Why This Edition Of Lakers-Celtics Will (Or Won’t) Be Different

Alright, enough with the Conference Finals.  Enough with exaggeration and panic and fans and media alike going crazy.  Time for something REALLY compelling.

No match-up in basketball - heck, no match-up in SPORTS - is more compelling, more exciting, more bloodcurdling than Lakers-Celtics...or Celtics-Lakers, to be fair to both sides of the coin.  No two teams have ever met so often to determine the champions of their sport.

Not Dodgers-Yankees.  Not Cowboys-Steelers.  Not even close.

With 32 leagues championships and 50 (that's right) Finals appearances between the two before this year, it only makes sense that the Lakers and Celtics would meet once again.  Before the summer solstice rolls around, the combined total of Larry O'Brien trophies for these two teams will be 33.  The big question, though, is who will take that title home?

Some favor the Celtics, who ultimately embarrassed the Lakers in the Finals two years ago for their first NBA Championship since the glory days of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parrish. Some favor the Lakers, who, since said trouncing, have won a championship, added the defensively tenacious Ron Artest, and grown into a tougher and more resilient unit as a whole.

That being said, let's take a look at what's changed since the 2008 Finals match-up between LA and Boston and see how those changes could affect the outcome of this year's edition:


The most obvious change that's taken place over the last two years, for both teams, is the growth in experience.  The two years since the 2008 Finals have seen each team confront new and different challenges with a variety of results.  Most significantly, this year's version of the Lakers now has the championship pedigree to match that of the Celtics, after Kobe Bryant led his squad to the 2009 NBA Championship over the Orlando Magic in five games.

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