WHO’LL BE LEFT STANDING?
Thoughts about the remaining 2008 NBA Playoffs
UPDATED: June 1, 2008
Kobe Bryant is on a mission.
Unless something unexpected happens --- which is always possible in professional sports --- I don’t see anything or anyone stopping Kobe from leading the Lakers to the NBA championship in 2008.
The match-up between the Boston Celtics and the L.A. Lakers will certainly make the NBA, the media, and many old school fans very happy. As any student of the game knows, there is no more “classic” rivalry in basketball, with L.A. holding 16 total championships and Boston 14. In head-to-head wars, however, Boston holds the advantage with 8 championships to two.
The 2008 series will be fascinating to watch because of the Laker’s tremendous offensive capabilities versus Boston’s proven defensive talents. The X Factor in the finals, I believe, will be the degree to which Boston’s “Big Three” of Garnett, Pierce and Allen can translate a hunger for victory into a team effort sufficient to contain Kobe just enough to open the door for the Celtics to outpace L.A. One edge that they will have in that challenge will be home court advantage with the first two games being played in Boston where the Celtics have been almost unbeatable all year.
Still, I return to the fact that Kobe is leading an all-out crusade to win it all. He feels that he has a lot to prove. He wants to show the world he can win it all without Shaq. He has had an M.V.P. year and he will only push harder and harder now that the trophy and championship ring are with reach. To date, Kobe has scored at will but has also involved his teammates. Gasol has not always been consistent but he provides a big added weapon for L.A. that cannot be ignored.
Look forward to some hard fought games. The Celtics will play like true warriors but my guess is that Kobe’s mission will result in another NBA championship for the great Laker’s franchise.