Finals Factors: John Hollinger's ballot

Originally Published: June 5, 2008
ESPN.com

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.

Finals Factors: No. 1 | No. 2 | No. 3 | No. 4 | No. 5 | Others | Wild cards | Results


THE BALLOTS

Click below to see the ballots of our 10 writers:

Henry Abbott, TrueHoop
J.A. Adande, ESPN.com
Chris Broussard, ESPN The Mag
Ric Bucher, ESPN The Mag
John Hollinger, ESPN.com
Tim Legler, ESPN
Jalen Rose, ESPN
Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com
Marc Stein, ESPN.com
David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.

Here's John Hollinger's ballot:

1. Kobe (35 points): Like it or not, these are the Kobe Finals, and not just for the prima-donna-finally-sees-the-light story line.

He's the go-to scorer for the favorites and the reigning MVP, and he'll have more touches than anyone else by far. How he fares against Boston's vaunted defense likely will be the greatest determining factor in which side prevails.

2. Ray Allen (23 points): We know what to expect from Kevin Garnett and Paul Piece in this series, but we don't have a clue what to expect from Allen.

Maybe he shoots the lights out and gives Boston a much-needed third scorer; maybe he shoots bricks and gets pulled for James Posey or Tony Allen in crunch time.

3. Home-court advantage (17 points): If Boston wins, there's a good chance this will be the reason.

Remember that with the 2-3-2 format, it's likely L.A. would need to win a clincher in Beantown, which is always tricky. Historically, a seventh game at home has been a massive advantage, and Boston has been great at TD Banknorth Garden in the playoffs.

4. Pau Gasol (15 points): How Gasol fares against Kendrick Perkins is likely to dictate how Boston lines up in crunch time.

If he's too quick for Perkins, then Doc Rivers likely goes small and puts Garnett on Gasol. But if Perk can frustrate Pau with his physicality, then Boston can play its preferred big lineup and potentially dominate the glass.

5. Phil vs. Doc (10 points): The Zen Master's ability in these situations is unquestioned; suffice it to say that Doc's isn't. With Boston an underdog already, Rivers can't be overmatched on the chessboard.

The good omen was that he played nearly all the right cards against Detroit, though my pleas for more Leon Powe still fall on deaf ears.

Wild card: Tony Allen. A total nonfactor through the first three playoff rounds, Allen could potentially play a much larger role against L.A. if he's healed from a strained right Achilles tendon.

Though a bit of a train wreck offensively, his quickness and tenacity on D make him Boston's best matchup against Bryant.