In what is certainly a dream matchup for the NBA, tonight the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Boston Celtics. Here are two storied franchises which tangled in the ’60s, in the ’70s and most recently in the ’80s. Everybody remembers the great teams of the 1980s. With Larry Bird and the Celtics taking on Magic Johnson and the Lakers, the games were epic. For those of us who were really into basketball in the middle ’80s, we still remember these teams extremely fondly. Both teams played tremendous basketball. Both teams had five great starters and one or two outstanding people coming off the bench.

Kobe Bryant versus Ray Allen

That was then. Now we have Kobe Bryant and the Lakers versus Kevin Garnet, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and the Celtics. I think that Kobe Bryant is playing the best basketball of his career. He is now smart enough to know when to pass and when to keep the ball. He knows it is possible to win without scoring 50 points every game. As a matter fact, as his body ages, he had to learn this if he wants more championships. In my opinion, his team played a somewhat disappointing game six against the Phoenix Suns. The rest of the team, with the exception of Ron Artest, played mediocre at best. Ron Artest was the ex-factor. In spite of being a bunion on the foot of modern basketball he still knows how to play.

This is going to be an extremely interesting matchup. The age of the Boston Celtics is extremely important. Basketball is a young man’s game. Therefore, if I’m the Lakers I’m going to try to run. Fast breaks, quick outlet passes, very little set offense. I’m going to try to act like the Phoenix Suns. I wanted to tire the Boston Celtics. I want to see Kevin Garnet and Paul Pierce bent over with their hands on their knees. I think the Lakers can do this. The advantage of pushing the ball will not come until the third or fourth game of the series.

I think the Boston Celtics match up pretty well in a set offense. I think they have the height and the strength to match up with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Celtics need to stay healthy. They need to slow the game down. In my opinion, the big three — Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnet — have become the little three. They have become complementary to Rajon Rondo. In my opinion, he is the key to the series. He is extremely quick. If he’s able to take advantage of Derek Fisher, this is going to be a long series for the Lakers. Rondo is the key to the Celtics’ success. If he plays well, he will pull the little three along with him and Boston will win another championship title.

I know that there are some that are going to freak out because I didn’t say that Kobe Bryant is the key to the series. In my opinion, he is not. Kobe Bryant is going to play great basketball. This is a given. Just as the sun will rise in the east and set in the west tomorrow, Kobe Bryant will do everything that he can to win. The Celtics are not going to be able to stop Kobe. Therefore, the Celtics must stop everybody else. The Celtics must dominate the glass. They must slow down the game. They have to prevent those long three-pointers by Derek Fisher and the other Lakers. They have to stop that little two-man game that Kobe Bryant has with Pau Gasol. They have to keep Lamar Odom in check. Bynum and Artest must be neutralized. This is how the Boston Celtics can win this series in five or six games.

This series will be worth the price of admission. Hype this all you want. The stars will be there. Tom Cruise, Spike Lee, Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman and others will be at courtside. Turn up the hype machine. This will be a great series.

This is my two cents.