Celticsblog, your boys are back! But LeBron and the Cavs look ready to rule
Are we moving toward an historically magnificent postseason? It sure as hell looks like it. I can't remember a year when we've had three super teams on the horizon. No matter who makes it to the NBA Finals, as Sugar Ray Leonard once famously said, "It will be a war". (metaphorically speaking).
I just did a Win Score analysis of the aformentioned "super" teams: the Cavaliers, the Celtics, and the Lakers. The analysis was similar to the one I did for every NBA Finalist back to the mid-70s. Using what I learned from my historical analysis, the Cleveland Cavaliers are, at the moment, clearly the best team in the NBA, and have the looks of an NBA World Championship team (I'll explain in a moment). The Lakers, on the other hand, are back to the old Laker formula and are the weakest of the three.
1. As you can see, the Lakers are still playing fantastic "Offense" but their "Defense" is back to its historical "slightly above average" level. (Note: I call "Team" Win Score "Offense", and I call "Opponent" Win Score "Defense"... not quite true, but basically correct labels).
2. I've mentioned it before but I'll mention it again because its bizarre... the Lakers ALMOST ALWAYS field teams that are outstanding offensive teams and just around the average defensive teams (go through the link above and look at the Laker champions of the 80s)... they're at it again! And those bastards fooled me early in the season! They had me believing they were planning to play Celtic stlye defense... well, they've quit that and gone back to full scale "Laker" style Showtime ball. Its won in the past, but not when its come up against +30% defensive teams like the Celtics and/or the Cavaliers. Thus, at the moment, the Lakers are no longer my favorites to win the NBA Championship
3. The Celtics are right back to last season's levels. I didn't think it was possible, but they've done it. Their defense is right where it was last season... actually better. They looked poised for another championship run. But one team is standing in their way...
4. Last spring, I said the Cleveland Cavaliers may have stumbled onto a championship formula. They had just finished a mediocre season with a lenghty playoff run, a run which clearly taught them the importance of defensive motivation. Well, this season they've put it all together, and they are playing at an historically high level. They're playing better defense and much better offense than the Celts. If they can maintain this pace, they will win the NBA championship. But remember, I said the same thing about the Lakers a month ago. So time will tell.