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Lakers will beat Celtics, say NBA GMs

Celtics

The Lakers didn't beat the Boston Celtics last spring when it counted, but they did in an NBA.com survey of NBA general managers picking which team would be NBA champion this season.

The Lakers were the top pick of 46% of NBA GMs, with the Celtics a distant second at 19%.

The survey also picked San Antonio's Gregg Popovich as the league's top coach, over Phil Jackson.

LeBron James got the nod as the NBA's next most valuable player, but Kobe Bryant was a runaway winner in two categories: which player do you want shooting with the game on the line (88.9%) and best player at getting his own shot (81.5%). He was also chosen best on-the-ball defender, and was third behind Kevin Garnett and Ron Artest for overall defense.

The Clippers were also mentioned in the survey. Elton Brand's decision to leave L.A. for Philadelphia was deemed the most suprising move of the offseason, with Marcus Camby and Baron Davis coming to the Clippers ranking second and third.

The Clips also got credit as enjoying the third-best offseason in the league in terms of personnel moves. Wonder who should get credit for that, Elgin Baylor or Mike Dunleavy?

-- Mike Hiserman

Photo: This season could be a different story, but before Game 6 of last season's matchup between the Lakers and Celtics, a young fan arrived early to announce, "It's my turn to know Celtics pride." Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

 
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