With the down to the wire match up between the Celtics and Lakers on Sunday, we may be seeing the revival of the most storied rivalry in NBA history.
The Celtics and Lakers will be forever connected in history. Throughout NBA history, the two teams have battled each other in the Finals a whopping 12 times. It has been 10 years since the last time they met. In this span both teams have gone through numerous changes as they have rebuilt and made it to where we are now. But now, both teams are strong contenders again for a championship. And after watching the game this past Sunday, this historic rivalry may be adding another chapter in the near future.
How These Teams Got Here
Coming into the year, most expected the Lakers to be a top contender for the Larry O’Brien trophy. So with the Lakers sitting at 43-12 atop the West is not too surprising. However, not many expected the Celtics to be in the spot they are now. Of course, the Celtics were projected to make the playoffs, but after the flop of a season last year, and with many moving pieces over the off-season, the Celtics were not supposed to be in the conversation for a possible championship run. However, the young Celtics players have stepped up to replace the star power they lost over the summer. Jayson Tatum has absolutely broken out after a less than stellar sophomore season. Jaylen Brown got an extension over the summer that many questioned with the way he played last year. However, the risk Ainge took has paid off as Jaylen Brown has emerged as a near All Star this year. And by adding Kemba Walker to the mix that also includes Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis, the Celtics have come together as a championship caliber team.
What Are The Chances We See Celtics vs. Lakers The Finals This Year?
With the way the NBA is going so far, there are many teams that can make a run at it all. However, I give the Lakers a much better shot at a Finals appearance this year as compared to the Celtics. The Lakers seem to be a step ahead of their foes, and because of that they have an easier path to the Finals. The Celtics on the other hand trail the Raptors and Bucks in the East. The Bucks have overwhelmed others so far, jumping out to a 49-8 record, and the Celtics fall well short of that mark right now sitting at 39-17. This is not to say the Celtics have no shot at a Finals appearance. Although the Bucks are ahead, they do not pose the same threat as the Warriors had. The Bucks do not seem to be a lock for a Finals appearance but they certainly are favorites. The Celtics definitely have a fair shot, but they are not the favorites of their conference like the Lakers are.
How About The Next Few Years?
Both the Celtics and Lakers should be atop their conferences for the foreseeable future. Anthony Davis is a free agent this year, but it is unlikely that he leaves. The window for the Celtics and Lakers could be short though do to LeBron James. LeBron is of course still playing at an elite level, however father time is undefeated. So with LeBron at 35 right now, it would be shocking if he had anymore than three more years at this level of play. But if Davis and LeBron stay together for the next couple of years, they should be in championship conversation as long as they are on the same team. The Celtics should also be contending for the near future, led by Tatum, Kemba, Brown, and Hayward. Hayward can become a UFA this off-season but he seems to be locked in with the Celtics for the future.
With both the Celtics and Lakers destined for high level of play in the upcoming years, it would certainly not be surprising to see these teams square off in an NBA championship. Both teams have superstars who will be playing at this level for the upcoming future. And if Sunday’s match up is any indication of what we could see from these two teams facing off in the future, we would be in store for one helluva series. We would also add another chapter to this already historic rivalry.
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