If you’re a die-hard fan of the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics, sleep will likely be a limited commodity tonight.
In the latest chapter in their classic rivalry, the Lakers and Celtics will tee it up in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
While I could launch into a long-winded analysis, there are really two certainties.
- Everyone who isn’t a die-hard fan is hoping for a close nail-biter. Overtime would be nice. Nothing is worse than the hype that comes with a do-or-die championship game. Remember last year’s NCAA Championship game between North Carolina and Michigan State or most of the Super Bowls the 49ers won in the ’80s and ’90s.
- Someone down the stretch will make a big play or have a huge impact on the game you wouldn’t ordinarily expect. This excludes Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol for the Lakers and The Big Four (I’m including Rajon Rondo) for the Celtics. For the Lakers, my pick would be Ron Artest. While fans where I live in Indiana still have mixed emotions about him because of his role in the epic brawl with the fans in Detroit while with the Pacers, there is no denying he can still play defense and hit the occasional huge shot as he did in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against Phoenix.
For the Celtics, the pick would be Rasheed Wallace. With big man Kendrick Perkins either sidelined or severely limited by a knee injury suffered Tuesday, Wallace will need to fill key minutes off the bench. Although no longer the player he was winning titles with the Pistons a few years back, he unquestionably has the veteran savvy to come up with the big play out of nowhere. The question for him, as always, is temper. Wallace is rightly known as a technical foul on to legs. It goes without saying he’ll need to keep his emotions in check in order to be an effective contributor.
Rather than making a prediction like everyone else, here is to the simple hope the moment lives up to the hype.