Actor Rondell Sheridan gives his thoughts on the Lakers-Celtics series
The first in a series of articles covering the NBA Finals from actor/comedian/Clipper season ticket holder and overall basketball fan Rondell Sheridan ("That's So Raven", "Cory in the House".
RS: Its finally on! It took a while longer for both teams to get here, but they made it. Though many predicted the Lakers participation in this year Finals not many thought Boston had a chance, but here they are. Like a well worn pair of socks NBA fans are eagerly slipping on the Boston/Lakers series and snuggling up to their plasmas while drifting back to a time of limoʼs, Converse, Larry Bird and Showtime. The Birds and Magics are long gone but a new rivalry has formed. Two years ago, when they last met in the Finals, the Lakers were a shell of themselves but now weʼve got a series. Now weʼve got a reason to yell “The game is on, donʼt bother me!
LAT: I thought you yelled that before every NBA game?! Plenty of studs and future Hall of Famers to pick from between these two teams, which players are key and why?
RS: I think the series is going to come down to three players. Rondo and Bynum and Pierce. On paper the match ups seems simple. Inside versus outside. Lets start with Rondo. The Lakers were already hamstrung when they played Nash. He had his way with the purple and gold on the pick and roll and the penetrate - kick and dish. I expect nothing less from Rondo, so much so that I am guessing that Kobe might just be one to check him, considering D-Fish might be a too slow. That leaves Fisher on Allen which is no better. The Lakers will need to stop Rondo from penetrating. Thats it. Stop Rondo, stop the offense.
LAT: Ok, but if you stop Rondo, doesn't he just set up his teammates?
RS: Exactly, the second part of that means you will have to stop Rondo from kicking it to the Big Ticket or Perkins which means Bynum staying out of foul trouble. If Boston only had just Garnett and Perkins, then I would say its a wash, but Boston has also has Big Baby and Rasheed. Both bangers and neither afraid of getting dirty. Again, Bynum has to stay out of foul trouble.
LAT: You don't sound too enthusiastic about Bynum.
RS: Bynumʼs numbers have been nonexistent this series. Hopefully getting his knee drained will do for him what it did for Kobe. If not, that means the Lakers will have to bring Lamar in early to play the inside, and if thats the case, you have surely hampered the power of the Lakers bench squad. If you donʼt bring Lamar in, Boston is just going to platoon their bigs into the middle all night.
LAT: You mentioned Pierce as a key as well.
RS: Consider the match-ups, Garnett vs Gasol, slight edge to Garnett. Kobe wins no matter who is guarding him. Ray Allen wins versus Fisher, that leaves Paul Pierce as the key. Over the last 3 series he has been guarded by Dwayne Wade, Antawn Jamison, LaBron, Rashard Lewis and Matt Barnes. When it comes to Artest, its just one more log on the fire. If Pierce is on and shooting well from the outside, its gonna be a game, but if Pierce is on AND Rondo is penetrating, its all
over for the Lakers.
LAT: How about keys to victory for each team?
RS: I think this series is going to won with defense and the paint is gong to be a war zone. If Kobe is hot and somebody else steps up from the outside (D-Fish? Farmar?, Lamar?), then the Lakers are on. If however Boston has 20 points in the paint by halftime and Pierce is hot, this game is all over.
LAT: Pick it. Who wins the NBA Finals 2010?
RS: Now even though the Lakers have home-court advantage, Iʼm going with Boston in 6, with them splitting the first two games.
LAT: Spoken like a true Clipper fan. Final thoughts?
RS: Iʼm out. I got a new blow dryer and Iʼm ready to fire it up.
-- Jose Salviati
Photo: Rondell Sheridan, right, and the cast of "That's So Raven." Credit: The Disney Channel.