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Nothing Says NBA Like Lakers-Celtics Finals

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Kobe Bryant posing with the trophy. AP Photo/Hector MataIt’s here. After waiting for a week the NBA Finals start tonight in Boston and with it a heralded rivalry is renewed.

Gone are the Forum and the dump that was known as the Boston Garden. A lot of people may remember the Garden fondly, but a place that had no air-conditioning or heat and a horrible uneven parquet floor that contained dead spots is a dump.

Gone are Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Bob Parrish.

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Now we have one the best offensive teams in the Lakers led by MVP Kobe Bryant and one of the best defensive teams in the Celtics led by Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

The Lakers on the road to the Finals faced two very physical teams in the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers' length frustrated both teams and their sheer number of offensive weapons had the defenders scratching their heads.

Going up against the Celtics, the Lakers have to forget about their two lopsided losses during the regular season. They didn't have Pau Gasol and are a completely different team than they were even two months ago. The Lakers have youth, speed and they need to use that against the Celtics.

That means more transition offense, more passing and if things start going south more Kobe.

Defensively the Lakers are more than adequate to stop the Celtics. Well perhaps "stop" is too extreme a word. The Lakers are able to minimize the offense of the Celtics. Looking back at the Spurs series with their big three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli, the Lakers didn't exactly crush the three. Only Manu Ginobli had a horrific series while Duncan and Parker seemed to score each time they touched the ball.

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In a similar way, the Lakers will be able to handle what the Celtics bring. Based on their last series, Ray Allen looked like Manu Ginobli.

All things being said, I just don't see how the Celtics will be able to hang with the Lakers. The Lakers are too long, too fast, too young and just too good for the Celtics. The Celtics will win tonight, but I think that'll be all she wrote. The games will be close, but in the end it's the Lakers who will close things out.

The Lakers next Sunday night at Staples Center in game five will be crowned NBA Champions and Kobe Bryant will be Finals MVP.