Game 1 Preview: Celtics vs NFL

After taking out the Lakers in the NBA Finals, the Celtics move on to the Intersport Finals, taking on the NFL, who swept the WNBA to reach the finals. Let’s take a look at the lineups:

PG – Rajon Rondo / Ronald Curry
SG – Ray Allen / Champ Bailey
SF – Paul Pierce / Terrell Owens
PF – Kevin Garnett / Antonio Gates
C – Kendrick Perkins / Julius Peppers

The Celtics have a big advantage at the PG spot with Rondo having outstanding quickness, while the former NC player Curry has had multiple injury issues the last few years. Defensive savant Champ Bailey should be able to deny the ball from Ray Allen, who absolutely killed the Lakers, while Pierce and Owens should light the scoreboards ablaze. Gates and Peppers have their hands full dealing with Garnett, who will get the double-team quite often. Gates and Peppers will have to use their superior strength to offset Garnett’s touch.

The reserves, who lit the Lakers up in the deciding Game Six of the NBA Finals, will also factor in heavily:

PG – Eddie House / Antonio Cromartie
SG – James Posey / —
SF – Tony Allen / Tony Gonzalez / Randy Moss
PF – Leon Powe / Matt Jones
C – Glen Davis / Vince Wilfork

Cromartie needs to be able to fill in well for Bailey as a defensive stopper, as House and Posey can ignite the Celtics at a moments notice. Gonzalez, Moss, and Jones all bring great hops to bring in rebounds and each has the requisite skill to score against the Celtics. Each will be a defensive liability on the court, and with regards to Moss and Jones, don’t expect any blocks at all. Wilfork and Davis should be fun to watch as they bang inside.

Coaching also will play an important role in the series. Doc Rivers has his players buying in to playing defense and putting the team before the man. Coach Mike Ditka is doing the same with the NFL’ers, although his T’s are starting to wear thin on the league office. Let’s hope he tones it down.

Prediction: The line is starting with the Celtics giving up 38 points. Unlike the Lakers, we think the NFL will cover.

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