NBA Finals 2010: Celtics vs. Lakers Spread

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Jun/03/2010
NBA Finals 2010

The NBA Finals 2010 Celtics vs. Lakers spread was Los Angeles -5 ½ at Sportsbook.com (see website here).

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Betting on the Celtics vs. Lakers was brisk with action on both sides now even.

The two most successful teams in NBA history meet yet again in the NBA Finals. These two franchises have combined to win 32 NBA titles. Head-to-head, the Celtics have the lopsided edge winning 9 out of the 11 times they squared off in the finals. Despite Boston's dominance over LA, oddsmakers at Sportsbook.com currently have Los Angeles as a -180 series favorite.

Though Ray Allen was having brutal postseason two years ago, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in particular were at the top of their respective games. Each was able to dominate for lengthy periods of any contest and did in those six games.

Today, neither KG nor Pierce has that same ability; both can make a series of outstanding plays to help Boston, just in a shorter time span. The Celtics are helped by Allen being a much stronger contributor now, but the driving force of this Doc Rivers club is Rajon Rondo. The former Kentucky product has exploded onto the scene in the playoffs and been the catalyst behind the Celtics success. The Celts now feed off what Rondo delivers.

Two years ago, Kobe did not trust his teammates. He demanded total effort in the biggest games and they did not deliver to his liking. Last year's title drive was all about finishing the deal and becoming champions again and though Bryant has his doubts from time to time about the 2010 edition of the Lake Show, he knows what to expect from Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol and to a lesser degree Lamar Odom and Ron Artest.

It's all about the matchups

How does Boston limit Kobe's effectiveness? Doc Rivers coach's by feel more than X's and O's during games. Rivers will go after Bryant with Baskin-Robbins approach, using a variety of methods. Guard Kobe tight to force him to drive into lane where the Celtics big men can create issues. Let him shoot from the outside to prevent him from getting fouled too often and adding up points. They will double Kobe on the wings or single him up in the middle of the floor and go with what works best.

Derek Fisher took it as personal mission to stay with Steve Nash in West finals, but he has nowhere near enough foot speed to stay with Rondo. That means Bryant will see Rondo aplenty and if Boston wants to slow the pace, L.A. will be cool with that process, since Bryant can use his size and wing span to stay in front of Rondo. Expect coach Rivers to dictate to Rondo to run at every opportunity to maximize his effectiveness.

Pierce and Artest is a potential swing matchup in the series. Pierce's jab step jumper is more deadly when he sets up defender by driving to the bucket. If he can make Artest indecisive about his intentions, he could frustrate Ron-Ron into drawing silly fouls and taking him mentally out of the game.

Artest has to knock down enough shots to keep Pierce honest on defense and prevent him from clogging driving lanes. Artest's job on the other end of the floor is to limit Pierce's scoring ability and work him so that his legs don't give him the leverage he needs late in the game to make jumpers.

In the frontcourt, Boston will try and manhandle the Lakers bigs with their imposing strength using Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace to roughhouse. Los Angeles should be accustomed to these tactics, expect Phil Jackson to try and manufacture matchups playing to the strengths of Gasol, Odom and Andrew Bynum in the triangle offense.

Coaching counts

In 2008, the Rivers vs. Jackson coaching matchup was thought to be akin to choosing between Snookie of "Jersey Shore" and Megan Fox. Rivers it turns out is the right coach for Boston, continually pushing his club to do better thru effort and precision and working game plans with mastermind assistant Tom Thibodeau.

Jackson was almost passive when his club lost to the Celtics in the finals two seasons ago, but has been much more involved the last two years, not sitting idly by wanting players to learn from adversity. He's been more aggressive in substitution patterns and back to trying different bench players in various situations to find the spark when needed.

ATS nuts and bolts

Both teams were unreliable home teams wagers with the Lakers 42-7 and 21-27-2 ATS record and the Celtics 31-19 and 19-30-1 ATS. Given their ability and skill, each was a factor as visitors with Boston 31-18 (26-22-1 ATS) and L.A. 27-22 (22-26-1 ATS).

In the last three years the Celtics "Big Three" is 7-5 and 9-2 ATS against Los Angeles. The road team has won five games outright of the previous 13 meetings, however just one was in the finals in 2008.

You will read the home court is not a significant factor because of how the visitors have played lately, but if you are making series wager, the teams with home court advantage has won eight of last ten.

What happens?

Only once in the previous 25 years has seed other than No. 1-3 won the NBA championship and Boston was a four seed coming into the postseason. Eddie House and Leon Powe were significant players for the Celtics in the last finals meeting, both play elsewhere today.

Gasol and Bryant together are better players than the previous finals confrontation and the Lakers are 44-0 in any series with Jackson as coach if they win Game 1.

This will be rugged, physical series, with the trophy staying in L.A.

NBA Finals Pick: L.A. Lakers (-180) in seven over Boston (+150)

Game 1 starts tonight at 9 ET on abc and Sportsbook.com currently has the Lakers as 5.5 point favorites.

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