Defense Wins Championships: The Boston Celtics Will Win NBA Finals

When the Boston Celtics manhandled the Orlando Magic in six games, and the L.A. Lakers eliminated the pesky Phoenix Suns in six as well, it set up a rematch of titan proportions.

But a lot has changed since these two franchises battled for a championship two seasons ago.

Gone are key cogs Trevor Ariza, James Posey, and P.J. Brown. Present for this edition of the Finals are Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest, and Rasheed Wallace. The starting fives largely remain intact (out are Vladimir Radmanovic, in is Andrew Bynum), and the respective coaching staffs are in place as well.

Certain players have elevated their games, others have seen production fall off somewhat through age and injury. The bottom line is, this is not going to be a carbon copy of the 2008 Finals.

The following is an assessment of multiple factors that will play a major role in deciding the outcome of the 2010 NBA Finals.


1. Home Court Advantage Now Belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers

In 2008, the Celtics had the best record in the league at an eye opening 66-16 mark. It was the first year Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett joined Boston stalwart Paul Pierce. The Lakers had just acquired Pau Gasol three months prior, and won a respectable 57 games.

Consequently, Boston had home court advantage in that series, and it played a massively important role. Boston won three games at home, including a 39-point annihilation in the deciding Game Six.

So, rather than traveling into a hostile arena hoping to steal one of the first two games, the Lakers get to enjoy the comfort of home-court advantage for the first two and potentially set themselves up to close the series out at home, if need be.

Thus far in the 2010 NBA Playoffs, the Lakers carry an extraordinary 8-0 mark at home. An opponent has to play a near perfect game to come in to the Staples Center and walk away with a victory.

Two yea...

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