And now the other brother predicts
Time for my prognostication. I'm not gonna delve too deeply into matchups, player or O/D breakdowns, as BK already put up a post and there's no need for everyone to slog through a batch of similar thoughts. But even if my take of what lies ahead is presented in broader terms, I don't think the conclusions ring any less true.
The Lakers have been, hands down, 2008's best playoff team, while Boston spent the opening pair of rounds looking like they peaked WAY too early. The Lakers improved each series while the Celtics have just now discovered something along the lines of an identity. The Lakers have defended tight leads, dug themselves out of monster holes and bounced back after their (count 'em) one blowout loss. Boston's "Big Three" hasn't been as consistent as L.A.'s "Bigger Three," with Ray Allen in particular enduring a roller-coaster ride rockier than any stinkers Pau Gasol or Lamar Odom have produced. L.A.'s bench is much better than Boston's, not to mention better utilized. For those who've ever doubted whether the expression "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" carries weight, check out how Doc Rivers has inexplicably monkeyed around with his reserves to a negative effect. It smacks similar to Avery Johnson's decision to "adjust to Golden State" in 2007, despite sporting the West's #1 squad. That's just one reason the coaching edge has to be in Phil Jackson's corner. I also like the Lakers' chances of winning multiple games in Boston more than the Celtics in the as-of-yet-unblemished Staples. And should these contests be tight (as I suspect most will be), if there's anyone you'd rather have on your side during crunch/clutch time than Kobe Bryant (besides Slava Medvedenko, obviously, but he's regrettably unavailable), I'm genuinely curious as to your suggestion. That's an awful lot on the Lakers' side.
Final prediction: I see this series playing out in similar fashion to the previous round against San Antonio. No walk in a purple and gold park by any stretch, but also one where the majority of the action is controlled by the Lakers and wraps up sooner than one might expect. I'm having a hard time deciding between Lakers in 5 or 6, but I've decided to get zany and go cinco. What the hell. It's the Finals.
More predictions and analysis below.
The Daily News' Steve Dilbeck hates to rain on his readers' parade by predicting one won't be weaving through Figueroa.
ESPN's Daily Dime crew is mostly putting its ten cents on the Lakers. They also break down the top five factors playing a role in the series, plus a few other aspects and wild cards. Shock of all shocks, it begins with Kobe.
Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com sees Kobe and the crew coming through, an assessment that puts him in line with the slight majority of his work cronies.
The SI rundown is mostly purple and gold friendly,
Patience is required, but one can wade through a bunch of celebrity-ish opinions. By the way, Mike Ditka is apparently best known as the co-owner of the AFL's Chicago Rush. Who knew?
A representative of the NBA scouting fam is thinking Lakers.
5/7 of the True Hoop team believes in the Lakers.
ForumGoldandBlue.com expands upon a notion that the Celts are basically "the uber-Spurs."
HoopsWorld foresees a Boston split, but suggests you take tonight's game in stride.