NBA / Jun 2, 2010 / 10:45 am

Examining The Matchups For The NBA Finals

With the NBA Finals starting tomorrow, everything that can be prepared for has already been done. But when the ball gets thrown up for the jump, it’s going to come down to five players trying to beat five players. With that in mind, we analyze and examine all the matchups for the NBA Finals and tell you who has the edge.

POINT GUARD: RAJON RONDO vs. DEREK FISHER

Rondo has been absolutely awesome during these playoffs. He has stepped up and carried the Celtics, most notably against the Cavs when they couldn’t contain him and he erupted for an average of 20.7 points, 11.8 assists and 6.3 rebounds per game. Rondo makes that team go, and provides lock-down defense at the point. Fisher is the savvy veteran leader for the Lakers who provides solid defense and clutch shooting down the stretch. While getting up in years, Fisher is still a rock-solid contributor for L.A. who executes his role to perfection.

Edge: Celtics

SHOOTING GUARD: RAY ALLEN vs. KOBE BRYANT

Ray Allen is the best pure shooter in the NBA. With his incredibly quick release, Allen can get his shot off in a split second, just before the defense can get to him. He is aging and has struggled at times during the year, but he is a knockdown shooter who will run his defender ragged around screens. On the other side is Kobe. Kobe is the best player in the game today, and there is no disputing that. Kobe’s rise-up shot with Grant Hill in his face in Game 6 against the Suns just summed up the man’s greatness on the court. He makes the impossible look normal, and there is no reason he won’t be motivated to beat the Celtics after what happened in 2008.

Edge: Lakers

SMALL FORWARD: PAUL PIERCE vs. RON ARTEST

Pierce is the face of Boston’s franchise. He has spent his entire career in the Green and White, and his number will be retired eventually – he would love nothing more than another title to cement his legacy among the Celtic greats. Pierce put on a clinic in his last game, leading the Celtics with 31 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Despite his stellar play, he will be in for a rough time against Artest. Even though he has a bone-headed shot selection and penchant for frustrating his coach, Artest’s talent is something that can’t be downplayed. He is one of the strongest, and best perimeter defenders in the league, and has offensive abilities that shine through on occasion – like in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.

Edge: Celtics

POWER FORWARD: KEVIN GARNETT vs. PAU GASOL

Garnett is one of the most intense competitors in the last 15 years of the NBA. He is a defensive stud, and very skilled offensively, but he has become Boston’s fourth option on offense with the emergence of Rondo and his balky knee. Gasol is an incredibly skilled offensive big man. He has an array of moves that he can go to at any time in any game – and they usually work. He also is an excellent passer with great vision, and an underrated rebounder. Will Gasol shed his reputation as “soft” in this series?

Edge: Lakers

CENTER: KENDRICK PERKINS vs. ANDREW BYNUM

Perkins is huge. His size down low can be a game-changer, but against Bynum who is equally as big, it shouldn’t be as much of a defensive advantage. Saying that, Perkins is a great interior defender and shot-blocker who is not afraid the hard foul, but he must temper his emotions in these Finals. Bynum is much more gifted offensively than Perkins, but his aching knee has kept him to a shell of his healthy self, and he has been inconsistent throughout the playoffs.

Edge: Even

BENCH

The Celtics’ bench has been very solid in the playoffs, providing a spark for the team throughout. With the revelation of Nate Robinson in Game 6, an already effective Celtics bench just got a little better. If Big Baby and Sheed are both healthy enough to bang with the Lakers’ bigs, it will be a huge lift for Boston. L.A.’s bench has been very inconsistent throughout the playoffs, and got overshadowed by Phoenix’s bench in the Conference Finals. The Lakers have the most talented reserve in the series in Lamar Odom, but he needs to get help from Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown and the rest of the crew.

Edge: Celtics

COACHING: DOC RIVERS vs. PHIL JACKSON

Doc Rivers has done a great job with this Celtics team. The team looked unmotivated and lackadaisacal in the regular season, including a loss to the Nets, but Rivers has gotten his team to play inspired basketball since the playoffs began. Rivers also has defensive guru Tom Thibodeau at his side to scheme against Kobe. Phil Jackson is the one of the best coaches in NBA history. He has 10 NBA titles, and has done a great job managing his teams over the years.

Edge: Lakers

SERIES PREDICTION: LAKERS IN 6

What do you think? What matchup should each team exploit? Who do you think is going to win?

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  • 45%

    4 biggest factors to me in this series are…

    rondo…. he played well in the reg season vs. La both times but he is on a different level now. If he controls the flow i think celts got it.

    artest… if he can neutralize pierce its a rap for the bos.

    gasol vs. kg… if KG is still in his head thats a problem but if not lake show should be good mooney to repeat.

    kobe… i know he is the greatest right now. but if things break down can he will his team to victory. sometimes he likes to shot his team out of a victory way to early.

  • K

    Celtics in 6 maybe even 5

  • sh!tfaced

    Maybe the Celtics should try switching KG on Bynum (bum knee vs bum knee) and Perk on Gasol (Pau doesn’t like the rough & tough stuff and Perk has had some success against him before) and see what happens…?

  • Big T

    The “Smackdown” squad is going down in 6 games.

  • Doog

    While I agree Bryant has an edge over Allen and has been playing incredibly well during these playoffs, it is unclear that his recent percentages in hitting contested, long two-point shots is sustainable over the long-term. And while I think Bryant is one of the best at hitting difficult shots, this ability certainly doesn’t clearly demonstrate that Bryant is the best player in the game. It looks great but it doesn’t actually have a correlation with winning. (As to the “well, Kobe has lots of championships” argument, I don’t think he has ever had the highest winshares or PER on a championship team, which suggests that he is not the sole, or even the primary, reason for the rings on his fingers.)

  • kg fan

    I think kg did a good job of containing beasley, jamison and lewis so i think he can contain gasol. I do worry about odom. If he decides to show up it could be a long series. Plus rondo might be stiff from that fall and 1 more tech and perk is suspended for a game. Should be a good series. 1 more day!

  • Bruce

    Someone on the Lakers should poke at Perkins, dude already got 6 technical fouls.

  • Rizwan

    Um… Steve Nash is the best shooter in the NBA.

  • http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/703154723/the-soulchorea-project?pos=1 Kermit The Washington

    Lakers win game one
    Celtics win game two
    Lakers win game three
    Celtics win game four
    Lakers win game five (nail-biter)
    Lakers win game six

  • Khalvin

    wow @kg fan
    Did u just compare beasley, jamison and lewis to Gasol??? Are you serious right now…
    lol

    Lakers in 6

  • s.bucketz

    so because phil won against 10 other people with completely different squads hes got the edge over doc who beat him in essence with the same squads???kinda get it but not really..

    and no way bynum is near kendrick “my face is mad at my own face” perkins…bynum’s knee is fucked and perk is a big ass goon its gunna b problems for bynum all series long..

    and KG isn’t really a 4th option..hes consistently hittin that mid range J throughout the game…rondo is always lookin for him after driving hard..somethin they didnt have in the playoffs last year

  • s.bucketz

    also, its widely known that Ray plays some of the best D on Kobe in the league…i believe kobe has said before that Jebus gives him some of the most problems in the league

  • JD

    Celtics clean sweep the Lakers … hehehe that’d be funny

  • karizmatic

    The Celtics obviously need to do everything they can to exploit the Rondo, Fisher matchup. They should probably look to do this by involving Rondo in more screen roll and pick and pop action than the usually do, with KG.

    I think the lakers can exploit the matchups at every other position on the floor, I think the goal of the Lakers should be to try to get any one or all of the big 3 in foul trouble, they can do this by obviously getting the ball to Kobe or posting up Artest with the goal to get Allen and Pierce in foul trouble. Also getting the ball to Bynum a few times in the post to try to get Perkins in early foul trouble could work too. Obviously the Lakers should be able to run their offense to generate points, but it may be wise to go to those matchups a little more often than they usually would.

    Lakers in 6.

  • Bill

    http://www.celticsblog.com/2010/6/1/1495867/garnetts-shutouts

    Like your others post, numbers don’t lie. Might be in part to the players choking but also a big part because of KG’s defense.

    Gasol + Odom = Garnett’s Bitch

  • 45%

    @8 its really easy to say but nash has never been in a big game…i’ll always give it to ray.

    #FACT- ray allen always gets up for games aganist 24.

  • 45%

    Kobe: 29.4ppg, 5.1apg, 4.6rpg, 0.9spg, 44.4% FG, 35.3% 3PT, 81.0% FT, 3.6 TOpg

    Ray: 22.8ppg, 4.0apg, 5.2apg, 1.3spg, 45.4% FT, 36.5% 3PT, 91.5% FT, 2.2 TOpg

    trust me ray doesnt like kobe.

  • marcus the great

    i’m surprised no one brought up the fact that kobe probably wont check ray allen, fisher will. kobe will end up checking rondo. i forgot where i heard it, but kobe isnt very good at chasing around screens and such like fisher. and we all know fisher cant hold rondo, so kobe on him would be a much better matchup for the lakers.

    i think thats the only way the lakers have a chance cuz dfish will get shredded

  • kg fan

    @ Khalvin
    Yeah I know Gasol is way better than those guys but I still think/hope he can limit his effectiveness in the paint

  • scarboroslikechuck

    Fisher is the savvy veteran leader for the Lakers who provides solid defense”

    is that statement for real?

  • Lets Go Hawks

    @marcus the great is right. Kobe will check Rondo and Fish will get Allen. Allen’s shooting is key. If he is off, they lose because that is the only major mismatch they have

  • 2 Easy

    I swear this is the exact same prediction from 2 years ago… Celts in 6

  • icey

    Fisher is the savvy veteran leader for the Lakers who provides solid defense-LOL

    and ray allen does indeed play very good defense on jobe

  • Andy

    I hope this will go down to a hotly contested 7-game series. These are the 2 best teams in the playoffs, teams that proved over and over that they deserve their shot at the title. I am a Laker fan, and I do think that Kobe is the best player right now. However, I can appreciate a great team like Boston, who shot down bigger opponents, essentially going through every round as underdogs. I can’t predict who is going to win this one, but i can tell you it’s going to be a fantastic duel. And neither team will LeChoke :D.

  • Ken

    I think we will see how stacked both teams are. Should be a good one. The 7 footers on both teams will dominate the game. We will see Ron Ron put Pierce in his pocket. Gasol will dominate the paint also. Sasha “the machine” will have a good game. You know kobe will show up. But it will be players like Luke Walton will be the x factor in game one. Lets see if I’m right. The young buck Bynum better show up cuz we need him. Lakers in 6.

    Ken