Anyone who has been a Celtics fan for more than 20 years remembers the Lakers/Celtics rivalries of times past. The Lakers were the enemies. There were some very heated battles between these two teams. Who could forget this play between the two rival teams?
It seemed as though every game between these two teams was a war. Chants of Beat LA were common in the Garden. Celtics fans hated the Lakers and Lakers fans hated the Celtics. If you would ask me what my two favorite teams were, it was always the Celtics and whoever was playing the Lakers. Last year when the Garden crowd cheered for Kobe I couldn't believe it. Celtics fans are supposed to hate the Lakers, not cheer for them.
It has been 20 years since the rivalry between these two teams was at its peak. The Lakers have had some success since then, but the Celtics have had some really hard times. Now, the Celtics are back and contenders once again. Kobe has been whining like a baby because Paul Pierce got 2 All Stars and he didn't get any. It's time to rev up this rivalry again. Don't expect Celtics fans to cheer for Kobe this time around. KG and Ray Allen are students of history and I am sure the rivalry between these two teams has not been lost on them.
If history means anything to this team, when the Lakers come into the Garden they should be ready to dominate. Kobe can take over a game all by himself (as we saw in his last trip to the Garden). The Lakers are playing good basketball so this should be a good game.
Probable Starting Matchups: PG: Rajon Rondo vs Derek Fisher SG: Ray Allen vs Kobe Bryant SF: Paul Pierce vs Vladmir Radmanovic PF: Kevin Garnett vs Lamar Odom C: Kendrick Perkins vs Andrew Bynum
Key off the Bench: Celtics: James Posey. Lakers: Luke Walton
Key Matchups: vs Kevin Garnett PPG 20.7 RPG 13.00 APG 4.2 EFF + 31.20 vs Lamar Odom PPG 13.1 RPG 8.30 APG 2.0 EFF + 16.29 KG vs Odom should be a good matchup with KG getting the better of it.
vs Ray Allen PPG 20.3 RPG 4.50 APG 3.3 EFF + 19.10 vs Kobe Bryant PPG 26.9 RPG 6.60 APG 4.8 EFF + 26.00 I expect to see Pierce and Posey on Kobe and a double team whenever possible.
Keys to the Game Stop Kobe Don't expect the Garden crowd to be cheering for Kobe this game. Kobe can single handedly beat a team and so Doc needs to do whatever it takes to stop him and take him out of his game. Pierce should see some time guarding him as should Posey and we should see double teams coming at him whenever he touches the ball. Take Care of the Ball. The Celtics must get their turnovers under control. They can get away with 19 turnovers with some teams, but the better teams will take advantage of them.
Defense After a lapse in Orlando, the Celtics were back to playing good defense against the Warriors. The Celtics can't afford to have defensive lapses against the Lakers or they will capitalize on them. For the Celtics to be an elite team, they have to make defense second nature and make it a priority.
Game Notes: The Celtics- Lakers rivalry is one of the most storied in all basketball. In recent years it just wasn't the same because the Celtics had fallen on hard times. But, with the resurgence of the Celtics this year, we should see the rivalry heat up. The Lakers have been playing well even though they are coming off a loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday. It would be good to hear the Beat LA chants in the Garden again. Ray Allen and KG are both big on history and I am sure the history of the rivalry between these two teams won't be lost on them. It's time to dominate this rivalry once again.