Tomorrow is the big game, NBA Finals, Lakers vs Celtics, Game 1. I wrote last series between the Celtics and the Pistons as well as the Celtics and the Cavs that the key was the play and defense of Rondo and Perkins. Because the defenses will inevitably double-team Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, those 2 guys Rondo + Perkins will be open.

From ESPN, this is their analysis of basically the same thing for this series between the Celtics and the Lakers. That Rondo and Perkins must be able to contribute for the Celtics to be successful,

Unfortuantely, I have to respectively disagree with Mr. ESPN. To me, the key to this series will be whether the Celtics can stop the Lakers from scoring in transition. They Lakers are the highest scoring team in the playoffs. Granted they played 4 games against the defenseless Nuggets, but they've also played 6 against a solid Jazz defense and 5 against the near-top of the league in defense Spurs.

In my opinion, it doesn't matter how well Rondo or Perkins play on offense, if the Celtics are loose with the ball, or don't get back on defense, they don't have enough points between all of them to makeup the difference. The Pistons and Cavs are not an indication of whether they can do it, because neither team was much of a transition team (Pistons kind of, but only with numbers and Billups was not 100%). The clearest indication was against the Hawks, who basically only ran early offense. The Celtics did smoke the Hawks 4 home games, but in the 3 road losses, they gave up 102, 97 and 103.

For more early offense and fast break video info, check out Tom Izzo's new DVD on the Numbered Fast Break. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk hoops with other coaches.