Question of the day: Which teams do you currently have playing in the NBA Finals?
Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times
If you go by records, the NBA Finals would be between the San Antonio Spurs, who own the league’s best mark at 24-6, and the Boston Celtics, who are tied with the Dallas Mavericks for the second-best record in the league at 23-5.
But the Miami Heat are right there with the Celtics in the Eastern Conference.
The Spurs are playing some of the best basketball in the NBA, having won 11 of their last 12 games. The thing with the Spurs is that they have won four NBA championships in the last 12 years, so they know how to win in big-game situations.
San Antonio has a great coach in Gregg Popovich and three players who have won NBA championships: Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, who is playing like an All-Star this season.
Boston also has a great coach in Doc Rivers and has a veteran team that’s still smarting over its Game 7 loss in the NBA Finals to the Lakers.
K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The Lakers and Celtics will meet in the NBA Finals.
Don't be fooled -- however impressive -- by the regular-season surge of the Heat. When playoff basketball comes, the court will shrink, the defense and rebounding will become more important and the Heat's weaknesses will be exposed.
The Celtics are playing this well without Kendrick Perkins, who won't make anyone forget Bill Russell. But his rugged defense and rebounding will offer them more depth at a time it's most necessary.
The Lakers are currently experiencing some unexpected hiccups. But Kobe Bryant's will to win is the ultimate Heimlich maneuver. He'll demand his teammates play better when it counts the most and help the Lakers outlast the Spurs in an entertaining Western Conference finals. Length wins in the playoffs, and the Lakers are long, not to mention long on talent and teamwork.
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Based on what we know now, at this moment, don't be surprised by a rematch of the 2006 Finals.
Yes, Boston has played well, but there's still 3 1/2 months to beat down an aging roster. Ditto with the Spurs. The schedule has yet to fully put its grip on either team.
The Heat and Mavericks, by contrast, are the league's teams of the moment, each streaking, each with an attractive balance of offense and defense.
But these also are not the same teams they were in 2006.
Dallas has the added defensive boost of Tyson Chandler and Shawn Marion. They no longer have to count on Dirk Nowitzki to shoot them over the top. Similarly, it no longer would have to be the Dwyane Wade show in a Heat-Mavericks Finals.
Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, and Boston guard Tony Allen battle for the ball during Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Finals. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times