Jeff Clark: Celtics in 6 games. Because sometimes cliches are true. Defense wins championships and we've got a championship caliber defense. Just ask the Cavs and Magic what that defense can do to quality opponents. It won't stop all the Lakers all the time, but it will slow them enough of the time to give our offense (led by our new MVP Rondo) a chance to shine. The other great thing about this squad is how it reacts to other teams' defensive strategies. Take away one guy and another one steps up. We've just got too many unselfish stars ready to step up or step aside, depending on the situation.
Green17: Celtics in 6 games - Destroying the Lakers in the deciding game, 131 - 92. TA ends Shannon Brown's career with a vicious 1on1 shake early in the second quarter of game 4. ( a la Sasha v. Ray). Basically, its just like last time, except instead of the hunger of three hall of famers without rings there is just too much Rondo for the Lakers to handle.
Roy Hobbs: Celtics in 7 games. My eyes tell me we can win this series in five or six, due to our defense and because LA doesn't have an answer for Rondo. However, the way this season has gone, I don't think anything is going to come easy for either the team or the fans. Plus, if we're going to follow the path of the 1969 Celts, we need to beat the Lakers at the Forum in a Game 7, with the confetti and the balloons left in the rafters.
Jimmy Toscano: Celtics in 5 games. They'll take one of two in L.A. and come home to win all three games. I just cannot see the Celtics being denied based on the inspired basketball I've seen from them in the postseason. Expect the Lakers to have problems with Rondo throughout the series, much like the Cavaliers did. The Celtics seem to be not only a deeper team, but a more physical team- and both of those things should be the difference in the series.
Steve Weinman: Celtics in 6 games. Since Game 4 of the Cleveland series, we've finally, finally, finally seen the type of team performance we expected at both ends when this group took the floor late last autumn. The Celts have the size and depth inside to match up with the Lakers' bigs better than any of LA's previous opponents. And if the namesake of Rondo and the Rondettes (would this not have been a great recording group name in the '50s or '60s?) continues to play at his current level, he's going to cause a significant match-up problem for LA regardless of whether Phil Jackson leaves Derek Fisher on him or uses Kobe in a free safety, sag-off role.
IndeedProceed: Celtics in 5 games. We'll take game 1 in LA and hold home court. It'll be the most anti-climactic series of the playoffs, and Phil Jackson will be coaching the New Jersey Nets next season. Kobe will show up for 4 out of the 5 games, and he will spend the rest of the time giving Ron Artest, Andrew Bynum, and Adam Morrison dirty looks for not being as good as he is. Then he'll take his toys and go home.
FLCeltsFan: Celtics in 6 games. One word: Defense. The Lakers haven't faced a defense like the Celtics' in their first 3 series. The closest thing to tough defense was Oklahoma City, who held the Lakers to 96 ppg. Utah allowed them to reach 109 ppg. And Phoenix allowed them to score a whopping 114 ppg. The Celtics on the other hand, held Miami to 88 ppg, Cleveland to 95 ppg, and Orlando to 91 ppg. The Celtics have let up in 2 games in every series and will probably do the same in this series. I think the Lakers will win one game at home to open the series and pick up one of the 3 in Boston, but the Celtics will close it out in game 6.
tenaciousT: Celtics in 7 games. Seriously, I'd like to say the Cs in 6, but then I might jinx them. Every other series, I've said 7 and they are winning early just to prove me wrong. I love their effort to shorten series. They will need that energy now. Artest v. Pierce - 2 aging fighters putting on one of their last big shows. Artest will get to do things to Pierce that other players don't. But Pierce won't have to use as much energy defending Artest as he did LeBron. Rondo will get by Fisher, but will have to solve another tall front line he used to have trouble with. He shredded the Cavs this time. Ditto to the Lakers? KG is up to making life difficult for Gasol. Kobe will get an array of defensive looks. Rondo and the bench ( the need for Sheed) play will the biggest factors as to outcome. I can't forget to add that Odom could be a real problem (as opposed to 2008.)
Master Po: Celtics in 6 games. Seriously...it's all about Game 1 and 2...and a thing called MO-mentum. The Lakers seem more driven than in 2008 and the Celtics almost seem like a team of destiny. I'll go with Destiny - Green Destiny with a side order of Celtic pride. Rondo the Aggressor must play with his sword out of the sheath for about 45 minutes a game....We must attack the rim and rebound...suddenly I sound like Stan Van Gundy...I can channel his voice on command...Balloons stay in the rafters...Celtics in 6...Banner 18.
Greg Payne: Celtics in 6 games. This is an incredibly difficult series to predict, when you think about the quality of the two teams participating. Once again, though, the Celtics just have too many weapons, as has been the case throughout these playoffs. I'm curious to see how the Lakers plan on stopping Rajon Rondo, as they've struggled containing point guards throughout the playoffs so far - point guards with supporting casts that can't measure up to Boston's. Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen are the likely candidates to have monster series, but I just can't count out Paul Pierce. I know Ron Artest has given him fits in the past, but I expect Pierce's series to resemble something of a hybrid between the series he had against Cleveland and the one he just had against Orlando. I still expect to see Kobe on Pierce at some point. From a conserving Kobe's energy standpoint, it just makes sense. I don't think home court advantage will matter a whole lot, as both these teams have proven themselves on the road, and boast enough veterans to not be rattled away from their own courts. Kevin Garnett has to limit Pau Gasol (even if that means karate chopping an arm or two), and on the other end, he needs to battle down low and score in the paint. I expect a whole lot out of Boston's bench, too. In my eyes, the Lakers only have three serviceable big men (Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom), with Bynum not entering this series at 100 percent. Keep an eye on that. Nothing would make me happier than seeing Pierce win the championship with a shot at the buzzer.
As always, feel free to leave your own predictions in the comments.