Celtics, Lakers completely different from 2010 NBA Finals

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Celtics, Lakers completely different from 2010 NBA Finals

It was only three seasons ago that the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers faced off in a heated Game 7 NBA Finals battle, another chapter in their storied rivalry.

The Lakers captured the trophy in their building, and both teams looked poised to contend again as they left the Staples Center that night.

On Thursday, two very different Celtics and Lakers team will take the court at TD Garden. After years of fighting for homecourt advantage, both clubs are fighting for the playoffs.

The Celtics (25-23) are ranked eighth in the East while the Lakers (23-26) are tenth in the West. Both teams are currently on winning streaks, but both have also struggled with consistency, establishing chemistry with new pieces, and being hit with injuries.

The most glaring difference is not only how the players are performing on the court, but who is on the court. Take a look at how the current Celtics and Lakers teams differ from the squads that fought for it all in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals.

THEN: June 17, 2010

Celtics
Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace

Bench: Glen Davis, Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, Brian Scalabrine

DNP: (coachs decision): Marquis Daniels, Michael Finley, Shelden Williams

Lakers
Starters: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum

Bench: Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Shannon Brown, Josh Powell

DNP: (coachs decision): D.J. Mbenga, Luke Walton

Now: February 7, 2013

Celtics

Still on the Celtics: Garnett, Pierce, Rondo

Still in the NBA: R. Allen (Miami Heat), T. Allen (Memphis Grizzlies), Daniels (Milwaukee Bucks), Davis (Orlando Magic), Robinson (Chicago Bulls), Wallace (New York Knicks)

Out of the NBA: Finley, Scalabrine, Williams

Lakers

Still on the Lakers: Bryant, Gasol, World Peace

Still in the NBA: Brown (Phoenix Suns), Andrew Bynum (Philadelphia 76ers), Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Clippers), Luke Walton (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Out of the NBA: Farmar, Fisher, Mbenga, Powell, Vujacic

Of the six remaining Celtics and Lakers from the 2010 NBA Finals, only four of them will suit up Thursday. Gasol (plantar fascia tear) and Rondo (out for the season, torn ACL) will not.

Six of the current Celtics and Lakers were not in the NBA in 2010. Avery Bradley and Devin Ebanks were drafted just weeks after Game 7, Darius Morris joined the league in 2011, and Fab Melo, Jared Sullinger (out for the season, back) and Robert Sacre were drafted last summer.

At the close of the 2010 NBA season, Garnett had recorded over 22,200 career points. Entering Thursday's game, he is only six shy of 25,000.

Wallace started Game 7 in place of Kendrick Perkins, who injured his knee in Game 6. Perkins currently plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Blakely: Thomas isn't a starter, but new All-Star voting is an improvement

Blakely: Thomas isn't a starter, but new All-Star voting is an improvement

BOSTON – There’s certainly some disappointment among Celtics Nation that Isaiah Thomas just missed out on being an All-Star starter in the East.

But one thing we can certainly see with the new voting system … it works way better than the old way of choosing starters.

This was the first year that the NBA decided to allow current NBA players as well as a select panel of media choose who the starting five in the Eastern and Western Conferences would be.

The fan vote would count for 50 percent while media and players would each represent 25 percent of the final tally.

From there, the players would receive a fan ranking, a media ranking and a player ranking.

Because of the aforementioned breakdown – fans count for 50 percent while media and players represent 25 percent of the vote – the fan ranking would be counted twice while the media and player rankings would be counted once.

Let’s look at Isaiah Thomas’ situation which ultimately came down to him and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan for the final starting spot in the backcourt.

Thomas was fourth in the fan voting, second in the player voting and first among guards in the media voting. So when you add the fan voting (4 *2) + player voting (2 *1) + media voting (1*1), you get a total of 11 which is then divided by 4 to arrive at a score of 2.75.

Now let’s look at DeRozan.

He was third in the fan voting, third in the player ranking and second in the media voting among guards. So his score when you add the fan voting (3*2) + player voting (3*1) + media voting (2*1), you get a total of 11 which when divided by 4 brings you to a score of 2.75 – same as Thomas.

The tiebreaker was the fan vote which meant DeRozan and not Thomas, would get the starting nod in next month’s All-Star game.

As much as it may suck that Thomas lost out because of this system, he would not have had a shot at being a starter under the old system in which the fans were the ones to pick starters.

In fact, it would have been Chicago’s Dwyane Wade in the starting lineup under the old system.

No disrespect to D-Wade, but he has not had an All-Star worthy season. And had the old system been in place, he would be an all-star and thus take up a roster spot of another player who frankly, is more deserving.

And if you take a glance out West, they too would have had a starter who has not had an All-Star caliber season.

Golden State’s Zaza Pachulia finished second in the voting among Western Conference forwards, fueled in large part to his home country, Georgia, voting early and often for him. Because of the media and player voting, Pachulia wound up sixth among Western Conference big men which is still too high when you consider some of the players behind him – Memphis’ Marc Gasol, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan – who are all having better seasons.

While no one would say this new system is perfect, considering how this year’s voting would have panned out under the old rules, this change by the league is a good one that should stick around.

NOTE: I was among the media panelists selected by the NBA to vote for this year’s All-Star starters. My selections in the East were Cleveland’s LeBron James, Kevin Love and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo in the frontcourt with Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Boston’s Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt. My Western Conference selections were Kevin Durant of Golden State, Anthony Davis of New Orleans and Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio in the frontcourt, with Houston’s James Harden and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook in the backcourt.