It’s been almost a week since the Celtics eliminated the Orlando Magic to advance to the NBA Finals. Tonight, the series finally begins in Los Angeles as the Lakers host the Celtics in game one (ABC 9:00pm).
Bill Simmons has a finals preview and says that this series could be one for the ages.
John Powers takes a look back at the 1968-69 Celtics, and how this edition compares to that club. Howard Bryant says that the Boston/Los Angeles rivalry is the lifeblood of the NBA. Jim Fenton says that the Celtics will be looking to add to their franchise tradition in this series.
Bob Ryan notes that the current Celtics are keenly aware of the fact that “real” Celtics have more than one ring. After Danny Ainge stood pat at the trading deadline, Tim Weisberg wonders now if the big three will make the most of their second chance together in the finals. Bill Reynolds says that the grit of the Celtics will overcome the glitz of the Lakers. (This article could’ve been written in 1984. Maybe it was, and the names were just changed.) Kirk Minihane examines whether this starting five is as good as their 1980’s counterparts.
Jackie MacMullan has a feature on Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau and why his dogged determination sets him apart and will likely earn him a head coaching job. Gary Washburn submits a look at head coach Doc Rivers, who has overcome experience coaching the Magic to evolve into one of the best coaches in the league. Bill Burt says that the Celtics should win this one for Doc, whom he feels is going to step down after this series, win or lose.
Steve Buckley notes that Paul Pierce has learned from his 2008 Finals experience in L.A. and will not let the distractions of his hometown get in the way of his play. Robert Lee has Pierce talking about how a second championship would cement his place among the Celtics greats.
Mark Murphy has Rajon Rondo’s confidence at a self-admitted all-time high right now. Julian Benbow looks at Rondo as a key to the series, and says that the young point guard is better equipped to handle the Lakers than he was two years ago. Dan Duggan has the Lakers looking at slowing down Rondo as the key to them beating the Celtics. A. Sherrod Blakely has Rondo at the controls as the Celtics seek their second title in three years. Liam Martin says that Rondo and Ron Artest are the X-Factors in this series.
The Globe Celtics notebook has a motivational ploy by Doc Rivers from the last time the team was in Los Angeles paying off. Murphy’s notebook has the Lakers insisting there is no rivalry with the Celtics. Lee’s Celtics Journal has Boston expecting a tougher Lakers squad than they saw in 2008. Blakely’s notebook says that the need a physical, yet composed Kendrick Perkins.
Shira Springer has a look at Lakers coach Phil Jackson, why he is the best of all time, and what the future holds for him. (For the record, I still say Red was the better coach – he didn’t just coach the team, he put them together, and did a million other things Jackson has never done or would do.)
The Globe’s Lakers Notebook has Pau Gasol as the key to the series. Duggan’s notebook has Andrew Bynum still dealing with swelling in his knee. Doyle’s notebook looks at a Celtics player who has a closet full of Lakers gear. (and it’s not Paul Pierce)
The Globe made their staff picks. Chris Gasper picks the Lakers, all others the Celtics. Murphy runs through the Celtics-Lakers matchups. Fenton takes a look back at the 2008 series, and also has his own matchups for the NBA Finals as well. Minihane also devoted a column to Breaking down the matchups, Chris Forsberg also takes it Position by position. Michael Hurley cranks out 10 reasons why this could be the best NBA Finals ever.
For the rest of today’s links we’ll go “Top Links” style…
The Red Sox took their second straight from the Oakland A’s, this time by the score of 6-4. Daisuke Matsuzaka had a rough first inning, but settled down, and picked up his fourth win of the season. David Ortiz hit his 12th home run of the season in the win. Get the full links from this one at RedSoxLinks.com.
Papi’s Big once again – John Tomase says that David Ortiz not only is a force again, he’s an event unto himself.
Daisuke Matsuzaka provides another thrill ride for Red Sox – Mike Fine has Terry Francona saying that Dice-K almost threw too many strikes last night.
Bard has become bullpen’s dominant force – Maureen Mullen has Daniel Bard again slamming the door on an opponent.
Beckett’s return at least a month away – Peter Abraham delivers the latest bad news on Josh Beckett.
Carroll in good place – Albert Breer puts in a huge feature on former Patriots coach Pete Carroll, and his return to the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks.
Wes Welker being Wes Welker – Karen Guregian has the Patriots receiver again defying the odds by taking the field for OTA workouts yesterday.
Department of defense readies for battles – Ian Rapoport looks at the many upcoming battles for roster spots on the defensive side of the ball.
A strange day, indeed, at Patriots’ OTA – Glen Farley goes over the events of yesterday.
Brady quiet on contract – Shalise Manza Young’s notebook looks at the report of a “disconnect” between the Patriots and their QB over a new contract, which brings us to:
Sportswriters and Finance: Worst Parlay Ever. – Michael Gee tells us why sportswriters need to avoid the financial end of the business.