At their core, the Celtics are still the same team, with the same starting five from their championship season, bolstered by the addition of Rasheed Wallace off the bench. Rajon Rondo has transformed from a role-playing point guard to a play-making all-star. Tony Allen and Glen Davis, both at the end of the bench during the championship run, are now catalysts off the bench.
Bryant is still the end-all-be-all in Los Angeles, but after winning the title the Lakers gave him an enforcer in Ron Artest, an annoyingly persistent defender that spares Bryant the responsibility of chasing the opponent’s best player all night. This will be the 12th Finals meeting between the two teams, but it will be it's own battle.
“This is a whole new situation,” Jackson said. “We have some of the members of our team, five new members of the team, but some of these guys remember how it felt to lose.”
Jackson and Pierce crossed paths before the season and penciled each other in for June.
“After we came back in the playoffs last year, I ran into Paul Pierce in a complex where my daughter lives in L.A. I said, 'Get it back, we want to meet you in the Finals.' So here it is almost a year later. We have this opportunity, both of us, to renew this rivalry.”