2010 NBA Finals:LA Lakers vs. Boston CelticsJune 01, 2010 by Bryan Polks

On Thursday night, the defending champs LA Lakers will host Game 1 of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics at Staples Center. Both teams were tested by tough opponents in their respective conferences. However, these two teams are destined to meet again in the NBA Finals.

The LA Lakers are back as the defending champion after winning the title against the Orlando Magic last season. Its payback time for the Lakers because the Boston Celtics beat them in the 2008 Finals. Kobe Bryant was physically drained in that series as he was constantly pounded by the Celtics' tenacious defense. Pau Gasol was also pushed out of his comfort zone and the Lakers were highly tentative in their shot selection and committed unnecessary turnovers.

After two years, the Lakers will meet the same Celtics again. This time the Lakers have the home court advantage. They upgraded their perimeter defense by acquiring the volatile Ron Artest and Lamar Odom blossomed as their sixth man during this season's playoffs. This season, Kobe and his Lakers have not earned a single loss at Staples Center during the playoffs. This gives them the necessary advantage as they host the first two games of the NBA Finals.

Sports analysts didn't saw the Boston Celtics barging to the NBA Finals. The top favored teams in the East were the Cavaliers and Magic. But the Celtics proved their doubters wrong after beating both teams en route to the NBA Finals. Rajon Rondo has blossomed as the best point guard in the NBA. The Big Three of Pierce, Garnett and Allen have again combined their talents and veteran leadership for the Celtics in the playoffs. They have met Kobe and the Lakers before in the NBA Finals, the Big Three knows that they could beat them again even on the road.

The sportsbook handicappers have installed the defending champions LA Lakers as the 5-point favorite to win Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.