In this edition of the Celtics Four-Point Play, I will talk about the NBA Finals. I’ll analyze the impact of Kendrick Perkins, the possibility of seeing Tony Allen, how Kobe Bryant ranks in among the top players in the NBA, and I’ll offer my full NBA Finals prediction.
1. Kendrick Perkins has averaged 7.2 points and 6.8 rebounds overall in 20 playoff games, but really picked his game up in the Detroit series, going for 9.3 points and 9.2 rebounds.
- Perk is really pivotal for the Celtics success this series. He really needs to keep up his elevated play during the Pistons series when he averaged more than nine points and nine rebounds per game.
- I have a feeling though that Perk will have trouble defending Gasol. If he can try to out-physical him, which is certainly possible, then it may work to his advantage. Gasol is taller and a much more talented offensive player than Detroit’s Antonio McDyess was, so that definitely gives Perk a challenge.
- I think if Perk can average seven points and nine rebounds, the Celtics will be in good shape.
2. Tony Allen, originally deemed doubtful for the NBA Finals, was present at practice this week.
- Who is Tony Allen? Well, he’s had 48 total playoff minutes over 12 games and averaged one point. So why would the Celtics care if he’s ready to play or not?
- Well in two wins against the Lakers this season (granted, the Lakers didn’t have Gasol), Tony was assigned to cover Kobe. Tony is our best perimeter defender and has played Kobe well in the past.
- Tony is smart with his hands and a responsible defender. He never usually needs an extra body to come over to help, which gives the Celtics more options defensively. If healthy, Tony could play a pivotal role.
3. Kobe Bryant has averaged 31.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.8 assists in 15 playoffs games this postseason.
- Those are just amazing numbers, especially considering that he has such a strong supporting cast around him.
- The Celtics definitely will be facing the No. 1 or No. 2 player in all of basketball when they take the floor to face the Lakers, after already facing LeBron James and Cleveland. Kobe is the closest thing to Michael Jordan that we can find, and god forbid we ever say he is better. He isn’t, but he’s damn close.
- Containing Kobe will be just as hard as it was against LeBron, but the even more difficult challenge will be controlling his supporting cast of Gasol and Lamar Odom, among others. Sure, Kobe can score 45 points, but the Lakers need some other players to score the other 55 points and if the Celtics are stopping Kobe’s supporting cast, the Lakers won’t win.
4. The Lakers-Celtics series will most likely go seven games…but who do I think will win it?
- Well, on paper, the teams are pretty even, with maybe the Lakers getting the slight edge talent-wise. Both teams have players that can carry them on their backs: Paul Pierce with the Celtics, and Kobe Bryant with the Lakers. Both teams have players that can disappear in a series: Ray Allen for the C’s, and Lamar Odom for L.A.
- Case and point, the Celtics have homecourt advantage, and as long they win at home, they’re guaranteed to win the series. Obviously, if I think this is going seven games, I think the Celtics will win it.
- My official prediction is Celtics in seven games, but I’m about 55% sure of that happening. This is going to be a tight series, and this is going to be an entertaining series.
- Kendrick Perkins is my player to watch, because I think he’ll make an impact and prevent Gasol from going off. It’s just a hunch…but he played well in the Pistons series so it’s not off-base.
Tags: Celtics, Four-Point Play, Kendrick Perkins, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Finals, Tony Allen