The Lakers of course have Kobe Bryant. At this point even with the emergence of Lebron James, Kobe is still the true king who with his determination can will his tearm to the Finals as shown in this playoffs, injuries and all.
This year also, the Lakers have "hardened" Pau Gasol criticized in their past finals encounter against the Celtics as being soft. He was consistent in these playoffs often scoring at will while dominating the stat sheet.
Then there's the underappreciated Lamar Odom who is unstoppable if he wants to and Ron Artest who replaced Trevor Ariza from last year's lineup who was one of the heroes in the Suns matchup.
And who will forget Derek Fischer who tormented several teams in the past with his timely treys in the last second or even a fraction of a second in many important games.
They are last year's champs out for revenge against their tormenters before last year's finals. But somehow (sorry Chi-chi, sorry to many of my friends out there) I feel that the Celtics will go home with the championship trophy perhaps for the last time for the Big Three. Why?
- They have the big men to matchup with Gasol, Bynum and Odom. Garnett, Perkins, Wallace, Davis...most of them may be old but they can play rough and tough D. Look at what happened to the Cavs and Magic.
- They play defense well and they make good plays. Watching their plays making screens for their shooters are nice to watch.
- The Celtics have a deeper bench. Daniels, Nate Robinson, Wallace, Davis, Tony Allen can sustain the efforts of the first five both offensively and defensively.
- The Celtics are still hungry and perhaps they want it more. The Big Three want to prove critics wrong that despite their age, they can still win one more championship and cement their legacy. Sheed has the same feeling.
- Rajon Rondo is the man. He may not score in bunches but he makes good plays and breaks down defenses well to free up his shooters. Remember the dive for the ball against Jason Williams in the Magic series? Remember the last time the two teams met in the Finals where Rondo was a revelation. Rondo will still torment the Lakers and the Lakers guards cannot keep up with him.