The Las Vegas Hilton Superbook has installed the Los Angeles Lakers as a -185 favorite over the Boston Celtics who are +165. The NBA and ABC Television has the match up they wanted with Boston and Los Angeles squaring off once more in their rivalry for ages.
The Las Vegas Hilton Superbook will see plenty of action with these two teams also. This a perfect match up from a gambling standpoint, Boston and Los Angeles fans are two fan bases that love to hate each other and love to bet. Los Angeles gets the edge on the NBA Finals because they do have the home court advantage.
Trash talk and talk of revenge has already begun.
Pau Gasol has already served notice that he has not forgotten the Lakers treatment during and after their loss in their last NBA Finals match up against the Celtics. After the series, Gasol spoke of the memory of the Celtic fans throwing rocks at their bus and cursing the Lakers as they sat in traffic trying to get back to their hotel.
Gasol also remembers the harsh criticism he received from the press and fans for being perceived as soft. Gasol told Yahoo Sports, “Nothing was really made of the fact that we got there and what we did to get there and the things we did well. I was one of the people that the media focused on sticking and criticizing.” Gasol went on to say that was his motivation as the Lakers won the NBA Finals in 2009.
Keys to winning the NBA Finals start & end with Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant is still the key to the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Finals. Bryant appears focused and more motivated than when these teams faced off in the 2008 NBA Finals. Bryant has revenge on his mind and when Bryant decides to take over a game, there are not many players that can stop him.
Bryant will be matched up against Ray Allen and assorted other players as they try to double Bryant and force him into bad shots. Bryant will fend off Allen easily and this will result in attempted double teams by Boston. Bryant may not score 30 every game but look for him to involve Gasol, Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom.
Second key match up will be Rajon Rondo versus Derek Fisher.
Rajon Rondo has been tearing up the NBA Playoffs and seemed to cool in the Celtics NBA Eastern Conference Final but he will give Derek Fisher all he can handle in the these NBA Finals. Fisher has always been Mr Clutch in the NBA Playoffs and the NBA Finals and when it comes to offense versus offense in this match up, don’t be surprised if Fisher prevails in this match up. It will the best match up to watch.
NBA Finals by the numbers-a breakdown of the key playoff stats.
Key statistics in the playoffs to watch for will tell some of the tale in regards to who can take charge in the NBA Finals. The Celtics enter the NBA Finals with a .384% from the three point line while the Lakers are shooting .348% from behind the three point line. Take Ron Artest out of this equation and the Lakers will win the battle of the threes.
At the free throw line it is not as important as the college game but in the NBA Finals, free throws can decide a game in overtime or late in the fourth quarter. The Lakers are shooting .748% from the charity stripe and the Celtics are shooting .749%. Which makes this stat a wash but the best free throw shooter on the Lakers is Kobe at .821% versus Ray Allen at .818%.
Shooting percentage from the field may be a key to this series as the Lakers are shooting .477% from the field while the Celtics are shooting .461%. This relates to Pau Gasol in the middle being effective and he will have to dispel whispers that Kevin Garnett will hold him down again in this NBA Finals.
Another huge number to look at will be rebounds. The Lakers have averaged 43 rebounds in the NBA playoffs and the Boston Celtics have averaged 39. The key players on the boards will be Lamar Odom and Gasol for the Lakers and Paul Pierce, Garnett and Kendrick Perkins for the Celtics. Perkins could be suspended for a game if he dishes out a flagrant foul, so he may be less aggressive on the boards in the NBA Finals.
NBA Finals final analysis.
The numbers edge goes to the Los Angeles Lakers but the numbers are describing a much closer NBA Finals than one would think. The other key factors that the numbers do not bear out is age. The Lakers are a younger team than Boston and this could be a factor in a six or seven game NBA Finals. Take the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA Finals Series.
Bonus pick Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers -5.5.
The Los Angeles Lakers will want to make a statement in the first game of the NBA Finals on their home court in Staples Center. Boston has had time to heal up from their rough NBA Eastern Conference Finals versus the Orlando Magic but the Los Angeles Lakers will be working with momentum on their side. Take Lakers -5.5 to win the game by double digits.
www.nba.com Lakers & Celtics stats.