The 2010 NBA Finals are finally here. Let’s hope the Celtics and Lakers engage in a hard-fought, well-played series that produces compelling subplots. Anything to overshadow the increasingly annoying NBA free agent speculation.
The Lakers are the prohibitive favorites thanks to a spry Kobe Bryant, an assertive Pau Gasol, and a cast of capable role players. But the Celtics are peaking at the right time, thanks to a surprising bench and balanced scoring.
Make no mistake, the Celtics have a chance to win the NBA championship if Rajon Rondo is able to his thing.
Rondo’s unique game presents a host of problems for the Lakers. Unlike Steve Nash, who is much more comfortable shooting jumpers off the pick and roll, Rondo seeks the paint and doesn’t stop until he gets near the basket.
Rondo struggles against bigger guards, but has his way against players his size. Derek Fisher has physicality, but lacks the quickness to stay with Rondo. Fisher’s efforts on the defensive end are admirable, but not overly effective, regardless of what the analysts say.
Ron Artest matches up perfectly with Paul Pierce, who isn’t quick enough or big enough to be able to work comfortably against the Lakers. Ray Allen will most likely be shadowed by Kobe Bryant. Kevin Garnett looked done by the end of the Orlando series and will face a huge challenge against Pau Gasol.
The pressure is on Rondo to control the game from start to finish.
Rondo tends to play at his best when the stakes are high. He is capable of baffling opponents and quietly producing triple-double. His big fingerprints needs to be all over the game for the Celtics to have a chance.
Much more NBA finals coverage coming throughout the night here on ToTheTin.