Jun 30, 2010

Rod Brind'Amour Hangs Up His Skates

I will be the first to admit I am not a hockey fan but I was a HUGE fan of this guy.

(Raleigh, NC) -- Hockey is a tough game. Its the type of game that can take a toll on a young body and make careers last only a limited number of years, let along decades.

Former Flyer Rod Brind'Amour announced today that he will walk away from the game of hockey after 21 professional seasons. Rod was one of the toughest centers in the NHl during his career and holds the Flyers franchise record for most consecutive games player at 484.

No Laughing Matter: Philadelphia Phanatic Gets Sued

(Philadelphia, PA) -- It seems that the world of a major league mascot gets harder and harder. We have recently seen the issues within the Pittsburgh Pirates regarding disgruntled Pierogis and their opinions on executive decisions, now the other team that occupies the state of PA is getting into issues of his own.

Today the Philadelphia Phanatic got some bad news of his own as he was subpoened. The Phanatic is facing civil charges from a Bucks County woman claiming the Galapagoa Island native mascot injured her at a minor league baseball game.

Randall Cunningham Loses Son In Hot Tub Accident

(Las Vegas, NV) -- Former Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham's two year-old son Christian passed away yesterday due to an apparent accidental drowning  in a hot tub at the family home.

Cunningham whom was a former star at UNLV before being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles 37th overall in 1985 is now a minister in Las Vegas and regularly uses the hot tub for baptisms.

Steroid Pioneer: Lenny Dykstra Admits Use in New Book

(New York, NY) -- In a new book on the world of Wall Street corruption, author Randall Lane manages to shed some light on the long time speculations of one of Philadelphia former darlings, Lenny Dykstra.

Dyrstra, a member for the 1993 NL Champion Phillies, became a wall street and market speculation guru after his playing days and has been involved in current controversy over money he was given to influence his stock tips.

Jun 29, 2010

Utley and Polanco sent to disabled list.


Philadelphia, PA -- The injury woes for the Phillies grew today as it was announced that second baseman Chase Utley and third baseman Placido Polanco were both added to the 15-day disabled list.

Utley had an MRI on a strained right thumb ligament and may miss up to three weeks with the injury. Utley bruised the thumb in last nights 7-3 loss to the Reds.

Ploanco, who was not active for the recent Toronto series, was placed on the retroactive disabled list with inflammation in his left elbow. He received a cortisone shot in the elbow this afternoon with hopes that he could return to the lineup for tonight's game but the bruised elbow did not respond well to the shot and the decision to move to the disabled list was made.

Jun 28, 2010

Johnny Cueto Goes Eight Strong As Reds Top Phillies 7-3


Cincinnati, OH -  Former Phillie Scott Rolen played game killer and Reds ace Johnny Cueto went eight strong innings as Cincinnati topped Philadelphia 7-3 in the opening contest of the three-game set at Great American Ballpark.

Rolen went 1-for-2 with three RBI including a towering two-run shot in the fourth to lead the Reds. Joey Votto and Orlando Cabrera both went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the win.

Despite The Accolade PPL Park Is Far From Ready

(Philadelphia, PA) - Yesterday was a historic day for Philadelphia soccer fans and a homecoming for Philadelphia Union faithful. A crowd of over 18,000 were in attendance to open the team's new home, PPL Park.

The $120 million dollar venue, nestled on the bank of th Delaware River, was opened with a certain set of tight deadlines from the team and the community. Even though the arena is a step in the right direction for the city and the team, it is far from perfect and in some places, far from done.

Jamie Moyer Solid in 11-2 closeout of Blue Jays.

Philadelphia, PA — Jamie Moyer went a solid seven innings, allowing only two runs on six hits, as the Phillies took the rubber match of their three game set with the Toronto Blue Jays 11-2.

Despite the win Moyer did clinch his spot in the "not so" record book when he passed Phillies hall-of-fame Robin Roberts for sole possession of the all-time home runs allowed list with his 506th.

Jun 26, 2010

Halladay Shines in 9-0 Romp Of Toronto


Philadelphia, PA - This game was supposed to be Roy Halladay's return to Toronto—a chance for the Phillies to visit Rogers Stadium to make a statement with their new ace—but due to the G-20 summit, Halladay invited his former team to Philly and played host in a stellar seven innings of work to lead the Phillies in a 9-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park.

Halladay (9-6) allowed no runs on six hits and struck out four in the win. He was assisted from the unlikely source of first baseman Ross Gload who went 3-for-4 with four RBI.

Jun 25, 2010

Evan Tuner Already Getting A Nickname?

(Philadelphia, PA) - Now that the 2010 NBA draft is over and the speculation of the Sixers trading the second pick was squashed the team ended up with exactly what they wanted, Evan Turner the consensus All-American from Ohio State.

Phillies Promote OF Dominic Brown

(Philadelphia, PA) - The Philadelphia Phillies promoted their top position player prospect when they sent Dominic Brown to Triple-A Lehigh Valley from Double-A Reading.

In his time in Double-A Redding Brown was hitting .318 with 15 homeruns and 47 RBI. This is a great chance for Brown to start his fast track to the majors and if he is successful may lead to the Phillies becoming active before the trade deadline.

Trail Of Tears: Phillies Demolish Indians 12-3.


Philadelphia, PA - The Philadelphia Phillies took advantage of shody defense and a strong outing from Joe Blanton to dismantle the Cleveland Indians 12-3, to sweep their three-game set at Citizens Bank Park.

Joe Blanton (3-5) went 7 2/3 innings allowing three runs on six hits and striking out eight. Blanton was given plenty of run support as the Philles went 15-37 from the plate.

Jun 24, 2010

VOTD: Wally Backman Goes Postal

Many of you will here the name Wally Backman and think of his play in the mid 80's for the New York Mets or his short stint with the Phillies in the early 90's. Some of you more in tuned will know his for his one day stint as a major league manager.

The much polarized Backman is now coaching in the minor leagues in the Mets system and some videos of him stint in the bush leagues have hit the internet. This clip from the "Playing for Peanuts" TV series chronicles his days coaching the South Georgia Peanuts of the South Coast League.

Walk It Off: Rollins Homer Lifts Phillies Over Tribe 7-6.


Philadelphia, PA - Coming back form the DL is a tough thing to do especially if you've spent all but 14 games of the season away from your team. Jimmy Rollins proved that his almost two months away from the Phillies was an afterthought with a two-run walk off home run to vault the Phillies over the Cleveland Indians 7-6, in game two of their three-game set at Citizens Banks Park, Wednesday night.

Jun 22, 2010

Moyer leads Phils to 2-1 win over Tribe.


(Philadelphia, PA) - Jamie Moyer went eight innings and only allowed one run on two hits to clinch his eighth win of the season as the Phillies topped the Cleveland Indians 2-1 in game one of their three-game set at Citizens Bank Park.

Moyer (8-6) did break a non-flattering record in the process as Russell Branyan sent a two-out solo home run in the top of the second to put Moyer of the top off the all time home runs allowed list in the MLB.

Jun 21, 2010

Same Old Place, Just A Different Name...

Now that we have all heard the news about Wells Fargo owning the naming rights to the (former) Wachovia Center its time for all of us to put are brains together and come up with a new nickname for the Flyers and Sixers home. The Name is going to officially change on July 1st.

Drop Iggy to Draft Turner... Where do I sign?

(Philadelphia, PA)- According to PhillyMag.com writer and sports pundit Michael Bradley the Sixers have a decisive decision to make regarding their second overall selection in this weeks NBA Draft.

According to Bradley and an unknown Western Conference GM (hopefully someone that's interested in Iggy)“If you take Turner, you have to do something with Iguodala,”.. stated the GM.

Jun 20, 2010

Pavano goes the distance as Phillies fall 4-1.


(Philadelphia, PA) - Twins starter Carl Pavano went the distance and the combo of Denard Span and Justin Morneau both went 2-4 with a home run a piece as the Twins topped the Phillies 4-1, in game three of their interleague series at Citizens Bank Park.

Pavano (8-5) allowed one run on four hits and struck out a pair en route to his eight win of the season.

Philly's Rasheed Wallace Talking Retirement?

(Boston, MA) - The Boston Herald is reporting that Celtics center and Philadelphia's own Rasheed Wallace is contemplating retiring after the Celtics lost game seven of the NBA Finals.

Wallace started game seven in place of the injured Kendrick Perkins whom ruptured his ACL and MCL in the Lakers 89-67 victory to push a game seven.

Wallace had an impressive 11 points and eight rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter of game seven as the Celtics lost 83-79 to win their 16th NBA title.

A.I. wants to return... does anyone care?

It has been reported that former Sixer Allen Iverson wants to return to the NBA for a 14 season. Iverson's manager Gary Moore told ESPN.com that "Allen is working out and he's getting himself prepared to make his return."

The only problem with this expected  return is... does anyone really want him?

Jun 19, 2010

Its Outta Here: Teams tallied nine longballs as Twins top Phils 13-10.


Philadelphia, PA - A home run derby broke out where a baseball game was supposed to be played as the Phils and Twins accounted for nine bombs in Minnesota's 13-10 win over the Phillies.

Game two of the three game interleague set was a perfect atmosphere for the long ball and both teams took advantage of the prefect weather at Citizens Bank Park.

Both teams started early as the Twins scored three runs in the top of the first. Denard Span tallied the games first run on a Justin Morneau one-out single. The Twins scored two more on a Delmon Young one-out double to left field.

Jun 18, 2010

The Bats Are Back: Utley and Howard go yard in Phillies 9-5 win over Twins.

Philadelphia, PA - Ryan Howard went 4-4 with two home runs and Chase Utley belted his 11th homer of the year as the Phillies topped the Minnesota Twins 9-5 in game one of their three-game interleague series at Citizens Bank Park.

Joe Blanton (2-5) went a solid six innings, despite allowing three runs on seven hits, to clinch only his second win of the season.

Blanton showed control and composure in the win as he pitched four straight hit-less innings, and only walked three batters.

The Phillies, who have a  tendency to start out slow in interleague play, began the game guns-a-blazing scoring eight runs in the first two innings. 

Shane Victorino lead of the first with a walk and immediately stole second to get into scoring position. He was plated one out later on a Chase Utley single to right field to give the Phillies and early 1-0 lead.

VOTD: Evan Turner talks Wachovia Center, Philly and possible jersey numbers.

- Thanks to Sixers.com for the Video-

I think this video speaks for itself. After his first and only workout Evan Turner was given a tour of the Wachovia Center and told the reporters the toughest thing he has been told to think about isn't his draft spot but if he wanted Pat's or Gino's and his possible jersey number... All Sign Looking Good In Philly!!

2010 NBA Draft: Don't Believe The Hype, The Sixers Will Take Turner

Okay, the talking heads within the basketball media have gotten a bit out of control. It seems that in the age of over Mock Drafting and intensive blogging (I still love you, Bleacher Report) opinions have become fact and every hour a new theory or rumor takes over the place of natural common sense.

Yesterday, the Philadelphia 76ers made a trade that sent center Samuel Dalembert to the Sacramento Kings for forward Andres Nocioni and center Spencer Hawes.

This simple, if not needed, trade has spurned some of the most outlandish and uneducated speculations about the Sixers' draft strategy. Not that my opinion matters, but it only makes sense, given this trade, that the Sixers will still take Evan Turner with the second overall pick.

Jun 17, 2010

Unlikley Heroes: Phils have surprise leaders in 7-1 win over Yankees.

(New York, NY) Coming into tonight's interleague series finale the Phillies were just hoping to escape the Bronx with a win. The tea, sent struggling righty Kyle Kendrick to the mound to take on the always dangerous Andy Pettitte.

Little did the Phillies know that not only would their bats come alive but so would their gloves, as the game was a defensive showcase for the Phils.

Shane Victorino, whom was on a 1/17 slump in the last two series, went 2-3 including a two-run homerun to lead the Phillies offense.

The Phillies got the offense started in the fourth as Ryan Howard roped a one out single to right field that scored Shane Victorino from second base.

Victorino matched Howard one inning later with his two out homerun to right that gave the Phillies an early 2-0 lead.

Sixers Trade C Samuel Dalembert to Sacramento Kings

The Philadelphia 76ers made a move today trading longtime center Samuel Dalembert to the Sacramento Kings for F Andres Nocioni and C Spencer Hawes. The move was first reported by ESPN.com Chad Ford.

The deal is not yet final, pending physicals, but could be made official as soon as Friday.

Dalembert has played his entire seven year career with the 76ers and is due to become a free agent after next season. The move will give the Sixers a replacement for Dalembert in Hawes and hopefully shed some light on their upcoming draft strategy.

There have been recent reports revealing that the team is second guessing taking Evan Turner with the second pick in next weeks draft. Many are hinting on Derrick Favours as a possible pick for the Sixers but this trade could all but guarantee Turner's selection.

NBA Finals 2010: The Most Important Stats to NBA Finals Game 7

Tonight's NBA Finals is the epitome of everything fans love about the NBA: Celtics v. Lakers in a win-or-go-home game for the title.

We all know about the rich and legendary history this rivalry has created. The first six games of this year's saga have been perfect examples: Ray Allen's historic performance in Game Two, Kobe's stamp on history, Derek Fisher's ageless abilities, and the selfless nature that has brought the Celtics to Game Seven.

As the opening tip approaches, here are seven keys to Game Seven that will affect exactly who escapes the Staples Center with the Larry O'Brien trophy...

Evan Turner to Work Out with Philadelphia 76ers

Evan Turner, the consensus All-American from Ohio State, is in Philadelphia today for his first scheduled workout with the 76ers. Turner, who averaged 20.9 points and 9.2 rpg in his junior season, is visiting the team for his only scheduled workout before the June 24th draft.

The Sixers hit a proverbial goldmine in the Draft Lottery when they won the second selection. Many view Turner as the most complete player in the draft and expect him to fill a much needed void in the Sixers backcourt.

The Washington Wizards are expected to take John Wall, the Kentucky point guard, with the first selection when the draft takes place next Thursday at 7 p.m. (ESPN).

Jun 16, 2010

Ageless Wonder: Moyer Shines in Phils Win.

(New York, NY) -  On the 24th anniversary of his first major league start Jamie Moyer pitched eight solid innings as the Philadelphia Phillies topped the New York Yankees 6-3 in game two of their three-game interleague series at Yankees Stadium.

Moyer's performance wasn't perfect as he did allow two Yankee home runs, luckily, they were both solo shots as Robinson Cano belted his 14th of the year in the bottom of the second and Jorge Posada knocked in his nine of the season in the bottom of the fifth.

Moyer (7-6) only allowed two runs on three hits en route to his seventh win of the season. The only other hit, besides the two homers, was a Kevin Russo single in the bottom of the eighth.

As much as Moyers ability on the mound was the headline the life that was resurrected from the Phillies bats was the highlight.

Jun 15, 2010

Bronx Bombed: Phils lose rematch 8-3.

(New York, NY) Nick Swisher drilled a two-run homer in the bottom of the third to lead a Yankees assault on Roy Halladay  as the Bronx Bombers hammered the Phillies 8-3 at Yankees Stadium.

Swisher finished 2-5 with a double and the two-run home run. He was one of three Yankees to go deep on Halladay as the Phillies ace only lasted six innings, allowing six runs on eight hits.

Brett Gardener got the Yanks on the board first in the bottom of the second with a one-out triple to center field that scored Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada.

Talkin Sports With Balls

Check out the "Talkin Sports With Balls Midday Show" on Blog Talk Radio Today at 2:00, Ill be on talking NBA Finals Game 6.

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Just the Medicine: Roy Halladay Will Be Key to Phillies-Yankees Series

We all know the Phillies' recent struggles—the inconsistent bats and the flat-out lack of offensive production.

Philadelphians have been in a shroud of disbelief over the team's current struggles, what with the Flyers' recent success clouding their thoughts, and have ignored the team and brushed off the much-needed panic.

Some call it a slump, some call it midseason woes, but if they Phillies don't right the ship quickly, we can all call it missing out on the playoffs.

For the Phils, nothing seems scarier in the midst of a slump than interleague play. The team is currently ranked 29th in crossover play, and this year's struggles have been tragic examples.

Jun 14, 2010

Phinally: Phils salvage final game, top Red Sox 5-4

(Boston, MA) The Philadelphia Phillies managed to escape Boston with a win Sunday as the best the Boston Red Sox 5-3 at famed Fenway Park.

Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels pitched seven innings and only allowed one run en route to his sixth win of the season. Hamels allowed five hits and struck out either batters on 113 pitches.

Boston got on the board first as Adrian Beltre launched a lead off homerun over the green monster to give the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead. After the homerun Hamels settled himself, sitting down the next four batters he faced.

Jun 13, 2010

2010 NBA Draft: Would the Sixers Trade the #2 Pick to Fix the Past?

The 2010 NBA Draft is just under two weeks away and it seems like everyday there is a new rumor or report that the Philadelphia 76ers are looking to shop their second overall pick.

The speculation and hoopla about the situation has hit a fever pitch and I'm even getting questions from readers about what the Sixers will do.

After going 27-55 and immediately firing head coach Eddie Jordan, the team began to realize that there was not a lot to look forward to on Broad Street.

When the Draft Lottery came around, the Sixers were given something they haven't possessed in years... the upper hand.

Jun 12, 2010

Phils struggle again, Fall to Sox 10-2

 This is an Examiner.com piece, 
to read the original CLICK HERE

(Boston, MA) For the second consecutive night the Philadelphia Phillies took a nine inning drudging from the Boston Red Sox as they fell 10-2 in game two of their three game set at Fenway Park.

Joe Blanton allowed nine runs in four innings of work and allowed a season worst 13 hits. Blanton's ERA rose to 7.28 in the effort and is now 1-5 this season.

The lead story for the day was Daniel Nava who, in his first major league game, went 2-4 including a grand slam in the bottom of the second to cap off a five run inning for the Red Sox.

Nava is only the second Red Sox ever to hit a grand slam in his first major league at bat and did it on his first major league pitch.

Jun 11, 2010

Moyer Gets Shelled By Sox, Phils Fall 12-2

This is an Examiner.com piece, to read the original CLICK HERE

(Boston, MA) The Philadelphia Phillies suffered a traditional southside drudging at the hands of the Boston Red Sox Friday night in rout to a 12-2 loss, their fourth consecutive on the road.

Jamie Moyer evened his record at 6-6 in the loss. Moyer only lasted one inning and allowed nine runs on nine hits.

The Red Sox got to Moyer early in the first. After walking Marco Scutaro and getting Dustin Pedroia to ground into a fielders choice, Moyer allowed back-to-back-to-back doubles before Mike Lowell hit a towering homerun over the green monster to give the Red Sox an early 5-0 lead.

2010 NBA FInals: Why The 2-3-2 Format Guaranteed The Lakers a Title

The theme to this years NBA Finals seems to be the intangibles. In game one it was the  Lakers' second half defense. Game two was a career effort by Ray Allen. Game three was the ageless Derek Fisher, and last night it was the Celtics deep bench that got the win.

Glen "Big Baby" Davis dropped an impressive 18 points off the bench for the Boston Celtics as they evened the 2010 NBA Finals at two games a piece. A packed TD Bank Garden of over 18,000 witnessed unlikely leaders for the 2008 champs and the C's stretch the lead with "the big three" rooting from the sidelines.

Jun 7, 2010

2010 NBA Finals: Is Derek Fisher The Key To Boston's Success?

Does anyone think it was a coincidence that Ray Allen finished with 32 points last night or that Rondo got another triple-double? I think not and here is why: Derek Fisher.

We all witnessed history last night as Ray Allen broke the record for most three-pointers in an NBA Finals game, and as much as it was an achievement for Allen, it was also an unveiling of the ineffectiveness of Derek Fisher.

Coming into the series we all knew that the point guard match-up was one of the most lopsided. Rajon Rondo is the most improved player for either team and Derek Fisher is two years older and slower then he was when these teams faced off in 2008.

There was much speculation between games one and two about how the Lakers were adjusting their defensive lineups. The idea that Kobe Bryant would concentrate more on the quick and explosive Rondo meant that Fisher would now have to defend Ray Allen.

Jun 6, 2010

Phlly's Phinest: The Best Ballers From The City Of Brotherly Love

A comprehensive list of the best basketball players to ever come out of the Mecca that is Philadelphia, PA. We have known for years that we make the greatest ballers, here is a list to prove our point.
From the "Big Dipper" to "Black Mamba" the greatest players of all time come from OUR city. 

Jun 3, 2010

Former Phils Prospect Ends Up On Wrong Side Of History

Former Phillies prospect and current Cleveland Indians shortstop Jason Donald landed in an interesting situation last nightwhen he was called safe on a routine ground ball to first in the 9th inning.  A play that may go down as the most controversial call in baseball history.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was one out away from a perfect game when Donald came to the plate. On a 1-1 count Donald hit a ground ball between first and second base and immediately ran down the line.

Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera fielded it cleanly and the ball was tossed to the waiting Galarraga at first, he tagged the bag ending the game.

27 batters up, 27 batters down... perfect game and MLB history... or was it.

First base umpire Jim Joyce emphatically called Donald safe at first, thus ending the perfect game. The only problem was that it was obvious Donald was out and Galarraga had finished the 21st perfect game in MLB history.

A packed home crowd for the Tigers began to boo and after some debate between Joyce and Tigers coaches  Jason Donald was ruled safe and the game resumed. Galarraga completed what was now a shutout when Trevor Crowe grounded out to third base.

Out # 28.

If the call would have been made it would have been the third perfect game of the season following the gems thrown by Oakland's Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay of the Phillies.

After the game umpire Jim Joyce admitted his mistake and openly apologized to Galarraga and the Tigers organization. Joyce was openly upset when he met with the media.

"I kicked the (expletive) out of it. And there's nobody that feels worse than I do. I take pride in this job, and I kicked the (expletive) out of it, and I took a perfect game away from that kid who worked his (butt) off all night." stated a openly shaken Joyce.

Tigers coach Leyland told reporters that he would not petition the league and said that he didn't hold anything against Joyce.

"We all make mistakes. It's a crying shame. (Joyce) is a real good umpire, has been for a long time. He probably got it wrong."

Before today's series finale Galarraga was selected to hand out the lineup card to the home plate umpire, who so happened to be Joyce.

Both hugged and a packed Comerica Park was there to witness the event. Galarraga, in a pre-game press conference told reporters he did not hold any grudges against Joyce and that "people make mistakes, this is baseball".

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is said to be reviewing the play and has the power of executive order to overturn the call. If confirmed this would be the first 28 out perfect game in the history of Major League Baseball but Selig has said in the past that he is not a fan of overturning calls.

Phillies fans will remember that Donald was a part of the deal that brought Cliff Lee to Philadelphia at the trade deadline last season. Donald was a package deal with other prospects such as Lou Marson, who is also an everyday starter for the Indians.

Who knew that when the Phils traded Donald to the Indians last season that he would make history. As a Phillies fan I'm just glad it didn't happen in the red and white.

Video of the final "out:

Jun 2, 2010

Talkin Sports With Balls

Check out "Talking Sports With Balls Midday Show" on Blog Talk Radio. I was a guest on yesterdays show talking NBA Finals.

Listen to internet radio with Talk Sports w/Balls on Blog Talk Radio

Jun 1, 2010

And Then There Were Two: NBA Finals Preview

 When you look at the history of the NBA and the teams that have raised the Larry O'Brien (and Walter A. Brown) trophy you tend to find a common trend. The Boston Celtics and L.A./Minneapolis Lakers have won 32 of the 63 possible champions in the history of the NBA. The players and game evolves over time but nothing in the world of sports compares to this rivalry.

 If you don't believe me think about this. When the NBA made their 50 greatest list, 22 of them played for either the Celtics of Lakers. Not to mention that when the NBA ranked their best teams of all time the winner was the 1965 Boston Celtics, and who did they best in the Finals... The L.A. Lakers.

As much as I like the Phoenix Suns and as a homer I had a soft spot in my heart for Jameer Nelson I think the NBA has the greatest finals possible this year as the leagues biggest rivalry will go down with the Lakers and Celtics.

This years editions hopes to live up to the legacy. Its the typical story, L.A. with its two superstars (Bryant & Gasol) versus the never say die Boston veterans (Garnett, Pierce, Allen). This is the 12th time these teams will face each other in the finals with Boston having a 9-2 edge (40-27) overall. These two teams have accounted for the last two NBA titles (Lakers 09, Celtics 08). Now each of these teams have changed immensely since each of the last titles and that's what makes this years edition one of the hardest to pick EVER.

This series is really tough to call because both teams are very evenly matched. As far as the Celtics go they are returning the exact starting lineup they had when they won the title in 08. As for the Lakers this team is redesigned and drastically different from the team that took the title last year. So with that being said lets go position by position and see how this years finals matches up.

Point Guard: Every playoff series the Lakers enter into the biggest question mark they face is how Derek Fisher will match-up against the opposing point guard and this series is much the same. Rajon Rondo is the most improved player in basketball and has become the most balanced talent the Celtics have had in the last 5 years. The biggest task this series is figuring out how Derek Fisher will contain Rondo and his complete game.

Don't get me wrong Derek Fisher is a talented point guard but with the way the Lakers set up Fisher is not a key to their teams success. Derek Fisher has a very simple job in the Lakers system: Bring the ball to mid-court, pass it to Kobe, then sit on the wing and hope for a three attempt. This is not a diss at Derek Fisher but with the way Kobe controls a tempo and the triangle offense Fisher is a second thought.

In the Celtics system there is no player more important then Rondo. He controls the tempo, is the first option for them to score (he is one of the best at charging into the lane), and dictates the way the opposing defense mans up against the C's. With this being said and the way Fisher has played against similar point guard in the playoffs (he got destroyed by OKC Russell Westbrook) I think Rondo is going to have a field day and I expect to see Shannon Brown and Vujacic playing a lot of point in this series.

Advantage: Celtics

Shooting Guard:  Ray Allen is one of my favorite players of all time but we all know that his game has become spotty and if he doesn't get hot early or go on a scoring streak he becomes increasingly less affective as a series goes on. On the contrast Kobe Bryant is one of the best players in basketball and is the most important person in a Lakers uniform for head coach Phil Jackson. Kobe is the ultimate ball control shooting guard and runs the complicated triangle offense with ease.

Kobe knows the importance of this series and what this rivalry means. I am not saying the Ray Allen is a scrubs, because that could not be further from the truth. Kobe is just too good and will have a strong series. With that being said I think if Allen can get a feel early he can drop huge numbers. In the final three games of the Eastern Conference finals Ray dropped 22pts then 9pts then 20pts.

Both of these guys are up there as some of the best shooting guards in the game and this is the one-on-one match-up that makes Lakers v. Celtics what it is. As much as I love Ray Allen there is no player more important and affective for their team then Kobe Bryant.

Advantage: Lakers

Small Forward: Once again this is going to be an interesting match-up. Paul Pierce is Mr. Celtic and every time people count him out he proves them wrong. On the other side the free agent signing of Ron Artest this last summer was a huge pickup for a Lakers team that would have been a struggling franchise if they didn't fill the gap of Trever Ariza, whom they lost to free agency. Artest is one of the most dominant defensive small forward in the league but his character issues cause some issues when it comes to a balanced team effort.

Pierce is the better shooter and off the dribble has the handling skills of a guard. So from the offensive side I think Pierce has the edge. As for the defensive end Its a hands down favorite for Artest. He is a monster on the boards and can be immensely physical in the paint. The only thing that does worry me is the Artest cant play all 48 minutes and the Lakers don't have a huge bench of defensive players to play in the low post.

This is the toughest match-up to call but when it comes down to head-to-head the edge has to go to Pierce. He is the master of the intangible and if the Celtics have a strong effort from the PF's Pierce will have an successful series.

Advantage: Celtics

Power Forward: This match-up is the biggest change since these teams faced each other in 2008. Kevin Garnett was the reigning Defenesive Player of the Year and was in the pinnacle of he reinvention in Boston. He was playing way beyond his years and with the generation of the big three he thrived. Oh how time has changed in two short years. Garnett, now two years older has faced a huge bought with the injury bug and his ineffectiveness is obvious at times.

On the other side I don't think there has been a more improved talent in the NBA in the last few years then that of Pau Gasol. Formally a solid starter, the seven foot Spaniard has catapulted himself to a level many thought he would never achieve. Gasol has learned to control his size and presence and with the way the Lakers run the triangle offense Gasol has been able to tinker with his skills to make him one of the most productive power forwards in the NBA.

I still think this is going to be a huge task because even thought Gasol has stepped up his game Kevin Garnett seems to always have those games that you sit back and say "hes still got it". With the desperation in the minds of Garnett and the rest of the big three I think he will put it all on the line in this series and I would not be surprised if he affects the outcome of a few games.

Advantage: Celtics 

Center:  Andrew Bynum is still a talented center but his role has diminished since 2008 and even 2009 with the growth and improvement of Lamar Odom. We have even heard reports this week that Bynum has been consulting with team doctors and has fluid drained from his knee earlier this week which does not bode well for the Lakers. Bynum has suffered from the injury bug this season and with the type of low post game the Celtics present Bynum may have a difficult series.

When it comes to the center position and the Celtics I do not think its appropriate to just discuss Kendrick Perkins. Sure Perk is the starter but more then anything he shares time with Glen "Big Baby" Davis at the 5 so I think both should be taken into consideration. Both men have had productive season and have learned how to become role players. Yes they both have a tendency to get into foul trouble and this is going to be something I am sure Phil Jackson is counting on and will be a big part of his defensive strategy.

Head to head the match-up is pretty solid but I still don't like what I hear coming out of L.A. and their injury situation. If Andrew Bynum was 100% I would have to call this a push but with the tandem of Perkins and Davis the Celtics have the clear advantage.

Advantage: Celtics 

Bench: As much as I would like to say the bench is a point of debate in this series it is a hands down win for the Celtics. The Lakers are just too slim when it comes to bench players and I have already talked about how Lamar Odom is pretty much their main source of production off the bench. Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar will get playing time but both of them are point guards and will only be bale to do so much in this series.

On the other side of the coin the Celtics have one of the deepest and strongest benches in the league and this was a huge part of the reason the Celtics are where they are now. In the last few weeks of the season head coach Doc Rivers took time resting each Allen, Pierce and Garnett and managed quite well with his deep pool of talent, specifically that of Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis and the immensely productive Tony Allen. 

Most of the guys on the Celtics bench could be starters anywhere else but realize that playing is Boston gives them one of the best chances to win a championship. I think if there is a major injury the Celtics would be able to manage better then the Lakers and that is why I have to give the bench to the C's.

Advantage: Celtics 

When you think of the Lakers v. Celtics rivalry you think of one name... and no I am not talking about Larry, Magic or Bill Russell. I am thinking of Red Auerbach. He was the winning-est coach in the NBA and created one of the biggest dynasties in the history of this sport. Too bad Red has been retired for many years and the man that is creeping up on his legacy is still in the game... and coaching the Lakers.

Phil Jackson has won more titles then any other coach in NBA history and has this uncanny ability to make a team win a title.  He is the ultimate wildcard and would nullify everything I have written so far just because of his ability as a floor general. His players trust him and they want to win for him.

Don't get me wrong Dov Rivers is a hall of fame coach. An incredible student of the game and a class act but no matter how good of a coach you are when you face a legend and a pantheon type guy there is a level of respect that needs to be given.

Advantage: Lakers

Whatever the outcome of this series I think this will go down as one of the best NBA Finals in recent history and beyond anything this will help the NBA and the game of basketball as the leagues two greatest rivals face off. Sad thing is as a Sixers fans and a fan of the team that could be considered the third greatest franchise in league history it hurts... that being said Celtics in 7.

Love it or hate it I wanna hear it...