Why The Celtics Will Win

Defense wins championships, or so I’ve heard. This is the number one reason why the Celtics will beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals. And then there’s the Big 3. Throughout the playoffs, the C’s have proven they can win with 2 of the 3 playing well. If Kobe struggles, the Lakers lose. If Pierce struggles, the Celtics still have a great chance of winning. Get it?

Rajon Rondo vs Derek Fisher: This matchup scares me. As Jeff Van Gundy has astutely pointed out, Rondo hasn’t played great 1-on-1 defense. And while he has an impressive turnover-to-assist ratio, he remains unreliable on offense. Fisher has shot well in the playoffs. He also has a knack for knocking down crunch-time jumpers. And with the defense collapsing on Kobe, chances are he’ll have some open looks Edge – Fisher.

Ray Allen vs Kobe Bryant: We’re all glad the old Ray Allen is back and I’m confident he’ll stick around for this series. When Ray’s on his game, the Celtics can hang with any team offensively. Kobe is Kobe. How the Celtics attack him remains to be seen. Will they beat him up or force him to shoot from the perimeter? I don’t think it matters because the dude is still going to average 30+ pts. Ray clearly can’t stop Bryant but he can force him to work on the defensive end. If the point differential between these guys is 10 or so, we’ll be alright. Edge – Kobe.

Paul Pierce vs Vladimir Radmanovic: Pierce dropped the hammer on both the Cavs and Pistons with clutch performances. He’ll be able to do anything he wants with VladRad. I expect Phil Jackson to shuffle defenders. Radmanovic can do very little but spot up and hit jumpers. He’s a super soft 6-10. Edge – Pierce.

Kevin Garnett vs Lamar Odom: He’s been the Celtics most consistent scorer and rebounder throughout the playoffs. There isn’t a single person on the Lakers roster who can guard him. Even though it’s not his nature to force things, KG should be more aggressive. At the very least, get to the free throw line a bit more. (Sick of hearing this point?) Despite a few rough games, Odom’s played pretty well. He’ll need to continue rebounding well to keep the C’s off the offensive glass. Edge – Garnett.

Kendrick Perkins vs Pau Gasol: For lack of an original phrase, Perk is a beast. At least in some games. The Lakers are not physical down low and if Perkins is smart about it, he should be able to push guys around and own the paint. Gasol is a damn good offensive player. He can score and pass. Depending on who’s on the floor at the time, KG could cover him and most likely – shut him down. Edge: Gasol.

Benches: Now that Lindsey Hunter is gone, look for Eddie House to re-emerge. I have this feeling Doc will use Leon Powe to guard the Laker bigs who love to roam. Posey will get plenty of minutes on Kobe. PJ Brown will continue to see quality minutes. As for the Lakers, what’s the big deal about Vujacic, Walton, Farmar and Turiaf? I don’t see how the Lakers bench is decidely better than Boston’s. Edge – Even

Doc Rivers vs Phil Jackson: Phil Jackson is the most overrated coach of all-time. But this is clearly the least-talented team he’s ever brought to the Finals. Doc continues to rub people the wrong way with his lack of a consistent rotation – but it’s working. And he never gets credit for the making the right moves (playing Posey instead of Ray for the 4th quarter of Game 6 against Detroit). While Jackson is the more experienced guy, I don’t see coaching playing a major role in this series. We’ve all seen basketball players in the huddles during timeouts, half of them aren’t even paying attention. Edge – Even.

The Lakers may have the best player, but the Celtics have more better players. That – along with defense, rebounding and home court advantage will be enough to win this series in 6 games.

Today’s Links: Globe – Ray Doesn’t Hate Kobe Anymore | Notebook – Tony Out, Ray Loves the Sleeve | HeraldKobe Better Than Michael | Kobe Leads Lakers Production | Luke Walton Weaned in Green | Officiating Might Mar Finals | LA Times - Lakers Still Figuring Out Matchups

34 Responses

  1. Sometimes, basketball really isn’t all that difficult. Boston can keep up with LA offensively but Boston is light years ahead of LA on defense. Boston in 6 (please clinch it at home).

  2. You had me till Edge-Fisher. I like that match up for Rondo.

  3. I’m normally right there with you on the importance of coaching in the NBA. In the Finals though, I think it’s a big factor, and over rated or not, Jackson is a far, far superior coach; if nothing else, at least in experience.

  4. LA wins if their role players make their shots, the Celtics will win if they don’t.

  5. Doc Rivers vs Phil Jackson= EVEN? LMAO. You truly are a delusional homer.

  6. Ryan, explain to me how Jackson will outcoach Rivers. Has Jackson outcoached anyone this playoffs? It rarely happens in basketball. Basketball coaches make their impact throughout the season, not during one game. This isn’t football.

  7. Jackson’s alleged coaching greatness is completely undone when he’ll have to contend with Vlad covering Pierce. Or will that be one of his “great” bench players. Pierce will have a field day.

  8. Are you kidding? Jackson outcoached three future hall of fame coaches with tons of experience to get here. Dominated George Karl in 4, Jerry Sloan in 6 and Gregg Popovich in 5. Doc Rivers will be the worst coach he matches up against this postseason and its not even close. Coaches of a huge impact on the strategies implemented in a 7 game series. You are simply kidding yourself if you think its a non factor especially when two teams with similar talent level are matching up on the biggest stage in the world.

  9. If you are looking for specific examples of Phil Jackson out coaching Gregg Popovich, read this…

    http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=358

  10. I like your column, but you’re wrong.

    Here’s my take.
    And just so you know, I’m a Raptors fan and have no love for the Lakers.
    But they are indeed not just going to win….but sweep

    http://kurtisbillard.wordpress.com/2008/06/02/nba-finals-preview-lakers-vs-celtics/

  11. Kurtis you are WAY of my man. Maybe just MAYBE I will give you point 1 of your argument, throwing out the regular season. This was apparent in the first few rounds of the playoffs. But please give me a break on the idea that because we have home court its a disadvantage to us. That is just crazy talk. And don’t talk fatigue either. First of all, EVERYONE and their mother tried to play the fatigue card on the Celtics already and they were proven wrong. Why would it be any different in this series? Fatigue won’t mean crap in the finals. Do you REALLY think Pierce, Garnett, and Ray will run out of steam when they are playing for a damn RING? I doubt it. Obviously we have no answer for Kobe, he is GOING to score. You just better hope someone other than Gasol can hit some shots…

  12. hopped over from forum blue and gold. i see redsarmy.com linked pretty often around the nba internets so always assumed was a reputable even-handed non-homer celtic-fan blog. but you lost a lot of credibility with me when you wrote “EVEN” for rivers versus jackson. your antipathy and overrated-call for jackson clearly spring from the eponymous red’s famous disdain for the man. but c’mon. red just says that stuff about phil because he doesn’t like all that zen hippie new wave crap. a stylistic disagreement, really. but to say the rivers vs. jackson matchup is a wash? that’s just taking blind orders from red (see how i tied that to the whole army thing?) without really thinking about, say, red’s definite respect for winning, whether it’s ubuntu-style or zen-style. as any hard-nosed old-school basketball lifer ever has to say, “scoreboard.” so please, clean it up for the finals. i hope to come back again and see some sharper posts once the finals really get going (i know it’s only like the first or second day of practice).

    – not the easily stereotyped (and they are tired stereotypes btw) laker fan

  13. Jackson gets the edge over Rivers if I was comparing resumes. But I’m not. You are missing the main point…which is the coaching will not be a decisive factor. Whether its Doc vs Phil or Doc vs Flip Saunders. There’s too much improv on the court….

  14. If you are looking for specific examples of Phil Jackson out coaching Gregg Popovich, read this…

    http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=358

    What a bunch of BS that was.

  15. LOL Truly a brilliant and convincing counter argument BigMck.

  16. im not a huge fan of the 2-3-2 format this series

    why the hell do they change it for the finals?

    sportscenter just said that allen and kobe hate each other because after the shaq trade allen said “kobe will demand either help or a trade in a few years because hes that selfish”

    sportscenter..during their kobe dick sucking fest…failed to mention ray allen was actually right

  17. What are the vagas odds Scallie sees the floor and/or takes a shot?????

  18. The Lakers were getting smoked in the first quarter, so Phil, unhappy with their play, puts in his bench players. The Lakers go on a mini-run. WOW – what coaching genius! Phil gets a blowjob for this coaching 101 move.

  19. Chuck… coaching matters SO much more in the playoffs than it does in the regular season. You play the same team 7 times in a row… meaning you need to make adjustments from game to game. That is not necessary in the regular season.

    And “ShooterMcGavin” – I heard that the reason they change it to the 2-3-2 format for the finals is because of travel. THey didn’t want to have a west coast team like the Lakers fly to Boston for games 1 and 2, fly back to LA for games 3 and 4, fly back to Boston for game 5, back to LA for 6, and back to Boston for 7.

    I don’t like it either but I see why they did it.

  20. Its truly not as impressive as requiring 7 games to beat a couple of vastly inferior teams who wouldn’t even make the playoffs in the Western Conference. Doc Rivers has simply been legendary this post season. I completely understand why he should be “EVEN” with a 9 time Champion who has already been voted in the hall of fame.

  21. Phil Jackson in the huddle with 2 minutes left in a tie game. “Let’s run the pick and roll with Kobe and Gasol.”
    Doc Rivers in the huddle with 2 minutes left in a tie game “Lets run the pick and roll with Paul and KG.”

  22. [...] styles Living the Finals: Beat LA TrueHoop When the Celtics played the Lakers Red’s Army Why the Celtics will win Paul Pierce needs some sleep 5 reasons why Full Court Press The glory of the past meets us in [...]

  23. The only thing inferno’s posts lack (besides reason) is “cavs in 6″. Seriously, the Atl, Lebroners and the Pisston fans were way better. I hope the actual lakers are better than bloggers or this will be gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that inferno you flamer you.

  24. I like the Rondo – Fisher matchup as long as it’s not Rondo who doubles down on Kobe – he needs to stay with Fish as he will hit the open jumper just like Billups did when Rondo left him.
    Offensively Rondo can blow by Fish any time he wants – it’s just what he does after that that matters. I think edge Rondo there as long as he plays smart D.
    I think rebounding will be very important – If KG and Perk box out Odom I think we’ll do ok there and more than ok in the series. The good news is Boston outrebounded the Cavs who are a great board team and they killed the pistons on the glass…..

  25. Now im trying to be as unbiased as possible here but i cant for the life of me see why every analyst at espn has dubbed the lakers as having the best bench this year, i keep trying to fathom how sasha vujacic (the white kid who can shoot and is now a shut down defender because he stopped manu who only had a broken finger and bad ankle) jordan farmar (who is terrible id take eddie house and even sam i am over him any day) and RONNIE EFFING TURRIAF (he is their version of leon powe, an undersized forward who is primarily an energy guy) and luke walton ( who is a good shooter and defender hey kind of like james posey only not of good as shooter or defender hmm) but seriously best bench in the league? i would take our bench, detroits bench (hunter, maxiel, and stuckey) over LA’s any day not only that but im pretty sure san antonio (whom i despise) has a better bench, hell id even take alantas bench over LA’s MY POINT IS LA’S BENCH BLOWS

    and just to show im not biassed as overrated of a coach that phil jackson is, doc could never be underatted because he is absolutely terrible atvantage lakers on the coaching front

  26. it boils down to two very evenly matched teams who are the best in their respective conferences battling it out to win a ring, the individual matchups and coaching are going to have some weight in the series but its really gonna be all about who wants it more and what team leaves it all out on the court. Coaching can only get you so far, the will of the players is really what is going to determine this series and if you want to argue that having Phil Jackson means your going to get a ring, your wrong. He might help in certain situations to calm players down and make good decisions but that doesnt mean he can win you a championship, Jackson has been where Doc is before, and he won, so what is the difference?

  27. first it was “we’ll shock the world!”
    then came cavs in 5…er 6…nope 7.
    after which came the infamouse sweep in 5/6.
    now its nobody can guard kobe. lakers in 5 at most. blah blah blah.

    sigh…nobody ever learns.

  28. I’m with Chuck… coach in the Finals is overrated. At this point… its all about the players executing.

    Yes… there might be some interesting substitution decisions… but Doc has proven that he can make that work too. The Eddie House decision in the Cavs series was big… and the call to put Posey on Billups in game 6 worked perfectly.

    People want to act like Doc is clueless… but his team has currently won 78 games… and he’s got one hell of a staff. Tom Thibodeau can recognize when an individual defender is costing the C’s points…. and then he and Doc can figure out how to make the change.

    Is the edge “even”? Well… its hard for me to say “even” with Doc going up against a guy with 9 rings. BUT… that matchup has the least influence of them all. In the Finals… it’s all about the players executing.

  29. You have got to be kidding me. Look, I’m not going to bash Doc, but coaching is so much more important the deeper you go in the playoffs. They are playing the same team 6 or 7 games in a row, excellent coaches can expose flaws in another team from game to game. I’m not saying that Phil Jackson is a great coach, I think that he is a good coach…. and I think Doc is a great coach for this team. I give a slight edge to the Lakers here, but I do think that it matters.

  30. KC Jones is nowhere near an NBA coach job… Pat Reilly is considered an All-Time great.

    So was the Magic hook shot in the lane great coaching… or a great player executing?

    Yes… coaching matters… but only if one coach majorly fucks up… or if another pulls some out-of-the blue genius move at the last moment.

  31. If the Celtics win Game 1 … they will win the series.

  32. BTW … my pick is Celtics in 7.

  33. if you’re doing a blog post on matchups, you can’t also seriously say you are evaluating the relevance of the comparisons themselves. you’re the one choosing to make a coaching comparison in the first place, so make it honestly, rather than say, “well, this matchup isn’t really important, so therefore the comparison is ‘EVEN.'” making analogies in an internet debate is always a bad idea, but the trick your trying to pull here is akin to saying that positions 1-4 are “EVEN” because the only battle that’s going to determine the game is at 5, russell vs. wilt. if that’s what you believe, then post that. don’t post 1-4 are “EVEN.” please don’t respond to this analogy with “that’s dumb, i just told you the players determine the game, not the coach!” that’s not what i’m arguing.

  34. [...] I took a lot of heat around these parts for suggesting in my series preview that Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers were “Even.” Well – I am not alone. Herald basketball [...]

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