Factor No. 5 in the NBA Finals: Battle of the benches
Factor No. 5: Battle of the benches (63 points)
Click below to see the ballots of our 10 writers:
• Henry Abbott, TrueHoop
Marc Stein (15 points): The Lakers have the league's best bench, and their subs can really speed up the game to Boston's detriment. Doc Rivers, meanwhile, has been gradually losing his faith in his bench in these playoffs. Like Kobe himself, the bench should be another huge difference-maker for L.A.
David Thorpe (15 points): Both teams depend on points and playmaking from their bench. The team that gets more production here earns a big edge. In particular, I'll be watching the backup point guards.
It's not so much about outplaying the opponent cumulatively in the series, but more about who gets the better of whom in four games.
Ric Bucher (13 points): The Lakers' bench was a huge factor against both San Antonio and Utah. It didn't just protect leads, it even expanded them in some games. And, in general, the subs gassed the opposition with their up-tempo, high-energy style.
Jordan Farmar, after dealing with Deron Williams and Tony Parker, should feel like a man unshackled when he faces Rajon Rondo, Sam Cassell and Eddie House.
J.A. Adande (10 points): The Lakers have more subs who are likely to impact the game than the Celtics' reserves.
That reminds me, has any TV series had more small guest-appearance actors go on to have legit Hollywood careers than "Miami Vice"? Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts, Jimmy Smits, Wesley Snipes, Lou Diamond Phillips, John Leguizamo, Ving Rhames, Charles S. Dutton, Esai Morales, Garcelle Beauvais, Helena Bonham Carter, Giancarlo Esposito
Chris Sheridan (10 points): The Celtics have a lot more size and a lot more experience on their bench, and Doc can go a little deeper than Phil, depending on what he needs.
I think second-chance points will be a key stat in the series, and Boston can win it if Kendrick Perkins and the bench bigs (P.J. Brown, Leon Powe, Glen Davis) are active on the glass.
2008 NBA FINALS
And then there were two -- the Lakers and Celtics. Who will win the NBA Finals? Let the games begin.
Daily Dime• Celtics win 17th championship title
• Did C's lose Regret Game?
• A little help from Kobe's friends
• Time for L.A. to go small
• The Finals Can't Shake Donaghy Mess
• Unlikely Game 4 comeback gives C's 3-1 lead
• Rondo's ankle could change L.A.'s game plan
• Kobe leads Lakers to Game 3 win
• Lakers need to attack the paint
• Lakers learn Powe's name in Game 2
• Time for Gasol to step up
• Lakers need better defense in Game 2
• Pierce sparks Celtics in Game 1 victory
• Expert predictions, clutch stats
• Pierce loves playing Lakers
• Celtics to meet L.A. in the Finals
Lakers vs. Celtics• Stein: Q&A after six-game "sweep"
• MacMullan: Pierce's long road to greatness
• Hollinger: From camp to champs
• Stein: Boston's big three shine
• Adande: Questions loom over Lakers' future
• Hollinger: Celtics commit to defense
• Scouts Inc.: Game 6 breakdown
• Hollinger: Farmer steps up in Game 5
• Sheridan: Late-game letdown for Celtics
• Stein: Lakers ready to make history?
• Adande: Greatness eluding Phil and Kobe
• MacMullan: Doc adheres to dad's lessons
• Jackson: Time for L.A.'s concession speech?
• Stein: Game 4 not Kobe's finest hour
• Adande: KG dominates Gasol again
• Hollinger: Rivers makes all the right moves
• Hill: Kobe's Laker legacy on the line
• Hollinger: Vujacic lends helping hand in Game 3
• Jackson: Jump shot Jesus has returned
• Stein: Lakers need to earn sympathy
• Adande: Lakers feel foul over whistle disparity
• Jackson: Leading role suits Pierce
• Adande: Kobe turns away from the pass late
• Stein: Pierce's knee key to rest of series
• Finals factor 1: Kobe Bryant
• Finals factor 2: Celtics Defense
• Finals factor 3: Paul Pierce
• Finals factor 4: Home-court advantage
• Finals factor 5: Battle of the benches
• Hollinger: Lakers offense vs. Celtics defense
• Broussard: Turning back the clock
• Adande: How did Kobe get here?
• Scouts Inc. breakdown: Lakers vs. Celtics
• Coaching comparison: Red vs. Phil
• Smith: Kobe's moving forward
• Scoop: Fiendin' for a ring
• Top 10 moments of Lakers-Celtics rivalry
• ESPN Classic schedule: Relive the rivalry
TrueHoop• TrueHoop: Finals reflections
• TrueHoop: Doc Rivers' redemption
• TrueHoop: Lakers got Rondo'd
• Tough night for Allen
• Game 5 live blogging
• Laker nation vs. NBA refs
• Pierce and the evaporating knee story
• Game 2 live blogging
• Coaxing Kobe Bryant into hero mode
• Game 1 live blogging
• Today's game isn't so different
Simmons• Notes from the C's winning night
• Boston's X factors
• Game 4 running diary
• Time for NBA Finals answers
• The C's and city both look good
• The Truth comes out in Game 1
• NBA Finals forecast
• Chat: NBA Finals preview
• Simmons: You want a piece of Kobe, Boston?
ESPN The Magazine• Sporting Equivalency: NBA Finals meets hip hop
• Broussard: Reporting from the NBA Finals
Fantasy• Join the fun of NBA Finals: Playcaller
Audio• Dish: NBA Finals recap
• Wyc Grossbeck on C's championship
• Ray Allen on how the Celtics evolved
• Bob Ryan compares '86 C's to current one
• Jon Barry credits Tom Thibodeau's team defense
• Game 4 reactions
• Rajon Rondo on Pierce, Game 2 plans
• Bill Walton on Celtics-Lakers history
• Dr. J on Finals, '80s hoops