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This one's a relatively clear-cut question: Who will win the NBA Finals, which begin Thursday: the Boston Celtics or the Los Angeles Lakers?
These Celtics and Lakers teams, apart from a few roster changes, met two years ago in the Finals, which the Celtics won in six games. The Lakers went back to the Finals last year, where they beat the Orlando Magic for the title. It's the twelfth time the franchises will clash for the NBA title. The Celtics won nine of the previous 11 Finals matchups. Overall, the Celtics have won 17 titles, and the Lakers have won 15.
Coming into the playoffs, these Celtics were considered too old, as their veteran core of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce had showed signs of slowing down over the course of the season. Instead, led by emerging superstar Rajon Rondo at point guard and their ever-tenacious defense, the Celtics tore through the Eastern Conference playoffs, upsetting favorites LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers before roughing up the defending Eastern champs, the Magic.
The Lakers, the defending champions, are coming off a six-game triumph over the overmatched but surprisingly tough Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference finals. They are led, of course, by arguably the best offensive player in the world, Kobe Bryant, and a long, athletic and versatile front line anchored by Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and the young but brittle Andrew Bynum. The Lakers' newest edition to the mix, Ron Artest, is a notoriously tough defender, but is known for being temperamental, too.
So, what do you think? Which team will prevail? How many games do you think it will go? What are the most intriguing matchups? In addition to which team you think will win, which one do you want to win?
Let the debate begin!
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