Lakers-Celtics: If the Lakers reach the finals and play the Boston Celtics again, next year’s matchup will be even MORE EPIC than this year’s. Not only is it a rubber match, but both teams are trying to collect as many rings as possible while the window of opportunity is still open. The Celtics window is closing rapidly, while the Lakers still have a few good years left. However, this being the 13th time the Lakers and Celtics have clashed in the finals and 3rd time they’ve met in the previous 4 years means the media will probably hype it up more than Ali vs Foreman. A Lakers win will tie them with the Celtics for most championships in NBA history.
Shaq vs Lakers, Matt Barnes vs Kevin Garnett, Ron Artest vs Celtics, etc., are some of the other intriguing plot twists if these two teams met in the finals: Don’t forget Shaq is on the Celtics now and nothing would satisfy him more than leading the Celtics over his former team and arch-nemesis Kobe Bryant. Throw in the mini-rivalry of Matt Barnes vs Kevin Garnett, Ron Artest vs the entire Celtics team, and a Lakers-Celtics matchup will be full of bad blood, highly-contested basketball games, and one epic matchup. On a side note, if the Lakers are Rocky Balboa, the Celtics are Apollo Creed, then maybe the Miami Heat will be Ivan Drago/Mr. T and knock out the Celtics. Maybe the Lakers and Celtics won’t meet for a 3rd time, just like Rocky and Apollo Creed never did either. Instead they’ll join forces to defeat the red menace and single-handedly end the Cold War. (If this is the case I’d love to see what happens when they film Rocky Balboa and the Lakers win a championship behind the will of a 62 year old Kobe Bryant.)
Challengers to the Throne: Kobe Bryant vs…
Lebron James and Dwayne Wade. Although the NBA hasn’t fully embraced a Kobe vs Lebron or Kobe vs Wade rivalry, it’s only natural that it will eventually happen. The Lakers and Heat will both be competing for the NBA championship, and all three players will be competing for title of MVP aka Best Basketball Player in the World. Kobe Bryant, if he stays healthy, may have one more regular-season MVP up his sleeve and if he succeeds it will come at Lebron and Wade’s expense.
Lakers vs the Western Conference
Once again, the Lakers will come into the upcoming NBA season as the odds-on favorite to win the conference. The Lakers will be an overwhelming favorite over any team they play in the playoffs, and every team in the west will bring their “A” game when they face the defending back-to-back champs. The Lakers have dispatched the Nuggets, Jazz, Suns, Spurs, Rockets, and Thunder in recent years during their extended playoff runs, and they will likely face at least one of these teams again during their next championship push. The question is, do any of these teams have what it takes to challenge the Lakers? The answer is no. But it will be fun to see them try.