Finals Factors: Tim Legler's ballot

Originally Published: June 5, 2008

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


Click below to see the ballots of our 10 writers:

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

Here's Tim Legler's ballot:

1. Paul Pierce (28 points): Pierce represents the single biggest matchup problem in this series. The Lakers just do not have a wing player good enough defensively or big enough to contain him.

If he demonstrates a scorer's mentality, Pierce can dominate this series.

2. Kobe (26 points): Kobe is the best player in the world and obviously will put his stamp on the game every night, but the Celts have taken pride in not letting their opponent's best player beat them.

He will be facing the best defensive team in the NBA, the most physical front line and the game's best defensive communicator, Kevin Garnett.

3. Celtics' defense (25 points): They get it done as a group. Kevin Garnett is the most versatile front-line defender on the planet, and the C's have five bodies to use at the 4 and 5 positions. Pierce is underrated defensively, and Rajon Rondo has finally learned how to use his quickness to disrupt the opposition's rhythm.

4. 3-point shooting (11 points): It is absolutely critical that the Lakers' marksmen find the range in order to make the Celts pay for focusing on Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

The Lakers are a sensational passing team. They must find Derek Fisher, Vladimir Radmanovic, Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar when Boston overloads one side of the floor. And once they do, these shooters need to deliver.

5. Home-court advantage (10 points): Having Game 7 at home has bailed out the C's twice in these playoffs. Another long series is on the horizon and the Garden will be rockin' all the way through.

The pain of the Patriots' meltdown in the Super Bowl can be exorcised if KG can raise another banner for the most storied franchise in NBA history.

Wild card: The Celtics' other two. The big three get all the attention, but starters Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo will have a lot to do with the outcome.

Perkins can be a beast, especially against a finesse team like the Lakers, and Rondo will thrive in the open-court style the Lakers allow.