After a one day break, the NBA Playoffs resume tomorrow, Thursday, with Game Four in Boston. So far the playoffs have been give and take, with alternating wins and losses between the two teams.
It’s not surprising to see the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals. Both teams are continuously dominant, season after season, year after year. Both have storied histories, a famed rivalry, and sit atop the basketball elite. Where the Celtics have 17 Championships, the Lakers have 16. With 31, the Lakers have only three more Conference Titles than the Celtics. Is it any wonder why the stakes in this Championship Series are high for both teams?
This series marks the 12th time the two teams have met in the NBA Finals. The Celtics have won nine of those, the Lakers two. Their most recent meeting was in 2008, when the Celtics won in Game Six and took home their 17th title. If one’s history or talent outweighed the other, it would perhaps make it easier for someone whose not a Lakers or Celtics fan to chose a side: Underdog or Proven Champs? Unfortunately, both these teams are proven champs with almost identical winning records and some of the best talent in the game.
While Kobe Bryant is the biggest name in basketball and the Lakers the most popular franchise, the Celtics have proven themselves worthy competitors, bringing the heat to the Lakers on their own court at Staples Center. The individual competition on the court between Bryant and Celtic Paul Pierce is almost reminiscent of the famed 1984 match-up between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Will history repeat itself, with Pierce coming out on top? It’s hard to say this soon as thus far the games have been relatively close: the largest gap in a final score only 13 points.
I believe the Lakers are the ones who have the most to prove, for while they may have won last year (and many years in recent memory), as a championship team headed by the likes of Kobe Bryant should not have to concede a 10th NBA Finals Loss to the Celtics.
Ultimately though, this match-up is the way a championship series should be, with the best of the league fighting it out for being crowned the best of the season. It’s exciting, and nerve wracking unpredictable. Just like sports should be.
And in this case, whomever wins will surely have earned it.