NBA Finals begin Thursday

June 4, 2008 at 9:35 PM   |   Comments

BOSTON, June 4 (UPI) -- The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, who make up the most tradition-bound rivalry pro basketball, open the NBA Finals Thursday.

It will be the 11th time the franchises have met for the league championship, with the Celtics having claimed eight of the previous 10 confrontations.

Boston dominated the rivalry when Bill Russell was the symbol of the team and the Lakers won the last two meetings with the tandem of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Now it will be the Boston trio of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce attempting to get the best of Los Angeles superstar Kobe Bryant.

Bryant has hit 50 percent of his shots and averaged 32 points a game in 13 playoff contests this season.

The Celtics, meanwhile, have played only one post-season game under the maximum. They were extended to seven games by both Atlanta and Cleveland before closing out Detroit in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Boston won both regular-season meetings this season and will be at home for the first two games of the Championship Series. All games in the finals are scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET.

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