Thursday, November 13, 2008

Heading For A Lakers-Celtics Rematch?

I know, I know- it's early. Seven games does not a season make. But seven games DOES give you a pretty good idea of how players are going to mesh and whether or not they'll fit in to new systems and roles. It's also a good sample size for plus/minus and margin of victory. And after three weeks of basketball, it's apparent that last season's finalists, the Lakers and Celtics, are the class of the league. What a surprise. Thanks, Captain Obvious. What IS shocking is how much better they are than anyone else.

LA, the league's only remaining undefeated at 7-0, is absolutely crushing teams. With Andrew Bynum manning the middle, they're currently first in the league in scoring AND points allowed. Unheard of. Obviously, their +18 differential won't hold up for an entire season but I can't recall a start this impressive on both ends by any team since the 72-win Bulls. The difference between this year's team and last? Bynum's improved health and skill level, mainly. But Phil also moved Lamar Odom to the 6th man spot and replaced Luke Walton in the rotation with Trevor Ariza, both shrewd moves that were second-guessed at the time.

Boston's picked up right where they left off, playing stifling D and relying on clutch shooting from Paul Pierce. The Celts only loss off the season was a fluke to Indiana, for fuck's sake. Tony Allen's done an admirable job filling in for the departed James Posey. KG's anchoring a defense that's holding opponents to 39% shooting. Ridiculous.

When you factor in that several key competitors, namely San Antonio and Detroit, have taken big steps backward so far, things are looking pretty good for another Lakers-Celtics Finals. But again, it's very early.

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