NBA Finals 2011: How the Boston Celtics Will Meet the Los Angeles Lakers Again

As we ease in to All-Star Weekend, we also get a chance to exhale and take a look at where the midseason dust has settled in relation to league standings. There are some glaring stories of failure in Cleveland of course, but the lack of shine in Lakerland is probably the second most talked about topic.

There has been the story of the courageous Chicago Bulls, who just seem to keep winning despite multiple injuries. Derrick Rose has marked his name on the NBA map and Carlos Boozer is quickly becoming one of the NBA's best "second bananas."

People are getting excited about the New York Knicks again. While personally I think they will be first round cannon fodder, it is nice to have them back in the conversation.

The Miami Heat are developing before our eyes and seemingly everyone's favorite villain LeBron James is quietly carving himself out another MVP-caliber season.

The San Antonio Spurs are sitting on top of the pile with an amazing 46-10 record and look incredibly dangerous every night. Manu Ginobili is assuming the role of Team MVP and players like DeJuan Blair, Gary Neal and George Hill are all improving out of sight.

But let's face facts here: the Celtics and the Lakers will again face off in the NBA Finals come June. It has to be the sure bet to end all sure bets, and here's why.

The playoffs are so ridiculously different from the regular season, and on so many levels. Obviously the intensity rises, the defense gets tougher, the crowds get louder and every single play is the most important of the season. Who understands this better than the rest? The Celtics and Lakers.

Actions speak louder than words and team chemistry speaks louder than talent. While the Bulls, Magic, Heat and Mavericks all have talent, they haven't been to war together (note: OKC gets a pass here, but that series against the Lakers last season wasn't as close as everyone wishes it was).


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