooter, and a solid defender. Farmar is a good, young player who brings a lot of energy for the Lakers. Rondo is a below average point guard and Cassell is all but finished.

Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant/Sasha Vujacic vs. Ray Allen/Eddie House

The Lakers completely dominate this matchup as Kobe is the best player in the league. Sasha is a very good role player coming off the bench.  He provides outside shooting and tough defense. Allen has been struggling throughout the playoffs and will probably continue to struggle. House has barely gotten any playing time and shouldn't be a factor.

Small Forward: Vladimir Radmonavic/Luke Walton vs. Paul Pierce/James Posey

The Celtics have a clear advantage as Pierce is a superstar and Posey is a good role player. Radmonavic has quietly played well for the Lakers, knocking down outside shots. Walton is a good, intelligent player off the bench for the Lakers Trevor Ariza, the defensive minded forward, will be a big key for the Lakers to guard Pierce. He is 6-8, long, athletic and extremely quick. He should be able to bother Pierce.

Power Forward: Lamar Odom/Radmonavic vs. Kevin Garnett/P.J. Brown

The Celtics have a slight advantage as KG should have a very good series. Brown provides the Celtics with toughness, defense, and experience. Odom should also have a good series, as he will be an important player on the glass for the Lakers.

Center: Pau Gasol/Ronny Turiaf vs. Kendrick Perkins/Brown

The Lakers have a huge advantage as Gasol should be able to dominate both inside and outside. Turiaf is a great role player for the Lakers who provides tremendous energy and passion. Perkins is a below average center who is a pretty good rebounder and an average defender.

Bench: Farmar/Sasha/Walton/Turiaf/Ariza vs. Cassell/Brown/Posey/House

The Lakers have a clear advantage as their bench provides a lot more energy and are much better offensively than the bench of the Celtics, who are more defensive minded. Sasha and Ariza are the two main players off the bench in this series for the Lakers. The Celtics need Cassell, Brown, and Posey to play well.

Coaches: Phil Jackson vs. Doc Rivers

The Lakers have a monumental advantage as Jackson is the greatest coach of all time. Rivers is a below average coach who has never coached a team past the first round before this season. Jackson is much better at making a game plan and making adjustments, while Rivers is average at making a game plan and slow at making adjustments between each game and during halftime.

Prediction: I think the Lakers have way too much depth, offensive firepower, and too much Kobe for them to lose. I also think the great advantages they have in their bench and coach will provide the key difference. They are going to win one of the first two game in Boston and then win games three through five in L.A. to win their 15th championship in franchise history.