It's not official. Not yet. But is there any doubt that we're in for a dream NBA Finals matchup of the Boston Celtics vs. the Los Angeles Lakers?
No. It's going to be Boston and Los Angeles.
The Celtics (17) and Lakers (15) have won more than half of all NBA championships. When the Finals are over this year, Boston and the Lakers will have combined to have won 52 percent (33 of 64) of all titles. They have played one another 11 times in the finals with Boston winning nine, most recently beating
The rivalry has spanned generations. The Celtics were still figuring things out when the Lakers won five championships while playing in Minneapolis in the 1940s and early '50s.
The Lakers were still playing in the land of 10,000 lakes when the
The Lakers were in Los Angeles when they met the Celtics for the second time, in 1962. This was the series in which the Celtics planted the seed that they would always prevail against L.A. The Lakers pushed Boston to a seventh game and L.A. had a chance to win it, but
From 1959-66 the Celtics won eight consecutive championships and four times they beat the Lakers in the Finals. You might say the Celtics got deep into the heads of
L.A.'s frustration peaked at the end of the 1960s. The Celtics looked old and vulnerable (sound familiar?) in 1968, but still managed to beat L.A. in six. Then came 1969 and the Lakers were sure that would be the year in which they'd finally beat Boston.
The 1969 Lakers had West, Baylor and
Boston battled back and before Game 7, Lakers owner
But the Lakers lost. Again. Chamberlain took himself out of the game in the fourth quarter and never returned. Russell won his 11th championship in 13 seasons, his seventh against the Lakers.
They did not meet again until
One year later there was redemption for Magic, Worthy and coach
The Celtics-Lakers Finals of the were like the Ali-Frazier fights. Boston and L.A. met three times in four years with the Lakers winning the rubber match in six games in 1987.
That was it for the Celtics. They didn't get back to the Finals until 2008 and fittingly, they returned to the championship round to play the Lakers. Once again, the Lakers were favored. And just like in the old days, the Celtics prevailed.
Now the Lakers are back and they'll have home court advantage. L.A. is feeling good about its chances.
But the Celtics always seem to find a way to win this matchup.