Lakers vs. Celtics

Lakers vs. Celtics, I have the Lakers in 6. Why you ask? Simple, Kobe is on a revenge mission to get back at the Celtics for 2008. It’s as simple as that. What Kobe wants, Kobe gets.

Kobe is the best player, the most versatile player, and the player with the most determination that will hit the court on Thursday night.

Now I am not taking anything away from the Big 3, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen plus the budding superstar, Rajon Rondo. As a whole they are probably the most complete team to take the court these play-offs, no the Lakers. However, the best player will be wearing the purple and gold, not the green and white.

Yes Kobe #24 is the man. How many game winning shots did he hit this year? 7 + 2 almost that were cleaned up by Pau Gasol in game 6 over the Thunder and Ron Artest in game 5 over the Suns. It seems even when Kobe is off someone is collecting his garbage and making him look brilliant.

Kobe is very aware of the following facts:

1) Losing game 6 by 39 points! and having to watch the Celtics celebrate to the heart’s content in front of the Lakers. Yes last year made up for some of it, but every competitive athlete would like to get another shot at those who dealt them the death blow.

2) Seeing that the likes of James Posey, Eddie House and Tony Allen blow open the 2nd quarter of that game going on a 26-6 run can’t sit too well with Kobe. It was not the Big 3 who did the damage, but the bench.

3)  Kobe has 4 rings and can pick up another and make that 5, only one behind Michael Jordan. Can Kobe surpass his Airness in Championship? It’s certainly possible and this series would be one more step in that direction

4) The Celtics and Lakers have met 11 times prior to this year in the finals. The Celts winning 9 and the Lakers collecting their 2 in the 1980’s thanks to Magic Johnson and co. Do you think Kobe would like to match Magic’s success in a Laker jersey? You can bet that.

5) Kobe moved away from posting up last series against the Suns and was forced into taking longer shots over two defenders. He had huge success at this, but can it continue this series Vs. the Celtics defenders? I bet you he has continued practicing those long bombs all week.

6) Kobe watched the Lakers lose by a point without him February in Los Angeles while he was out with a sprained ankle. Think he wants another shot to rectify that? I’m sure he does.

7) Kobe knows that the celebrity strength of the Celtics roster is more powerful than the Lakers at this point in time. America may be rooting for the Celtics for the simple reason that media outlets have been shoving down our throats the fact that this may be Boston’s final hurrah as a group. We have been hearing this storyline all playoffs long and how Rondo is emerging as a superstar. Do you think Kobe would like to show Rondo a lesson or two? I wouldn’t bet against it, that’s for sure. 

8- How about the Lakers bus being attacked by Celtics fans after game 6 of the 2008 finals? Think that was a pleasant experience for Kobe? I’m sure he didn’t think that something like that could happen in America. Usually that is reserved for soccer loving countries.

9) He and Pau now have 2 1/2 years of experience working together and at the time of the 2008 finals, Pau had just joined the Lakers and the dynamics and play between them had yet to develop into what is has been over the past two seasons.

10) Kobe has the veteran Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum in his defensive arsenal. In 2008 Bynum was hurt and didn’t play allowing Kendrick Perkins more room in the paint and a young Trevor Ariza was in Artest’s place. I think that Artest will match up very nicely against Paul Pierce, thank you very much. And Bynum will be more of a defensive force down low even if he is not playing at 100%. This will allow Kobe the chance to focus a little more on offense, knowing that he has more defensive support than he has had in the past.

Kobe will be Kobe, and I am expecting him to continue putting up the numbers he did in the 3 previous playoff series this year and collect ring #5.  

And that’s the bottom line, cause The Sports Rabbi says so!

Thoughts from the Pulpit

1) The Yankees role again Vs. the Indians on a Memorial Day special. A-Rod with an A-Bomb as John Sterling would have described it led the Yankees to victory and only sit 2.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays. But right behind them only 1 game back are the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox thanks to an AMAZING David Ortiz month are only 5 games out of 1st place.

2) Meanwhile the Phillies continue their slide downwards going 3-7 in their last 10 losing to the now 1st place Atlanta Braves 9-3 in a crucial June series. It seems that nothing is stopping the bleeding for the Phils and the Braves are taking full advantage of that.

3) The Chicago Blackhawks win Game 2 at home 2-1 and take a 2-0 series lead into Philadelphia. Is this do or die for the Flyers? Could be the end of the road for this team. Yes Michael Leighton was good last night but Antti Niemi was better on this night.

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