Sunday, June 01, 2008

2008 Celtics vs. Lakers - Rivalry Renewed

Cue up the "NBA...where amazing happens" and Kobe/Pierce split screen ads, because one of the most storied rivalries in all of basketball and maybe even sports has been rekindled. On June 5th, 2008, the Boston Celtics will host the Los Angeles Lakers on their court, setting off another showdown between the two most winning NBA champs.

Boston is perhaps a Cinderella story. Last year they were worse than the New York Knicks in the league, and looking to the NBA's draft lottery to win that #1 pick. They didn't, but the pick they had for # 5 was good enough for a trade. Eventually, the Boston Celtics brought in Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and a host of helpers for the bench. James Posey, PJ Brown, Eddie House and Sam Cassell have all been huge for the team as they provide great veteran experience. Posey and Cassell both have rings so that's only helped more in the playoffs. So give Boston credit for assembling one terrific team for 2007-08. They went from worst to first thanks to smart strategic personnel moves. Recently, Bill Russell, a Celtics legend, even told KG he expects the Big Ticket to win at least 3 titles before his career ends, or Russell will give him a ring since he has a few to spare.

The Lakers have more of an individual turnaround, as the focus has been on MVP Kobe Bryant. As the season was starting, it was unknown if the Lakers star would be in LA or moved to another team such as the Bulls. But the Lakers management and the superstar came to a mutual agreement. Eventually, Pau Gasol was brought in to LA in a deal involving NBA-bust, Kwame Brown. Gasol's addition to the team has been a huge one, and fans need to know he was not on the court for the 2 times that Boston and Los Angeles met this past season. So LA has definitely upped the ante. Add in Lamar Odom, and you have a great 3 on 3 battle, before the other guys even get involved. LA may have a better inside presence with Odom and Gasol, and the deadly assassin Kobe Bryant may be able to take out the Celtics. Kobe may be on a bit of an unspoken mission here to match Shaq. As we all know just several years ago Shaq was part of an impressive Miami Heat team which won Shaq his 4th ring. Kobe wants his now, and then some.

It's going to be a fun and interesting series to watch, and once again is a great thing for the NBA. Both teams have huge fanbases as they are the epitomy of basketball before Chicago, Detroit and San Antonio got their names involved. Sit back and enjoy the games, they start June 5th and are well worth the price of cable or sattelite TV.

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