1. #1
    Chance Harper
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    Can Celtics' defense help them defend NBA Title?

    Can Celtics' defense help them defend NBA Title?

    There was no doubt about which was the better team in Game 6 of the NBA Finals as the Boston Celtics rolled to a 131-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers to claim their 17th title. And those was no doubt about the better team at the pay window either as the C's took all six games against the spread. With that dominance, the next question is whether or not Boston can defend the crown and begin a new dynasty.

    When Kevin Garnett speaks, bettors listen.

    As Garnett triumphantly proclaimed, anything is possible – even beating the Los Angeles Lakers by 39 points. Game 6 of the NBA Finals was an absolute masterpiece from a Boston Celtics standpoint; the C’s destroyed Los Angeles in every facet of the game, winning 131-92 as 4½-point favorites to wrap up their 17th championship.

    The Lakers lost a lot of respect Tuesday night. They opened as 5-2 favorites on the futures list to win the 2008-09 NBA title, but fell to 3-1 the morning after their epic humiliation. The Celtics made the leap from 7-2 to join Los Angeles as the co-favorites for next year. As much as Lakers supporters anticipate the return of Andrew Bynum to the starting rotation, that optimism has been steamrolled by the negative reviews for coach Phil Jackson’s work in this year’s Finals.

    Expectations for the Lakers were too high to begin with. The Western Conference champs went into the Finals on a roll, while Boston was extended to seven games by both the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was enough to make Los Angeles a -150 series favorite to beat the Celtics; instead, Boston took all six games against the spread.

    Ray Allen was one of the major factors from a handicapping standpoint. He was virtually invisible against the Cavaliers before coming alive late in the Eastern Finals against the Detroit Pistons. Allen shot 22-for-42 from downtown against the Lakers, who didn’t come close to matching the defensive intensity of the Cavs – or the Hawks, for that matter.

    Boston, on the other hand, was all over Los Angeles like ants on a glazed ham. The Celtics were the best defense in the NBA by far during the regular season at 96.2 points allowed per 100 possessions; against playoff-quality opposition, that number rose to 99.8, narrowly behind Cleveland for first in the league. The Los Angeles defense was a distant sixth among the playoff teams at 104.8 points allowed per 100 possessions.

    After their fall from grace, the Lakers admitted to a man that their defense simply wasn’t up to championship snuff. The subtext: Without Bynum, they were skating by.

    “We were surprised we were here,” Jackson told reporters, “and we’re glad that we had an opportunity.”

    Their title chances will be much better with Bynum in the paint and Pau Gasol moving to the high post; they’ll be better still if L.A. can convince Ron Artest to opt out of his contract with the Sacramento Kings. Artest was the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year and still has plenty of tread on his tires at age 28.

    The Celtics, meanwhile, have some work to do during the offseason. Tom Thibodeau, right-hand man to coach Doc Rivers and the architect of the Boston defense, is a very strong candidate to land a head coaching job somewhere in the league. The roster will be a year older; the Big Three of Garnett, Allen and Finals MVP Paul Pierce are all north of 30, as are many of the reserves. It’s hardly a panic situation, but Boston at 3-1 has little to offer for value-conscious handicappers.

    Cleveland is another story. The Cavs are 15-1; they went to the Finals two years ago and may have been a Daniel Gibson injury away from doing so again this year. Danny Ferry remade the roster around LeBron James at the trade deadline, improving the defense with Ben Wallace and Joe Smith while also adding some much-needed perimeter offense in Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West. More reinforcements are on their way – Michael Redd’s name has been invoked on many an occasion, as the Milwaukee Bucks look to shed payroll and build around Yi Jianlian and Andrew Bogut. Don’t expect Cleveland to stay at 15-1 for long.

  2. #2
    capperwizzard
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    To hard to repeat and the Celtics will get lazy like other teams when they win one year. Boston will have a target on there back next year.

  3. #3
    Tsoprano
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    Quote Originally Posted by capperwizzard View Post
    To hard to repeat and the Celtics will get lazy like other teams when they win one year. Boston will have a target on there back next year.
    This isnt a lazy group of players. If they can add another ring to their collection, they will. Plus half the team (the role players) will keep playing hard to the last seconds of every game to keep proving themselves to eventually run the show when the main older guys retire (Garnett, Pierce).

    Plus, teams that also get lazy mostly rely on a couple players and if they dont show up cause they are lazy or not up to par, the team fvcks up BIG TIME. Like Kobe not being the best he could of and they got buried, etc.

    But the Big 3 can take a night off and they have enough bench depth to get the job done.

  4. #4
    Tsoprano
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    We've already seen Ray Allen go scoreless, 2 of the big 3 combining for just 4 points, but yet they still pull out the wins. And thats as bad as it can get.

  5. #5
    Sinister Cat
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    I disagree with the idea that it's hard to repeat in the NBA. It happens all the time.. Lakers 3 in a row 00-02, In the 90s, Bulls twice with the threepeat, Rockets with the repeat. Pistons and Lakers both repeated in the late 80s.

  6. #6
    Tsoprano
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinister Cat View Post
    I disagree with the idea that it's hard to repeat in the NBA. It happens all the time.. Lakers 3 in a row 00-02, In the 90s, Bulls twice with the threepeat, Rockets with the repeat. Pistons and Lakers both repeated in the late 80s.
    Plus you would think this group wants to prove they can defend the title like the old Celtics players did year in and year out.

  7. #7
    fiveteamer
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    Why not just back them to win it the next 5 seasons? Jeeeeeeeeeeeezus...

  8. #8
    Tsoprano
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiveteamer View Post
    Why not just back them to win it the next 5 seasons? Jeeeeeeeeeeeezus...
    I wouldnt because I doubt theyll even repeat the next 2 seasons. I think next season they could, and thats that.

  9. #9
    Godzilla
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    If Posey comes back they will. He is the key I think.

  10. #10
    Tsoprano
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    Posey is an all-around key player for them.

  11. #11
    so-classy#23
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    I don't even think it is all about defense to be honest. Rivers had these guys prepared and Garnett is the key to their defensive focus and prowess. I mean its not only their defense, but I believe these guys can score as well with the most prolific offensive teams when they want to or need to. It's just great to see big names who we never really hear any terrible news about on or off the court succeed with so many classless thugs and scumbags in the NBA today. Credit to Doc Rivers as well for coaching through the whole season with the loss of his father. Must have been indescribably difficult, and Ainge really did a number on putting together a great cast of good characters and teammates that gel.

    Granted the three stars are in their thirties now, but these are still premier players and they were hungry for a ring to add to their impressive resumes. Combine that with the fact they are playing in Boston, a big market team with a tradition, history, and legacy of a successful franchise and I think these guys will remain motivated to be in the mix for more titles. Congrats to my boy Ray Ray and hope all goes well with his son Walker!!!

  12. #12
    WonTooManyBets
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    If Bynum is healthy and can return and play like he was playing before he got injured then the Lakers will be tough to beat next year.

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