POINT GUARD -- Rajon Rondo has emerged as one of the best point guards in the NBA and is a major reason the Boston Celtics were able to upset the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference. Los Angeles Lakers veteran Derek Fisher is a clutch performer and an emotional leader, but he'll be hard-pressed to stay in front of Rondo.
SHOOTING GUARD -- Containing the Lakers' Kobe Bryant will be a team effort, but the Celtics don't like to double team, so the task of checking Bryant will fall mainly on Ray Allen. We'll see if the effort he'll have to give on the defensive end will affect Allen's offense.
SMALL FORWARD -- To win the series, the Celtics will need Paul Pierce to be a big-time scorer. The reason the Lakers brought in Ron Artest is for such a situation. Let's see if he's up to the task.
POWER FORWARD -- For much of the regular season, Kevin Garnett was limited by a sore knee, but regained his form in the playoffs. The Celtics will need a healthy Garnett to contend with the Lakers' Pau Gasol, who is a much better player now than when the teams met in the Finals two years ago.
CENTER -- The Celtics' Kendrick Perkins is an emotional player, but he'll have to keep things in check because he's one technical foul away from a one-game suspension. The Lakers don't know how much they can get from Andrew Bynum, who has a torn meniscus in his right knee.
BENCH -- With Bynum's iffy status, the Lakers really need Lamar Odom to be a force off the bench and look for Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown to get shots at Rondo. Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis and Tony Allen will be keys off the bench for the Celtics.
COACH -- Doc Rivers has done a great job off the court getting the Celtics to play with a championship swagger despite their regular-season problems. But no coach does a better job of getting the best out of his players than Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
PREDICTION -- This is an evenly matched series with battle-tested performers on both sides. The difference will be the Lakers' home-court advantage.
Lakers in seven