Monday, May 31, 2010

2010 NBA Finals Preview

Gotta say, i didn't see this one coming. Usually title teams start off slowly, wake up in January, kick it into 5th gear after the all-star game (or whenever the players recover from their all-star game hangovers), hit their stride in mid-March and carry that into the playoffs. These guys pulled the opposite stunt - stormed out of the gates, shut it down starting on Christmas, and suddenly flipped the switch on at the right time. When a team does that and wins a championship, it either means the team is really really good (think: 2001 Los Angeles Lakers) or really really lucky (think: 2006 Miami Heat). Personally I say the Lakers go in the first category, and the Celtics are in the second. The Lakers knew exactly what they were doing when they started bickering over shots/touches, messed around in all the games and refused to play up to their offensive potential, and even if the regular season exposed them for not being quite as good as everyone thought (shame on anyone who was foolish enough to expect 70 wins out of this team), but there was never really a doubt that they would be able to amp it up. The Celtics meanwhile are a total surprise. They looked completely apathetic and unable to get motivated until about early april, when they tried to turn it on only couldn't exactly do so. Seriously, other than a flukey one-point february win at Los Angeles, the Celtics didn't have a single quality win from January to April. Not quite sure what happened in the postseason - maybe we had underestimated the severity of their injuries and they just needed to get healthy, maybe they really were intentionally saving their energy (though i doubt it), maybe that fight against Quentin Richardson in round 1 really galvanized them - but right now they're playing basketball at an extremely high level. In any case, this should be an excellent series, possibly even more competetive/exciting than the 2008 classic. These teams have legit hard feelings and east coast/west coast rivalry, and i think we're in for a treat as fans - at the very least it should be much better than last year's dud. With that, time to break down the matchups and players that will determine this series.