The real question is not who is better, the 23-2 Boston Celtics or the 20-3 Los Angeles Lakers. The real question is can any team in either conference actually stop these teams in a seven game series?
The Celtics main competition, since the Iverson trade, is the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James has this team has this team at 20-4. The Cavs also have the greatest point differential in the league at a positive 12.7 points. It appears that the quest to find a second scorer is finally over in Cleveland.
Mo Williams was not right for the Bucks because of his penchant for scoring, but on a team that has Ben Wallace in the lineup, his trigger finger is a welcome addition. He is averaging 16 points a game and is shooting 47.7 percent. For a guard that is terrific.
Add in a couple of veteran role players who excel at their tasks, Ben Wallace for defense and Wally Szczerbiak from three, and have finally felt comfortable after a midseason trade last year, and the Cavs might actually be able to challenge the Celtics.
Now all the sports fans in Boston are up in arms. They may have lost the most dominant football team when Tom Brady went down, but they refuse to acknowledge that the Cavs might actually be able to challenge their dominance in the NBA.
Well, who is going to cover LeBron James. Ray Allen? Paul Pierce? No. Kevin Garnet could within 15 feet of the basket, but James is a wing player and would take him to the basket the moment he took a step out of his comfort zone. I am not saying KG can not guard perimeter players. I am saying he and nobody else can guard James.
Kendrick Perkins has been useful, but the Big Z is a talented scorer with post moves and size. If the game gets into a half court rhythm, I give the advantage. The Cavs have their own problems on defense and players like Mo Williams and Delonte West would not be able to handle Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen.
This means that neither team has the answer in the end and that a close series would decide the winner. Now, yes I am giving the advantage to the Celtics, but I think a repeat is not close to guaranteed at this point.
Out West the Los Angeles Lakers have few challengers. I cannot name the Utah Jazz as one until I know that the team is completely healthy. The Jazz are never going to be a gimmee with regards to pure individual talent, but when they gel as a team the genius of Jerry Sloan becomes obvious.
Otherwise, I still believe the Jason Richardson trade will not save the sinking ship in Phoenix and I think the Spurs role players are simply too old to keep the magic going. Houston is already dealing with the injury bug that has simply become an annual epidemic and New Orleans does not look nearly as sharp as last season.
I want to guarantee that the Los Angeles Lakers will be playing at least two games at the Staples Center in the championship series, but I cannot say for sure who their opponent will be.