Thursday, June 5, 2008
Behind The Scoreboard
Hoping Celtics hang their 17th banner
What is that age old adage? You can’t please all the people all of the time. I am not so sure that this saying holds true for those who religiously follow the NBA.
These diehards consider the match-up between the Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers just what the doctor (yeah, even Doc Rivers) and the league ordered and needed.
This writer didn’t hold out a lot of hope that the Lakers would be the team contesting the best team in the history of NBA playoffs in the current finals.
I think that I have given the Lakers due respect. But maintained all along, mind you, that Los Angeles would not be where it is today without the trade benevolence of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The out-resourcing of Pau Gasol was the impetus plug which Kobe and Phil Jackson needed. The acquisition of Derek Fisher rounded out the new “ big three” on the Lakers’ court.
It would be hard to miss the wishful thinking in the Lakers’ camp, namely how they match up with the Celtics’ standard bearers.
Verily, some of our colleagues give the Lakers over-riding sway at three of the five key positions. Yours truly agrees with one of those – the shooting guard position.
When Mr. Bryant is on, an act of Congress couldn’t stop him. Don’t forget that Kobe is this season’s MVP and has been averaging over 31 points throughout the playoffs. The Celtics’ Ray Allen is a “spurts” player and subject to slumps.
At center, Pau Gasol is formidable without a doubt, but has he been truly tested as he will be against Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins? And the shamrocks bearers have the Defensive Player of the Year in Kevin Garnett.
He can also shoot. He is more than a match for Lamar Odom in power forward territory. If you recall, KG has been mired in the unproductive scheme of the Minnesota Timber Wolves and is in his very first finals. He is poised to make his statement.
And speaking of statements, Paul Pierce is in a unique position to show his hometown just how he has learned to handle the small forward duties in his 10 seasons at Boston. Vladimir Radmanovic might as well remain on the bench. Derek Fisher was brought back to operate the point and he has great respect from this quarter, but, his game has to be solid. I call this one even because his Boston counterpart lapses into poor shooting.
For over two decades the Boston crew has been trying to hang that 17th banner from the rafters and they firmly believe that this is their year.
The Boston hierarchy, holding the reins for the past six seasons, has embraced this concept. They are aware that the last time they came this far they were sent packing by the, well, Los Angeles Lakers. But that was back in 1987. And this is now.
The teams have met twice this season and the Boston bunch won both.
So like Thomas Macaulay stated in his Horatius At The Bridge, go brave Celtics and hang that 17th banner from Nurcia’s dome (paraphrased, of course).
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