Question of the day: Who will win the NBA Finals? [Updated]
[Updated at 12:01 p.m.:
Baxter Holmes, Los Angeles Times
This question is tougher than calculus at Cal Tech – not that I’d know – when you consider the outside variables: the crowds, the emotions (rivalry and revenge factors both) and the health of key players.
I’d like to plead the 5th until after Game 1, but if pressed, I like the Celtics.
Ron Artest is a great defender, but Paul Pierce won't get caught with his pants down unless Artest’s hand is around his waistband. Andrew Bynum is a potential equalizer against the Celtics’ imposing front line, but even if his right knee is 2 1/2 ounces lighter after Monday, I’m not convinced he’s ready. There’s always Kobe, but he was there in 2008 too.
In the end, the Celtics are brutes, the Lakers are finesse. Brutes in seven.]
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Lakers in six, because it's not 2008 anymore.
Because this time Ron Artest is in place to defend Paul Pierce.
Because this time Andrew Bynum is at least ambulatory to help offset some of Boston's inside physicality.
Because this time Pau Gasol can be cast at power forward instead of at center.
Because this time Vladimir Radmanovic won't be in the starting lineup, or anywhere within sight.
Because this time Lamar Odom again can play as a sixth man.
Because this time the Celtics do not have a perimeter stopper of the pedigree of James Posey (with Tony Allen less than a poor imitation).
Because this time the Lakers have home-court advantage, meaning even if the Celtics split the first two, they would have to sweep at home to close it out at the Garden.
Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel
The NBA and its TV partners would surely love to have this royal retro couple -- Lakers and Celtics -- play a best-of-17 series instead of a best-of-seven.
Stretch this baby out until the NFL camps open or until one of Kevin Garnett's body parts falls off defending Pau Gasol.
I'm taking the Lakers in seven for the repeat and for revenge (Boston beat L.A. in '08), but only after under going intense counseling.
I mean, do you know hard it is to trust a Lakers team that is counting on loose cannon Ron Artest to help it win a ring?
This is the ultimate test to remind you just how great Kobe Bryant is.
He's won without Shaq, and he'll win with Artest.
Photo: Ron Artest is guarded by Celtics forward Paul Pierce in February. Credit: Lori Shepler / Associated Press