Maria Menounos is not only a favorite of Hot Clicks Nation (for good reason, explained here and here), she's also a die-hard Celtics fan, as evidenced by her birthday cake two years ago and this photo of her looking all cute in her Boston jersey. Menounos gave Hot Clicks her thoughts on the Lakers-Celtics series, which kicks off tonight.
SI.com: Before we get to the Finals, tell me about what happened between you and Vince Carter in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. You Tweeted that he was not happy with your trash-talking.
Menounos: People have said I'm a Vince Carter hater, but that's not the case. The reality is, he was in my crosshairs. He happened to be inbounding the ball in front of me constantly that night. And I find myself to be the sixth player on the team. So when I'm sitting courtside and I see Vince Carter right there, so of course that's my opportunity to help my guys and rattle the opponent a little bit.
SI.com: Did you say anything that was out of line?
Menounos: I was not out of line. I just said, "You guys are going down," and "The Celtics are going to stomp all over you guys tonight -- and tomorrow you'll be at Disney Land." I kept saying Disney Land as opposed to Disney World accidentally. But I just said, "You're going to be Disney Land tomorrow with Minnie Mouse, taking pictures, eating cotton candy, but I hear it's good and you're gonna have a great time and we'll be off beating the Lakers." Apparently, after the first time I said it, he turned around and glared at me.
SI.com: OK, let's talk about the Finals. Give me your overview of the series.
Menounos: I love that the Lakers are putting us in the underdog position. Let's talk reality. The Lakers played Oklahoma City, Utah and Phoenix, who almost came back to beat L.A. We beat Miami, Cleveland and Orlando, who killed the Lakers in the regular season. We had to play excruciatingly tough teams. The Lakers didn't, and they still struggled. I think we had a tougher road to the Finals, and the difference between the Lakers and the Celtics has been, since 2008 when we won it all, is that we are a team. Obviously, our defense won us that championship, but us being a team and putting all egos aside was the key. When the Celtics were down 30 to the Lakers, Kevin Garnett grabbed the whole group and said, "OK, we may have lost this one, but how are we gonna get the next one?" It was all about team unity. So you've got us doing that, and then you got Kobe Bryant, when he's down 30 yelling at his players and pissed off and then he can't recover. So I just hope to see more than that. It will be tough because Ron Artest covers Paul Pierce really well, but Tony Allen covers Kobe really well. It would help if Rajon Rondo is in good physical condition, but obviously I'm worried a little about him. But we have Nate Robinson who is a wild card and can just light it up like he did in Game 6. To see this group get through this year of injuries and difficulties and to come together the way they did in Miami, this is a team that could be better than 2008.
Menounos: I think this series is all about team unity and team defense. A prediction is really, really hard. It will be a very tough series. Our team defense will bring us to the ultimate victory. Now is that gonna be in Game 6 or Game 7? I don't know. Would I love to sweep these guys? Of course. But that's not going to happen. But we'll win in Game 6 or 7.