The 2010 Conference Championships kick off Sunday afternoon as the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic kick it off. Monday the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns kick off the Western Conference Finals.
I am going to break down both series and give you whom I think will end up meeting in the NBA Finals.
After the jump the details, followed by a poll for you guys to voice your opinions.
The Boston Celtics dismantled the Cleveland Cavaliers, I personally loved seeing LeBron getting bounced out of the playoffs again. Celtics showed ‘team’ ball and that as we all heard growing up, there is no “I” in team. Celtics got everyone involved and got solid play from Rajon Rondo.
On to the player matchups that I feel are worth looking at.
Rajon Rondo vs Jameer Nelson – Rondo has been playing lights out in the playoffs for the Celtics. He will make a defense pay if he sees them walking back on the defensive end, a split second and he is headed towards the rack. His court vision is phenomenal. He gets his team involved and for being just over 6 foot, he is a great rebounding guard, remember he pulled down 18 in one game against Cleveland.
Nelson has been playing good ball for Orlando. In the playoffs thus far he has been averaging over 20 points and 5 assists. Remember, the Magic did not have much of competition the first two rounds as they swept both their opponents. Now he has to face Rondo whom is a much better defender than the guards that Nelson went up against.
Paul Pierce vs Vince Carter – Pierce is a good defender. He has shown that against Kobe and LeBron. Carter is not in the same league as those two mentioned. I feel that Pierce has the advantage on Carter. When Pierce stays healthy I don’t feel that Carter can guard him.
Dwight Howard vs Kendrick Perkins – Perkins will need to get a lot of help from his team being matched up with Howard. Best possible way, send Howard to the foul line where he is shooting 59%. Perkins is going to have to find Howard and keep him off the boards, specially on the offensive end.
Feel the Celtics are going to give Orlando what the other two teams in the playoffs have not, a challenge. Celtics toughness and Championship grit will propell them over the Magic.
Western Conference Finals
The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to get back to the Finals and they have to get through the Phoenix Suns to do so. Phoenix knows that this is know San Antonio Spurs team (that hurt to type that), and they will be in for a fight. There are some keys to this game that I feel that the Lakers, as much as I want the Suns to take this series, will have enough fire power to take them down.
Steve Nash vs Derek Fisher – Nash will get his points and will pick apart the defense as he did against the Spurs. But with the Lakers Fisher will get a lot of help from the front line that will stop Nash from penetration, in the lane is where he can kill the Lakers.
Jason Richardson – He has been the kick for the Suns this post season. Richardson has lived by the three point shot in these playoffs and that helped by teams not being able to guard Stoudemire and Nash that opened up JRich. Lakers though will not have that problem, Richardson is going to have to take his shots wisely.
Grant Hill vs Kobe Bryant – Hill has been the defensive stopper for the Suns. As he did in the San Antonio series he cause problems against Manu Ginobili and I feel he will be used as a stopper against Kobe. As big as Kobe is and younger than Hill, he will use his speed, he will get his shots and points.
Amare Stoudemire vs Pau Gasol – Gasol along with Bynum are key to keeping Stoudemire inside the paint. I can see them pushing Stoudemire and keeping him outside to make him hit jumpers. We all know that Stoudemire is good on the boards and put backs. He also could use his speed if and when the Suns get out and run.
Stoudemire will also have to go into the series wondering how the world he is going to keep the Lakers bigs off of the boards. It will be tough for him so that means, fouls. Can he stay on the floor to help the Suns?
I see the Suns giving a fight but Lakers coming out on top.
Now, what do you think?