Saturday, June 07, 2008

Who Doubted the Celtics Bench?

It amazed me to hear analysts say the Lakers would have the advantage in terms of bench during the NBA Finals. Were they actually thinking youth trumps experience? While the Lakers have two title holders on their team in Kobe Bryant & Derek Fisher, the Celtics have James Posey and Sam Cassell to give them a lift off the bench. PJ Brown adds even more experience as he's as old as Cassell and been on at least 4 or 5 NBA squads now. ESPN/ABC analyst Jon Barry should know what that's like and should have studied the rosters more. Eddie House, is yet another Celtics bench member who was part of an explosive Phoenix Suns offense for a season or 2. Add in the gutsy, energetic and able to take fouls play of rookie Glen "Big Baby" Davis and you're talking one helluva bench. And it showed true to form in Game 1. Quite possibly the talk that LA owned the bench was due to Brian Scalabrine and Scot Polard dressed in street clothes, but I still see a better group sitting on the side for the Celtics.

This isn't to say the Lakers have no depth or that their bench is weak, but they are the more youthful side of things. Luke Walton & Rony Turiaf are high energy players who really energize the team at times. PG Derk Fisher also comes off the bench to back up Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar. These guys are definitely promising young players and should the team stay in tact no matter what the Finals result, they will become that great experienced bench. For now give the edge to age, experience and championship wins, and the Celtics have it on their bench.

As Game 2 plays out Sunday night, keep an eye on the bench contributions. This seems to be the X-Factor in the series so far.

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