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Lakers, Celtics are better than their 2008 versions

Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest help make L.A. a tougher team than Boston defeated in the Finals two years ago.

June 02, 2010

CELTICS VS. LAKERS

Records: Celtics 50-32, No. 4 in East. Lakers 57-25, No. 1 in West.

Season series: 1-1.

Aside from the limits on Andrew Bynum, the Lakers have gone back to being the powerhouse that people thought they were.

So have the Celtics, the difference being that you have to go back to Christmas to find a time when anyone thought they were a power.

With all the injuries that led to the Celtics' 27-27 finish after their 23-5 start, they now look better than their team that whipped the Lakers in the 2008 Finals.

Kevin Garnett isn't the old KG, but Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are pretty close to being what they were.

Rajon Rondo is day-and-night better. Kendrick Perkins is way better. Their bench, which was just James Posey, Eddie House and P.J. Brown in 2008, is way better.

Happily for the Lakers, they're better than that 2008 team, not to mention wiser.

With the 7-0, 285-pound Bynum, they should be able to stand up to any physical challenge. If Trevor Ariza was a better fit in general, Ron Artest, at 6-7, 260, is a better fit in this throwdown.

Prediction: Lakers in six if Bynum averages 24 minutes. If not, it's a toss-up.

— Mark Heisler

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