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Poll questions for Lakers-Celtics series

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Like an early morning shot of espresso, the Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals matchup has served as a jolt of energy for the rivalry's history, the Lakers shot at redemption for the 2008 Finals, the league offices, the media and, of course, the fans. It's going to be an anticipation-filled few days before Game 1 begins Thursday with pregame analysis, matchup assessments and I'm sure some back-and-forth exchanges between both teams.

As I've done with every series, I've liked to get the pulse of the fans and get a sense of what they're thinking about heading into the series. And whether it's the want for the Lakers to redeem their 2008 Finals loss, wondering what a fifth championship would mean for Kobe Bryant's legacy or hoping the Lakers have the physical toughness to defeat Boston this time around, there's plenty of topics Lakers fans surely have on their minds.

To process all that, below the jump is a litany of polls. Before Game 1 on Thursday, I'll follow up with an analysis to properly explain what's making you all tick heading into the Lakers-Celtics 12th Finals appearance.

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: For the second time in three years, Kobe Bryant, right, will lead the Lakers against the Celtics in the NBA Finals. The championship rivalry dates to 1959 and includes such legendary matchups such as Larry Bird versus Magic Johnson, left, and Bill Russell versus Wilt Chamberlain. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
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For 131-92, anything past 1980 is ancient stuff, hardly any teams in the NBA, really easy to get to the Finals. Since 1980, much tougher, like the La lead 9-4!

Spike Lee says he`ll be rooting for the Celtics in this series?!?

Suddenly...I`m not feeling so good.


"How significant would a Lakers title affect Phil Jackson's coaching future?" - You should have someone edit your posts Mark.Are you overworked ?

"DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS" . . .

This saying has been around longer than any of us; "Defense Wins Championships." And as much as I love to watch skillful, streamed-line, NBA teams race up and down the court, I have to admit this saying is true for the most part.

In the last decade we have seen teams like the Suns & Mavs fail to win a championship even though they had the talent to do so. Teams like the Warriors could score but not even come close to winning. The great Showtime Lakers were a great fastbreak, scoring team . . . but built on their defense; thus their championships.

So, with defense being the key word and trait, I have to believe that the Lakers enter the 2010 Finals in good standing.

In 2008 Finals lost by Lakers (and well-chronicled by our dear MM in recent thread), games 2 and 4 were lost due to lack of defense by Lakers. That is a HUGE swing of two games.

Here is the simply-stated but extremely signficant comparisons between 2008 and 2010 regarding defense...

--In 2008, the Celtics had Posey to match-up with Kobe,,, 2010 offers Tony Allen ~ a significant downgrade for Boston.
--In 2008, the Lakers had Radmonivic/Walton assigned to Pierce,,, 2010 offers Ron Artest ~ a signficant upgrade for Lakers.
--In 2008, the Lakers had Pau at Center,,, 2010 offers Andrew Bynum ~ a significant upgrade for the Lakers.

Those three changes are VERY SIGNIFICANT and I believe will prove to be the difference in the Lakers winning this series.

Mike

Lakers x Celtics, bla bla bla....bla bla Celtics....bla bla Lakers....bla bla bla

Celtics x Lakers, bla bla bla....bla bla Celtics....bla bla Lakers....bla bla bla

Lakers are BETTER. PERIOD. That puts the presure on us, but the Lakers are used to pressure so, bla bla bla, bla bla bla...But I understand we need to fill all those days with something so...bla bla bla, bla bla bla, bla bla bla.....That's gonna be a LONG week.

The only real question is if the Lakers will be able to translate into victories the advantage they have. Simple as this.
I think they will.
Lakers in 5.

"DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS ~ Post Script" . . .

--In 2008, Celtics had Defensive Player of the Year KG,,, 2010 offers older, slower, hobbled KG ~ a significant downgrade for Boston

Mike

RED`S LOVE CHILD:

Son I am disappointed at you, look at you mixing with my enemies and making me turn in my ....... .

shame shame shame on you...

Tweet of the Day: "Kobe is the best. The shots he made last night was insane. We played great defense and he would not be denied. You have to give him love!" -- AlvinGentry (Phoenix Suns Coach Alvin Gentry).

Alvin, Alvin, AAAALLLVI….oh, wait, Alvin. Alvin, you have to give everyone love. You should know that by now.

Fatty- cruise ship? Is that going to give you something to do in between rapt attention to the greatest possible finals match up possible? Cause when we start to roll, you aren’t going to care whether you are on a cruise ship or in the dingiest bar in San Bernadino County watching the game on a 13 inch analog. Of course, me, I’d rather be here on the greatest blog on earth instead of any cruise anywhere. Since, after all, I figure Hillary Swank is gonna be at the games and not with me on a cruise, probably, but either way.

Zaira- even better than usual. A post both logically sound and emotionally passionate. You did everything but cite the Turing test and invoke the rhetorical greatness of a Martin Luther King Jr, but frankly they have nothing on you when it comes to the Lakers. I’m just sorry my praise can’t equal the heights you just nailed [ I originally said ‘last post,’ but then you posted another comment, but frankly, it applies to all of your stuff. I am inspired and will try to put something down later, but right now I’m just absorbing the great stuff on here today.

LakerTom- I have been looking forward to reading your thoughts on the great series that is impending, but I’m a little disappointed you chose to spend your time attacking FCM for the imagined slights towards the Lakers. I won’t go to the wall defending the angles he takes on various occasions, but in this case I feel that what he posted is exactly what we needed to hear. The Celtics did win in 08, they showed up and at some points kicked our tuchases. Acknowledging that isn’t letting us down at all. We know it happened, and we are determined to use this at motivation.

Re Rep IDIOT-(DB), hey, whatever party or group he wants to affiliate with is irrelevant. He is obviously pandering to Utah voters, and if they are dumb enough to vote for a guy who is this obvious in his attempts at attention that’s their problem. Re Kobe, I think it definitely shows this man’s ignorance about Kobe that he used him as an example. So, whatever. I suppose if I agreed with his stance on the issues (whatever those may be) I wouldn’t stop from voting for him because he said something stupid about a guy who is worth ten of him, but I sure as heck wouldn’t ask him for his opinion about anything.

RE poll questions- I voted six, because I think that’s how it is playing out. Once you get a 3-2 lead, home court becomes less relevant, if it ever was. We should have them figured out by then, or vice versa. Of course, given the quality of the individual athletes involved, I don’t think any game is going to be decided until the bell is rung, and anything can happen.

Re Phil Jackson- I can’t vote for any of those. Given all of the factors in play, if I had to guess, and it would be a wild guess, I think it will come down to how he is feeling personally, and I think his health could be a factor in that. As I don’t know what personal factors might motivate his decision, I don’t feel qualified to say.

What matchup am I most looking forward to watching – The Lakers V the Celtics. It’s a team sport. We will have to play better than the sum of our match ups to win this, and it’s gonna be down to how well we can work together.

Re Gasol- I’m going with 1-5. He is a consistently good basketball player, and the Celtics will have to account for him, but he doesn’t have to have great numbers or convince the hard core Gasoft crowd here to change their minds. He will be there, and his being a threat will free up other players to make a difference, or if Boston is dumb enough to disrespect him or think he is soft, he will make them pay. I have no doubt, they are going to hit him and foul him underneath. They did it to Dwight Howard, they marginalized Shaq, and if they put all their energy to stopping Pau then they can. But it’s not Pau V the Celtics, it’s the Lakers V the Celtics.

I’ve said what I want to say about Rondo. He isn’t going to beat us by himself, he isn’t even close to the best player on the Celtics. I have too much respect for KG and PP to pretend that he could get the numbers he does if he was on a team with less talent. Good passer, solid big bodied defense. Anything else, make me a believer, cause I ain’t.

THE LOVE IS NOW PAYING ATTENTION TO BASKETBALL

THIS IS WHEN THE REAL SEASON STARTS.

FOUR GAMES, YOU SHOW UP, YOU WIN, YOU GO HOME.

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE LOVE

GO LAKERS!

Tweet of the Day: "Kobe is the best. The shots he made last night was insane. We played great defense and he would not be denied. You have to give him love!" -- AlvinGentry (Phoenix Suns Coach Alvin Gentry).

I'm not surprised at all, Gentry is a good coach and knows bball a lot.

I'm not sure if everybody is seeing it, but there is a little ad on the right side of my browser window that says 'Boston Medical Group' dedicated to fixing relationships by fixing men's erectile dysfunction, or something to that effect. Is this intentional, or are they just aiming this at me based on my browsing records?

Cause it was just that one time. It was cold out, I was nervous. She looked like Chewbacca, she was probably from Boston...

ok, never mind.

Well congrats my LA friends. It seems my SUNS were half asleep in the first half of Game 6 and that did them in. Despite bryant's hot shooting, the SUNS were still right there. I don't feel the gap between these teams is all that much, which makes this postseason exit much more palatable, though still unsatisfactory.

BTW, in regards to the previous blog about Jason Chaffetz, I happened to know his brother when I went to grade school in AZ in the 1980s. The Chaffetz boys were nice enough but had a certain arrogance about them at the same time. Doesn't surprise me that Jason's attacking the NBA to tout his agenda.

I can't say I'll be rooting for LA in the Finals, but good luck and may the best team win.

Go Lakers! Remember 2008. Let that motivate you all. We will win in our house

Hat's off to the Suns, they were a very worthy opponent!

Let us all remember that in 08, the Lakers weren't supposed to even make the Finals. Kobe versus 3 potential HOF'ers, Lakers outdid most expectations. This time is a little different. Kinda wonder what Celts will look like next year? How many will they put out to pasture?

Thanks DJ, very classy. It was good for the SUNS to play the champs and see where they need to be.

Suns are very close, they actually were the team I didn't want to face.

Hi Butler:

I didn't see you participate during the live game chat like you used to but just want to bid farewell to you in case you decided to take a seat and not watching the Finals and I might not hear from you again until next year. I do respect your love for the Suns. The Suns' fans should be proud of their team coming from a losing season in 2008 to become one of the best teams in the league. Nash is a shoo-in HOF, a great PG and a leader of the Suns. I do feel bad for him because his window of getting a championship is now dwindle especially if Amare chose to play elsewhere next year.

Any way, good luck and I hope that you'd change your heart and cheer for our team against the Celtics.

For the Suns, I think alot depends on if AS walks. If he does, Suns should trade Nash to Lakers for a couple draft picks and Drew and perhaps Sasha. I mean Nash has 2-3 good years left where he could really help the Lakers and Suns could rebuild around Drew and youth. Otherwise I think Nash will be wasted and old. If AS stays, different story. Just thoughts.

Butler, we, true Lakers' fans are always classy! We know when an opponnent is a worthy one or not... True fans also know how to be gracious in defeat. For that I commend you. Your SUNS are a good team. YOu have a great coach. What you need are players that has will to win. Nash is not it, Amare` is not it, Grant is definitely not it.

Go Lakers!!! Go Kobe!!!

Hi Wallace,

Thanks very much for the nice post. I'll be around during the Finals so I'm not bidding farewell...it will be an exciting match up after all. But I just can't pull for LA and I'm sure you understand as another rabid fan.

dice8up - good to hear your trade. SUNS wouldn't take bynum's contract, it's way huge and they've got their own 7-footer in Lopez who is going to be pretty good (and is cheap right now).

As for Nash, he will likely stay in PHX. His future doesn't seem threatened by age yet...look at his production this year and he did as well as his MVP years. I think with Dragic and Nash together, the Suns have a great PG combo.

I'd disagree with you and say Nash's will to win is as great as any playa out there - he's one of the toughest NBA ballers. His tears at the end of Game 6 told the story. If you'll remember, bryant also shed tears on camera when the Suns eliminated LA in 2007, so I think it's an indication of that inner fire.

What the Suns need is a big defensive 2-guard who can help perimeter D. They will be playing 6-10 Earl Clark next season, who is similar to Amare but is a much better defender and rebounder and plays SF..kind of like Batum in POR. I'm hoping he'll be a starter before too long. Grant Hill is still doing well but the Suns need more length at SF.

oops, DJ I mistook your post for dice8up. I answered it in that last post.

BTW, after Dragic slept with Sharapova, I don't think sasha will be anywhere near a PHX uniform soon...some bad blood there.

BUTLER:

Checkmate!!

Phred -

I hope you are wrong on those ads on the side following us around, because mine is Forest Lawn Mortuary, "We have a deal on a plot that people are just dying to get into!"

The Cruise? It was my daughters choice for her grad present. She chose the cruise over the beach house at Laguna. Somehow, I will find a way to enjoy it.

My plans?

Daytime - Relax on the beach and snorkel
Nightime - Eat, watch the game, and then celebrate by dancing the night away

This cruise line just added 30 imacs for guests to use in the Apple cafe. I hope the internet connection price won't kill me to use, otherwise, I will be begging for money from the blog....... again.

Yes, probably right about the trade, etc. And as for Nash tears, you are right, shows real emotion, just like Kobe!

Celtics fan here... One thing I've noticed throughout the LA coverage is an odd focus on match-ups. Artest on Pierce. Who'll guard Rondo? Pau on KG. One poster here rightly pointed out defense wins championships but defense, especially in the current world of the NBA is not a collection of individual match-ups. It's a team endeavor, with a strategy for dealing with the opponent's offensive game-plan and tireless execution by the entire team required to pull it off. Quick decisions; crisp rotations; push to the help and help being there on time. It's not at all about individual match-ups and yet there's article after article, blog after blog about how each Laker matches with his Boston counterpart. I find this very odd and can only hope the Lakers themselves are equally wrong-headed in their approach (though I know that's wishful thinking...)
Having said that, chew on this...
The Lakers have given up an average of 101 ppg to their opponents in these playoffs. The Celtics only 91 ppg. Celtics play better team defense than LA and if that holds, I'm really gonna enjoy this series.

bcsully....

I'm not much of a stats guy, but I do know that the games and teams that the Lakers experienced in this year's playoffs all play at a fast pace. That would account for some of that discrepancy. Lakers play good defense, don't fool yourself. And the Lakers can play a fast game or a half court game where they grind it out. May the best team win!

GO LAKERS!!

Keep underestimating us, we love it!! Anyone remember 1969?

Enough with the Suns, they played well but it time to move on.

I see FAILTICS fans posting on here, go some where with your old team. We'll soon proove that. Watch the Lakers defense in this matchup the FAILTICS will resort to, technical fouls and suspentions, similiar to the Pistons after Michael ended there run and similiar to Portland in the repeat championship in 2001. When you know you can't win frustration sets in, I can't wait.

I felt good about our chances once we advanced, but the more I think about I get more confident by the minute. First off Laker fans the we have Artest ( I'm willing to bet the ranch that Paul Pierce won't have it as easy as in '08, by a long shot. Equally Pau won't have to fight by himself in the paint like in' 08. Andrew Bynum, fresh off getting 2-1/2 oz of fluid drained from his knee. Trust me he'll be more than average. Let's face it, it's a totally different story now.

AND I'M LOVING IT!!!

GO LAKERS, KILL THE FAILTICS!!!

If some experts think Tony Allen will be the next Kobe Stopper....quit now, seriously....


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