Tonight they tip off at nine o’clock. Of course that means I’ll see the first half of the game and will be sound asleep as the game wraps up. Somehow the alarm goes off at 5:30 regardless of the end time of a sporting event. Be it a west coast Sox game, west coast Bruins game or even the NBA Finals, the alarm clock doesn’t care.
But what can we expect as Celtics fans?
The way I’m looking at this series as a whole is that the Lakers haven’t played against a team with super defense like the Celtics. They played run and gun with the Suns where there’s no defense involved. In fact the Lakers have held an opponent under 100 points just four times in 16 games this playoffs. Two were against Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City, twice against the Jazz in their sweep and zero times against the Celtics.
In the off-season the Celtics went out and convinced ‘Sheed to come to Boston. He was supposed to be their sixth man off the bench that would stretch the floor against opponents with his ability to hit from outside and play the post. Well the regular season came and went without the fan base seeing much of that post presence or defense. But come playoff time it’s been night and day. He’s been a huge difference maker defensively.
On the west coast, the Lakers traded for Ron Artest. Artest is a great defender but isn’t the scorer he was earlier in his career. He had a better regular season that Rasheed Wallace, but in the post season he hasn’t been the difference maker that Wallace has been. He’s been overshadowed by the great play of Kobe and Aids Face Gasol.
The “X” factor for the Celtics I think will be Kendrick Perkins ability to stay in the games. He’s one technical away from being suspended from a game. I don’t think with Perk on the sidelines it helps the Celtics chances when the Lakers can put three 6′ 11″ guys out there at the same time.
I guess the good news for the Celtics in that match-up is that they went small a few times in 2008 with Posey on the floor and it seemed that the Lakers didn’t have an answer for it. Let’s hope with the emergence of Nate Robinson in the last series, if the team tries to go small, they can repeat the 2008 success.
I called the Celtics in six in my previous column this week and I’m sticking by my guns. I say a split in LA to start and then the Lakers steal one in Boston (possibly on the aforementioned possible Perkins suspension) but the Celtics head out west and win game six.
Back tomorrow with a recap.