I initially wagered for a Celtics-Spurs NBA Finals. But unfortunately the other day, the Lakers beat the Spurs to advance to the 2008 NBA Finals. Eventually, my reason for looking forward to an exciting NBA Finals started to dwindle.
But today I realized the Finals won’t be that boring after all. On the contrary, this could be the most interesting NBA Finals since the turn of the century as the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers relive their rivalry over the hardcourt.
The first Finals match-up between the two teams started in 1959 when the Boston Celtics swept the then Minneapolis Lakers 4-0. For six more championships the Celtics defeated the Lakers in the 60’s. The era featured greats such as Bill Russell and Bob Cousy for Boston and Elgin Baylor and Jerry West for Los Angeles. In three of those NBA Finals (’62, ’66, and ’69), the series went to seven games, with the Celtics winning each time.
In the 80’s, the rivalry was once renewed with the emergence of two more greats in the person of Larry Bird for the Celtics, and Magic Johnson for the Lakers. During this period, this rivalry took on many dimensions, such as East Coast vs. West Coast, Working class grit vs. Hollywood glitz, old tradition vs. air-conditioned luxury, and some believe white vs. black (the Celtics teams of the 1980s were predominantly composed of Caucasian players, while those of Los Angeles were mostly African American). In that era, the two teams met three times, with Celtics winning one in ’84 and Lakers two in ’85 and ’87.
Fast-forward to the present, the two teams on their way to the Finals defeated last year’s contenders in their respective Conference Finals Titles. In this year’s Playoffs, the Celtics defeated the Pistons and Cavaliers while the Lakers defeated the Jazz and Spurs.
Then, on Thursday June 5, 2008, marks the continuation of the biggest rivalry in the history of the NBA. So far, the Celtics lead 8-2 against the Lakers in these two teams’ epic championship story.
The tandems Bird-McHale-Parish vs. Magic-Jabbar-Worthy are replaced with Pierce-Garnett-Allen vs. Bryant-Odom-Gasol.
A lot of questions need answers: starting with who will win this year’s Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy? Will this championship be just a one-time shot at renewing the biggest rivalry in the NBA history, or will this rivalry continue for few more years?
One thing is certain — that the Boston Celtics is not a victim of any conspiracy.