UKmadness

2008 NBA Finals Preview

Posted by ibleedblue040 on June 1, 2008

As I have stated before I am a huge Boston Celtics fan so I have taken it upon myself to do a preview of this historic series for you. I will go position by position and determine which player and team has the advantage at each position and then determine the winner of the series and in how many games.

Matchups

Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs. Derek Fisher

Obviously Derek Fisher has the clear advantage when it comes to experience, he has won 3 NBA Championships and played in 148 career playoff games and Rajon Rondo has won 0 championships and played in only 20 career playoff games. This is an interesting match up because neither player is one of the best players on their respective teams but both players can be very important to their team’s success. Whenever Rondo is shooting the ball well and controls the ball the Celtics usually win, when Fisher is knocking down his threes and playing solid defense the Lakers usually win, someone has to give. Both Rondo and Fisher are very good defensive players and both have already faced fantastic point guards in their run to the finals. Fisher has faced Allen Iverson, Deron Williams, and Tony Parker, three perennial all-stars, while Rajon Rondo has faced Mike Bibby, Delonte West, and Chauncey Billups, really only one tough task but the toughest task either has faced. I believe that playoff experience is an over hyped statistic in this match up because although Rondo is very young and is in his first career playoff year he has played exceptionally well and played sound throughout each series, and Fisher is not the type of player that will be very aggressive offensively like Chauncey Billups was. Rondo has played much better than Fisher has statistically, out performing Fisher in every category but steals and turnovers, and has been more involved in the teams offense than Fisher. I believe Rondo wins this matchup with his pressure defense and ability to get rebounds and create second chance oppurtunities for his club, something that Fisher can not do.

Advantage: Rajon Rondo, Boston

Shooting Guard
Ray Allen vs. Kobe Bryant

This one obviously is not that close. Bryant is the best player in the world and has been playing like it over the last two weeks while Ray Allen is just now getting out of his worst slump of his career. Allen does make the defense alter what they are doing when he is shooting well but Kobe just makes defenses completely change their scheme. I do not think that Kobe will have the kind of series he had against the Spurs though, Boston already stalled LeBron James and altough he is not as much of a complete player as Bryant is he is just as difficult to matchup with.

Advantage: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles

Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs. Vladimir Radmanovic

I believe that this is the biggest mismatch of them all, Paul Pierce has routinely owned his opponent throughout these entire playoffs and this series and matchup should be no different. Radmanovic is just too slow and simply not good enough to guard a player that is as good and on fire as Paul Pierce is. Radmanovic only averaged 8.3 points per game in the series vs. the San Antonio Spurs even though he played over 24 minutes per outing. Radmanovic is not what you would call a shut down defender either, he is very slow on his feet and even though he has a height advantage most of the time he is not a very good shot blocker or rebounder.

Advantage: Paul Pierce, Boston

Power Forward
Kevin Garnett vs. Lamar Odom

Although Lamar Odom is playing very well in the post season I do not believe he is ready to deal with a player of Garnett’s ability. Garnett is the premiere power forward in the game today and might be in the top 3 all-time at the position. Garnett is not just a dead-eye shooter from 17 feet, an unstoppable turn around jumpshooter, or a fantastic leader, he is also the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA and has played his best defensive basketball of his postseason career. He is averaging over 1.5 blocks per 48 minutes and 1.5 steals per 48 minutes for the first time in his playoff career and has had an even larger defensive presence. Garnett can control the entire paint for minutes at a time and that is a huge luxury. Lamar Odom is used to having a large height advantage or a big advantage in the quickness department but neither will be there in this matchup, gotta go with Kevin “The Big Ticket” Garnett in this one.

Advantage: Kevin Garnett, Boston

Center
Kendrick Perkins vs. Paul Gasol

Kendrick Perkins has been playing great in the postseason up to this point but now he is dealing with a different animal than in his previous playoff matchups. Pau Gasol did not play great on the offensive end against the San Antonio Spurs but he sure did rebound great. Gasol had 19 rebounds in the clinching Game 5 against the Spurs including 9 offensive boards. Gasol has not faced a player other than Marcus Camby that has Perkins’ rebounding abilty and strength but I believe Gasol wins this matchup with his quickness and basketball IQ. Gasol is the smartest big man on his team and Perkins is not really known for being a genius.

Advantage: Paul Gasol, Los Angeles

Prediction

I may be a little bit biased but I believe that the Boston Celtics will pull off the ‘upset’ against the Los Angeles Lakers in this series. I think Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will be too much for the Lakers and a little bit of James Posey and Eddie House off the bench is always good. I think that Boston wins this one in 7 games. I believe Boston will win game 1 by a score of 88-83 behind 21 points and 9 rebounds from KG.

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