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2010 NBA Finals

Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers

By

Kobe Bryant

If things go Kobe Bryant's way, the Lakers will need to add a 16th title to their warmup jackets after this series.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Updated June 18, 2010
The NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers successfully defended their title, holding off their arch-rivals in a hard-fought seven-game series.

Kobe Bryant was named MVP of the Finals for the second straight year.

Series Schedule and Results

  • Game One: Lakers 102, Celtics 89 - The Laker frontcourt controls the paint as Los Angeles rolls.
  • Game Two: Celtics 103, Lakers 94 - Ray Allen's record-setting shooting evens the series for the Celtics.
  • Game Three: Lakers 91, Celtics 84 - Derek Fisher's late heroics give the Lakers a 2-1 series lead.
  • Game Four: Celtics 96, Lakers 89 - Celtic bench comes up big, Davis and Robinson combine for 30 points.
  • Game Five: Celtics 92, Lakers 86 - Another strong showing from Paul Piece puts the Celtics one win from another title.
  • Game Six: Lakers 89, Celtics 67 - The Laker defense returns with a vengeance as L.A. rolls. Boston loses Kendrick Perkins to a potentially-serious knee injury in the first quarter.
  • Game Seven: Lakers 83, Celtics 79 - Boston leads most of the way, but the Lakers defense shuts down the Celtics late and LA wins the 16th title in franchise history.
Television: ABC
Radio: ESPN Radio

Format

Best of seven. The Lakers will have home-court advantage for the series by virtue of their superior regular-season record -- games one, two, six and seven will be played at the Staples Center, and games three, four and five at the TD Banknorth Center in Boston.

Los Angeles finished with a record of 55-27 -- Pacific Division champs -- and was the top seed in the Western Conference. The Celtics won the Atlantic Division with a 50-32 record and were the fourth seed in the East.

History

The Lakers and Celtics are the two most storied franchises in basketball history, with 32 NBA titles between them (15 for LA, 17 for the C's). The rivalry between the teams is legendary, with the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson teams of the '80s the high point.

It has also been fairly one-sided.

The Lakers and Celtics have met in the Finals eleven times to date -- and the Celtics have won all but two of those series.

Storylines to Watch

2008 Rematch: These two teams last faced off in the 2008 Finals, a series the Celtics won 4-2 behind an MVP two-way performance by Paul Pierce, who was instrumental in slowing Kobe Bryant. Many of the same players from that series are back, but there are several notable differences:
  • In 2008, the Lakers' starting small forward was the less-than-memorable Vladimir Radmanovic, backed by Luke Walton. This year, Phil Jackson has Ron Artest in that spot.
  • The Celtics had home-court advantage in '08. This year, that edge belongs to the Lakers.
  • Two years ago, Rajon Rondo was generally considered the Celtics' biggest liability. Today, he might be their biggest weapon.

Walking Wounded: Laker center Andrew Bynum is playing with torn cartilage in his knee. He had fluid drained from the joint this week, but the swelling returned almost immediately. If he struggles with the injury, the Lakers may be in trouble, as Los Angeles has very little size on the bench.

Boston is healthier as a team than they've been all year, and that's been a major reason for their impressive playoff run. One concern: Rasheed Wallace's back. 'Sheed should be fine playing limited minutes, but it's unclear if he'll be able to step in to a larger role, which could be necessary if...

Kendrick Perkins Gets T'd Up: The technical foul that was rescinded during the Orlando series is just a temporary reprieve for the Celtic center; one more 'T' and Perkins will be suspended for a game. Celtic coach Doc Rivers told reporters he thinks a suspension is inevitable.

Matchups and Predictions

The Lakers have the best player in the series (Kobe Bryant) and perhaps the best coach in NBA history in Phil Jackson. What they don't have is an obvious way to slow down Rajon Rondo, and that may be the difference in the series.
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