The 2010 NBA Finals:Rivalries Revived
The Lakers, unanimously expected by all to be back for the Finals this year, proved their grit and will power over the Phoenix Suns with a 111-103 win. Away from their crowd, and under pressure from those of their foes, the Lakers instead turned the pressure on the Suns, and emerged as the rightful team to be on the Finals. Kobe Bryant proved he wanted this chance more than anyone, by delivering 37 crucial points, including near-impossible clutch shots that even Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry had to concede and admit the Black Mamba was the undoubtedly best in the game.
And earlier this week, the Boston Celtics staved off an Orlando Magic rally to be the first team in NBA history to come back from a 0-3 deficit. They won two straight games after their dismal Game 3, but the Magic simply could not break down the green brick wall. Brilliant performances from the newly re-rostered Big Four (Pierce, Garnett, Allen and Rondo), sealed the deal for the Celtics, who are back to the Finals for the 21st time since their dynasty was built.
The rivalry has been revived.
While the Lakers were expected to still be playing in early June of this season, the opinion about the Celtics was not as conclusive, or convincing. They were never the favorites to make it even to the conference finals. And if ever there were any who thought they will reach the Finals, they were not as many as those who believed either the Cavs or the Magic would be the one facing the Lakers. It was only when the Playoffs started that the Boston Celtics suddenly became the Boston Celtics. The three teams they vanquished–the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Orlando Magic–would easily be the toughest three consecutive teams any franchise can face in the Playoffs in ANY order.
And the Celtics conquered.
Now, the Lakers and Celtics are meeting again in the NBA’s grandest stage for a shot at history. If LA wins the championship, they will be one championship shy of tying the Celtics for most number of championship wins, and a chance to vindicate their loss to Boston in the Finals two years ago. If Boston wins, they’ll win one more trophy to add to their still unbeaten record, and close out this decade with a championship for the 18th time.
We will reserve our predictions for later. For now, let’s give the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers their much needed four-day recharge. Come Thursday (Friday here in the Philippines), the greatest rivalry in NBA history will tip off and shoot it out for the title of 2010 NBA Champions.