We asked 10 of our experts to rate the most important factors leading into the NBA Finals.
Each expert had 100 points to apportion among five key factors. The rules stated no factor could be worth more than 50 points or less than 10 points. Each expert named a wild-card factor as well.
Click through the pages to see how the voting went.
Here's Chris Broussard's ballot:
1. Celtics' defense (35 points): The best defense in the league will have to slow down the best offense in the league. That's a tough chore considering the Lakers have a terrific one-on-one scorer (Kobe Bryant), great passing, interior scoring (Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom) and very good 3-point shooting. The Celtics can't win a shootout with L.A., so their D has to be excellent.
2. Paul Pierce (25 points): You know Kevin Garnett is going to be solid and give about 20 and 10 nightly. You also know that Kobe's going to be great and get at least 28 ppg, if not more. Pierce has to be able to offset (as much as possible) what Kobe does. He's a matchup nightmare for L.A., and he's going to have to capitalize on it.
3. Ray Allen (18 points): Every member of Boston's big three has to be on top of his game for the Celtics to win. When one-third of San Antonio's big three (Manu) stumbled, the Spurs lacked the firepower to keep up with L.A. despite big numbers from Tim Duncan and solid ones from Tony Parker. Ray's J will need to fall frequently for Boston to win four games.
4. Lamar Odom (12 points): I know what I'm getting from Kobe, and to a large extent, Pau. What is Odom going to give me? He has to be big on the backboards to keep L.A. from getting crushed on the glass, and he has to be aggressive offensively. He should take advantage of anyone who guards him who is not named KG.
5. 3-point shooting (10 points): The Lakers have been very strong from beyond the arc in the playoffs. That, combined with Kobe's brilliance and the interior passing and scoring of Pau and Lamar Odom, makes the Lakers virtually unbeatable. Boston's going to have to keep LA from being so effective from 3. Plus, on the other end, Ray Allen will need to be hot from deep.
Wild card: Rebounding. This is critical and is Boston's biggest advantage. L.A. was crushed on the boards by Denver and Utah but those teams weren't complete enough to capitalize. If Boston can do the same, it is strong enough to capitalize. If the Celtics demolish L.A. on the glass like they did to Detroit, they can win this series.