Thursday, June 5, 2008


Tonight marks the start of the 1987 NBA Finals. It should be exciting to see whether Larry Bird and company can contend with Magic Johnson and his "Showtime" brethren.

I suspect there are a lot of people out there who wish it was the 1987 NBA Finals instead of the 2008 NBA Finals, but I've got to tell you that I have been watching some the old series on ESPN Classic. Today's brand of basketball is much, much better. When we imagine the old days, everyone makes free throws, no one trash talks, and every pass is on the money. That is some serious BS. There is some sloppy play in those old games. And the play is so much less physical.

The main thing I have learned from watching the old games is that Shaq would have averaged about 60 points per game in the early 80's and Lebron James would look like a He-man action figure out on the court. I would like to watch all the NBA Finals in a row on ESPN Classic, so we can tell the point somewhere in the late 80's to early 90's when players became more athletic by a factor of about 100. I'm sure it all revolves around Michael Jordan.

Anyway, tonight's finals should be great. I am not sure who I am rooting for yet, which is remarkable given my lifetime hatred of the Lakers. For reasons not completely understood by me, I am ok with this Laker team. The Celtics are fine too, and I really like KG. On the other hand, I am really tired of Boston winning every sports title that means anything.

Who will win? I have no idea. What I can say is that I see the matchups this way.

Point Guard
Derek Fisher vs. Rajon Rondo
Rondo is more active and aggressive but Fisher is wily and clutch.
Advantage: Wash

Shooting Guard
Kobe Bryant vs. Ray Allen
This is not even close to being a contest.
Advantage: Lakers

Small Forward
Vladamir Radmanovic vs. Paul Pierce
Possibly even less of a contest.
Advantage: Celtics

Power Forward
Lamar Odom vs. Kevin Garnett
This is a better matchup that you might think. Odom has the length and quickness to bother Garnett, while his offensive game will keep KG from roaming too far.
Advantage: Celtics

Pau Gasol vs. Kendrick Perkins
Pau Gasol has been the key to the Lakers offensive success in the last half of the season. Perkins should be able to bother him with his strength, but Gasol should get a breather when the C's have the ball.
Advantage: Lakers

The Lakers have a bunch of young guys. The Celtics have a nice mix of young and old guys. The bench experience gives the C's a bit of an advantage.
Advantage: Celtics

Doc Rivers vs. Phil Jackson
If you are a Celtics fan this is the one that makes you nervous. Rivers has made some questionable moves during the playoffs. Phil Jackson has almost enough rings to make him look like a professional wrestling manager.
Advantage: Lakers

So there you have it. The ultimate cop out. I have the two teams tied after judging the criteria. Hopefully, I am right and this becomes a 7 game series for the ages. Perhaps it will even make us stop wishing it was 1987 all over again.

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