Celtics versus Lakers Rivalry Stands the Test of time

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Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant

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Last summer, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers added yet another stunning chapter to the greatest rivalry in National Basketball Association history, as they wrapped up another epic war at the 2010 NBA Finals. This marked the 12th time these two historic franchises have met to decide who is the top dog in all of basketball. The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant was handed the Finals MVP Award after leading an epic comeback from a 13-point third quarter deficit.

The Latest Chapter

Each team certainly has the adequate talent to carry their team to championship glory, but it was the Lakers who got the better of Boston on this occasion. Bryant led his Los Angeles Lakers, along with fellow stars Ron Artest, Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol over a Celtics bunch that trotted out a starting lineup comprised of Rajon Rondo, Rasheed Wallace, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. This was just another in the long line of great matchups between these two bitter rivals, but it was the Lakers who now have the last laugh.

Even after winning the 2010 Championship, if the Lakers want to truly even up this rivalry, they will have to defeat the Celtics six more times for championship titles. That may not be so easy, since this current Celtics team isn’t exactly going away anytime soon. This version of the Celtics franchise may not have guys like Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Bob Cousy or Bill Russell, but this group has enough future Hall-Of-Famers to be highly formidable for at least a few more years. If 2011 has been any indication, the Boston Celtics are more than ready to renew this battle in another NBA Finals war.

The Future of the Rivalry

These two franchises always come back from adversity, so even if one or both were to have a down period, you can be assured that they will come back stronger than ever and keep this rivalry going for as long as the NBA is in existence. Both teams showed their toughness yet again last season, as they each overcame adversity and injuries to rise to the top of their respective conferences.

History

There are numerous great NBA teams that have their own memorable rivalries. This includes battles between the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls, Seattle Supersonics (yes, I know there are no Supersonics anymore, but they were a great rival) and Portland Trailblazers, Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs, among many others. However, the Celtics vs. the Lakers is on a completely different level. Together, these two franchises have accounted for a whopping thirty championships since the inception of the NBA.

If you like learning the history of things, you may enjoy browsing the best background check service. They say you learn something new every day!

  • Celtics versus Lakers Rivalry Stands the Test of Time (brutusreport.com)

2009 Lakers Rockets Playoff Matchup

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Lakers Rockets 2009

2009 Lakers Rockets Playoff Matchup

In 2009 the Lakers were thought to be the team to beat. They had won over 60 games and were second only to the Cleveland Cavaliers in total wins in the NBA that year. It was thought little stood in their way between the start of the playoffs and an NBA finals appearance against the winner of the eastern conference. The experts were wrong. The Lakers Rockets playoff match up proved to be a great series and almost sent the Lakers home for the summer.

The 2009 Rockets were not considered favorites in the playoffs, in fact many thought the Lakers would beat them in five games. The Rockets were without the oft injured Tracy Mcgrady for the whole series and lost Yao Ming after game three of the series. After Yao Ming was injured many thought the series was all but over, they were in for a surprise.

Even though they were down 2-1 when they lost their superstar center, the Rockets were able to extend the series to seven games. Ron Artest was key to helping the Houston Rockets stay in this series. He played defense against anybody he was asked to cover and scored when he had to. Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest seemed to have a rivalry going on with each other during the series. The Lakers Rockets series kept NBA fans nationwide glued to their television sets waiting to see who would prevail. Many fans couldn’t believe the fight that the Rockets put up without two of their superstars.

While the series ended in game seven with a 19 point Lakers victory, many people gained a great deal of respect for the game Houston Rockets and for their superstar Ron Artest who had a never say die attitude and played hard until the very end. It seems that Ron Artest grew fond of the Lakers and Kobe Bryant during their series, as he went on to sign with the Lakers during the free agency period in the summer of 2010.

LeBron is LeGone.

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LeBron2 LeGone

LeBron LeGone

LeBron is LeGone.

LeBron’s exit from the playoffs says something about his future in Cleveland. His failure to speak at the post game press conference says a lot more.

Forget about him not shaking hands with his opponents. This wasn’t widely reported but he didn’t shake hands because he was so tired of carrying 11 guys plus his coach on his shoulders that he couldn’t raise his hand above his waist. Really, Dwight Howard showed as little class as LeBron by taking a meaningless 3 point shot as time ran out. One still picture of LeBron’s face showed his frustration and his anger about the shot, the team, the situation and the future of the Cavs.

LeBron not showing up for the post game press conference was a mistake. The sports world is coming down on his head for opting out of the post game chat with the media. He will be fined and I am sure that he is fine with that (excuse the pun). He should have gone and at least made an appearance. Given how much class he has shown from day one of his career, I can excuse him totally for not taking the meaningless question from a meaningless member of the media “how do you feel about losing in the playoffs?”

What failing to show up says about him staying in Cleveland is much more important. I doubt he will even consider taking GM Danny Ferry’s calls about a contract extension under the current circumstances. The Cavs as they are now constituted will NEVER win an NBA Championship even with LeBron. Even a talent as great as his can not go 1 vs. 5 and win. And that is the singing group we saw in the playoffs—LeBron and the 4 statues.

LeBron has made up his mind about coming back in 2010-2011—He is not going to do it. The only way that the Cavs can possibly change his mind is to make monster moves this off season. Even if they do make a couple of monster moves, they still might not even be the 2nd best team in the East. In my opinion, Orlando is better now, and next year will have all star PG Jameer Nelson back from injury. Boston gets injured Kevin Garnett back next year and should face Orlando in the NBA East finals next season. The ONLY way that the Cavs can keep LeBron is to make some monster moves very soon.

I fully expect to see the Cavs do little or nothing this off season. Ferry believed that bringing in PG Mo Williams was the key to putting the Cavs over the top and into an NBA championship. NOT SO MUCH! In a future article I will put a couple of real plans together. Despite my wishing that Kobe Bryant would come to Cleveland, we all know that will never happen.

What the Cavs MUST have is a front court scorer that can rebound as well. They also need a reliable 3 point shooter that demands coverage. That will open up options for LeBron for drives to the basket.

So given the current situation, what will LeBron do? First, he will not sign a contract extension with the Cavs in this off season. We all want to see what Ferry will do to improve the team in the off season. The Cavs 2 picks in the 09 draft are not going to have an impact this season if ever. There is not much potential help in the unrestricted FA list. The one guy most talked about is Utah PF Carlos Boozer. With Utah he has been a 16 point/10 rebound guy and both numbers would be welcome by the offensively stagnant Cavs. But that won’t happen because Boozer stabbed the Cavs right between the shoulder blades by telling them he would resign then sneaking out of town to join the Jazz.

Another really nice addition would be the Magic’s Hedo Turkoglu. But Turkoglu has a better chance of winning multiple championships with Orlando that he would in Cleveland and he knows it.

So, LeBron is LeGone. As much a Cavs fan as I am, I can only tell the championship starved Cleveland fans enjoy next season. The Cavs will turn into pumpkins in 2010-11 and beyond.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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The Cavs are a 1972 Comet with a Ferrari engine.

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Our Comet is old and looks slow. But the horsepower provided by the engine will eventually tear the car apart.

The Cavs won last night. Lebron James, the Ferrari engine, had a direct hand in the last 32 points by his team. He either scored or had an assist on each of those shots. The problem for the Cavs is no matter how this series turns out the team needs to be reworked this off season if they want to have any chance to keep Lebron in town after June 2010.

The Cavs are fine as they stand for the regular season. They feed nicely on the Knicks, Wizards, Pacers and such. They can win at home against the Bulls and Celtics. The problem is that in the playoffs, they have one REALLY bad match-up—The Magic. And unless the Cavs can win a title this year or next, Lebron is most likely going to go to a team that can. Could you even imagine how good the Magic would be with Lebron? Would you rather spend the winter in Orlando or Cleveland?

If Lebron went to the Magic, that team would win 6 or 7 straight titles.

Due to the Bird exception in the salary cap, the Cavs are going to be able to offer Lebron more money than any other team. But money is not what motivates Lebron. He is a winner. He doesn’t want to be saddled with a team that wins in the regular season but falls short in the playoffs.

What the Cavs have:

In the NBA, it is not a question of what a team should do to improve. It is a question of what a team CAN do to improve. With guaranteed contracts, NBA players are a lot like the Scud Missile under Saadam—You can’t fire it and you can’t make it work. But the Cavs should have a lot of wiggle room in the 09 off season.

Joe Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, and Lorenzen Wright are unrestricted FA at the end of the season. That should free up over 29 mil in salary cap. In addition, Zydrunas Ilgauskas has an early termination option (ETO) in his contract. The team could lose him as well freeing up another 10.8 mil.

After next season, Sasha Pavlovic and Ben Wallace are free agents in addition to James with his player option. Together the three will provide 33 million in free money.

Anderson Varejao has a player option. If he doesn’t like what the Cavs are doing, he is likely to go. He has played fairly well this season. He is not starting quality but would be an excellent off the bench energy player for a contender.

What the Cavs need:

The series against Orlando makes one thing clear—to win championships they are going to have to beat the Magic in the playoffs over the next few years. They can not do that now.

The most critical needs for the Cavs are a reliable 3 point scorer and a quick big man with the feet to defend Howard and rebound. The Cavs had a chance to bring Ohio State alum SG Michael Redd to Cleveland a couple of years ago but did not. He is a consistent 3 point gunslinger.

The plan of all plans for the Cavs (that will never happen but should):

Kobe Bryant has an ETO in his contract this season. He want the max contract but he wants to win more. Bring Bryant in to pair with Lebron. You have 33 mil next year to give to Lebron. If Bryant comes in, Ilgauskas will stay. That would provide the Cavs with the scoring they need and one more outstanding defensive force. You can find another D player with a little scoring ability for the mid range exception.

Would Bryant come to Cleveland? Good question. To win a couple of titles, he might. There is no question that Bryant wanted to prove that he could win a title without Shaq. But given a chance with a short contract, he might be willing to come.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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NBA Commissioner Stern is breathing again.

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The Commissioner’s wife was ready to dial 911 last night during the Laker Nugget game. Had the Nuggets won, she would have had to make the call. But when the Lakers won game 5 to take a 3 games to 2 lead in the series, she was able to go to bed without fear.

The NBA’s worst fear was that the final would not include either Lebron James and the Cavs or Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Stern and the networks can live with only one of the super stars of the league in the finals.

LA should win the series with the Nuggets in 7 games. Orlando will probably win the Cleveland series in 6 or 7 games.

Orlando is an outstanding team. They have the future of the all star center in Dwight Howard. But Howard is not a brand name yet. If he ever gets the offensive side of his game together he will become the dominant C in the league. In addition to Howard, the Magic has 4 other players scoring in double figures in the Cavs series. They are balanced and dangerous team.

Orlando will be dominant in the East for several years. As good as the Magic is now, it will be better next season when potential star Jameer Nelson comes back from injury. Their core players will be together for several seasons. Cleveland is a younger roster but their big men like Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Ben Wallace are old and are not getting faster with age. The youth of the Cavs is at the end of the bench. And the lack of production from the Cavs bench is a major reason the team has fallen two games behind the Magic.

The Nuggets are coming on as well. This was the first time Denver got past the first round of the playoffs in a number of years. They will have gained a lot of playoff experience this season. They will be back again to challenge the Lakers for several years to come. The Nuggets’ key players are not as young as Orlando so their time at the top of the West will be shorter.

And what about the Cavs’ future? A lot will be determined in Cleveland tonight. Even more will be known in Orlando on Saturday. If the Cavs win the next two, they have a chance to survive the Magic. The chances of that are slim and none. And slim is on life support. But I will discuss that tomorrow. We will know more then.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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A funny thing happened on LA's way to the finals!

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I said before the series that if Denver was able to steal the first game because LA was hung over from the series against Houston, LA might be in trouble. LA managed to win game 1 by a margin that made the Senatorial election in Minnesota look like a landslide. Then came game 2 last night.

The Nugget win in Game 2 was impressive for several reasons. The biggest factor is that the Lakers have no way to counter either Chauncey Billups or Carmelo Anthony. LA PG Derek Fisher is not strong enough to get physical with Billups and not athletic enough to match his quickness. Fisher needs help but isn’t getting any because the other guys in gold have their own problems. Kobe Bryant is getting warn out trying to carry the entire team on his back.

A second indication that the Lakers are in trouble is the difference in the physicality of the bigs. Pau Gasol is a finesse player. It is also clear that Andrew Bynum is no where near 100%. Bynum doesn’t seem to have the explosiveness he showed before his latest injury. When Denver’s Nenê decides to play hard, Gasol and Bynum are little more than speed bumps on the way to the basket.

Lamar Odom is one of the most over rated players in the league. He is struggling against the Nuggets.

The one thing that the Lakers can depend on is their depth vs. that of the Nuggets. The Nugget starters may run out of gas because of the Laker depth. In game 1, the Denver bench did little to contribute. But in game 2 Linas Kleiza had a coming out party scoring 16 points on 5-8 shooting in 21 minutes. The Lakers have to hope that was a one time explosion.

The Nuggets’ Kenyon Martin is unchallenged on both ends of the floor. It seems no one in LA wants to get in his way. Maybe a Laker should have a chat with Martin’s Mom. Look how well that worked out for Dallas.

The Lakers are in trouble. They are going to have to get a split at Denver or they will be in danger of not making the finals. They either have to start to play much more physically or hope that Nenê and a couple of other Nuggets take some games off. I don’t expect that to happen.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NBA,NBA Playoffs,Nene,Lakers,Nuggets,Billups,Bynum,Odom,Kleiza,Fisher,Bryant,Gasol,Martin,Maverics,Mom

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