Lakers vs. Celtics 2010: When Nothing Else Matters

I knew we would end up here.

Not when the season started, or even when the playoffs began. But as soon as we saw this version of the Lakers and this version of the Celtics heading into the Finals; I knew we were going seven.

This series has not been a pretty one, but it's been close, compelling, and competitive. However, it has not pretty or necessarily well-played (as the shooting percentages will tell you).

My personal nemesis, Kobe Bryant, has been brilliant at times, but he has often dominated the offense, to the detriment of his teammates.

Rajon Rondo has temporarily regressed against the Lakers. He was injured in the last game against Orlando, and didn't really seem to be himself until about Game Five. He's now taken a clear backseat to Paul Pierce.

None of that, or the other storylines involving Pierce, Artest, Gasol, or the Lakers bench matter anymore.

We have one game to decide NBA superiority.

Celtics fans want to rant about the last stand of the Big Three; Lakers fans want to talk about Kobe's legacy. Neither of those things will matter on the court tonight.

Here's the facts: The Lakers have homecourt and a crowd that ,despite it's preference for text messaging, can affect the game (and refs). The Lakers have the best player, the Mamba, and they have a bench that only shows up at home. 

The Celtics have lost their starting center, and will most likely start Rasheed Wallace. They're an older team on less than 48 hours rest since they were blown out on Tuesday. Nevertheless, they are a tough veteran team with pride, who knows they can beat the Lakers in Staples Center.

I think there are three major factors that will alter this game.


1. Tempo

If Rondo can get the Celtics out in transition off of Lakers misses, the Celtics will win. Rondo is the X-factor in this game, as he's the one player f...

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