Celtics in 7
Ford versus Chevy, McDonalds versus Burger King, Coke versus Pepsi, Lakers versus Celtics, some rivalries are just timeless. In the 1960’s these two teams at the pillar of pro-basketball for the last fifty years met seven times, with the Celtics dominating in the NBA’s growth years, as Red Auerbach’s victory cigar seemed an annual right of passage in the NBA. Even after the legendary coach became the Celtics General Manager the Green and White still got the best of the purple and gold winning classic series in 1968 and 1969, with Bill Russell besting Wilt Chamberlain.
In 1984 they would meet again, this time it was Magic versus Bird. For the two combatants it was a rematch five years earlier they had been responsible for the growth in popularity in March Madness. They would have the same effect in the NBA, as the 1984 Finals would go down as perhaps the best ever, and the one that paved the way for the extreme growth in the NBA’s Popularity. The series that year went seven games with classic moments and quotes through out. In the end the Celtics won again in seven games as eight of the ten previous finals between the Lakers and the Celtics went six or seven games. The Lakers would finally get revenge on the Celtics in 1985 and 1987, as the 80’s became the decade of primetime, while the Celtics dynasty went into hibernation.
Now after 21 years in hibernation the Celtics are back, it would almost seem wrong if the Lakers were not there, and history is riding on this one as the Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has a chance to break Red Auerbach’s record of 10 NBA Championships. If Coaching were going to be the deciding factor the Lakers would win this series easily. However, it won’t be and while NBA MVP Kobe Bryant was able to run rings around the 2007 Champion Spurs, that won’t happen here as the Celtics can run too, and the Celtics are a more physical team. Look for the deciding factor to be hunger and opportunity, and that is the hunger and opportunity of one man in particular; Kevin Garnett. For years KG suffered on a mediocre Timberwolves team, as one of the best players in the NBA seemed to be miles away from holding the trophy. Now he is just four games away and you are going to see the best of Garnett. In addition Paul Pierce who suffered on bad Celtics teams is getting his first chance, and he has been strong through out the playoffs. Look for Pierce and Garnett to be big factors, as Ray Allen who struggled in the earlier rounds plays like an All-Star too. However, it won’t be easy for the Celtics and in Purple versus green tradition it will probably go seven games, and will be the best series the NBA has had in along time, who knows it may help revive the sagging ratings and grow the league just like that series 24 years ago, with Kevin Garnett getting his ring and a NBA Finals MVP to go along with it.