We all originally came to this site for one reason: to “GetGarnett.” Now the time has come to get back at Garnett. Though we have two more games before the big finale this week, we can certainly discuss how we might stack up against the most hyped team in the NBA.
It has been roughly 15 years since a game against the Celtics actually mattered as much as it does this coming Friday. Some of us had grown apathetic towards the Celtics until this past summer when former Celtics Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge, and even Larry Bird himself gave the Lakers Nation a collective “screw you.”
Just in case we need some reminders of why this upcoming game is important, consider the fact that the Lakers and Celtics have competed against each other ten times in the NBA finals. Of those ten meetings for the title, the Lakers have only defeated the Celtics twice, and those were the last two meetings in the 80’s. Of the eight times that the Celtics crushed our hopes, half of those times were devastating game 7 defeats.
If you thought losing to Phoenix two seasons ago in game seven was horrible, just imagine what it was like when we lost eight times to the Celtics in a row and four of those were heart crushing game 7 losses.
Larry Bird, at one point in the off season, had to finally tell Mitch Kupchak to quit calling unless he was willing to send over Lamar and Bynum plus filler for Jermaine. Larry Bird didn’t think getting a package such as Jordan Farmar and Lamar Odom plus salaries to match were even worth discussing.
Just think about how some of the Lakers must think about Larry Bird’s opinions. In a way, Bynum, Farmar, and Lamar were all deemed unworthy of Larry Bird’s attention. Of course, we know he didn’t have the option of getting all of these players, but he could have had at least two of them.
Our Lakers must feel somewhat insulted, especially with the paltry numbers Jermaine has been putting up lately. Now picture in your mind what it will be like for Larry Bird as he watches the game. Sure, he was laughing over the summer thinking that he humiliated us, but now he will be forced to wonder what could have been, because the Lakers will get even with Larry for once and for all beginning with the tip off.
And once our Lakers face Indiana and Milwaukee, they must face the ultimate mental challenge. Think of the arrogant fans in Boston. After breezing through the MLB World Series, their football team is on the cusp of being the first team in 30 years to go undefeated. Meanwhile in the NBA, the hype is at an all-time high for the “Big Three.”
We wanted Garnett, and Boston beat us just as they have numerous times in the past. You can visualize the three Celtic GM’s sitting around and lighting cigars while they laugh at our despair. Likewise, when we show up on Friday, the Celtics fans will hold insulting signs, will taunt our beloved players, and will expect to send us home crying.
I promise you, the Lakers Nation will cry.
The question is, will we shed tears of pain or tears of joy?
The Boston Celtics are currently the top defensive team in the NBA. They only allow 0.93 points per possession. To contrast, the Lakers currently give up 1.04 points per possession. As tough as our defense has been, the Celtics appear to be better according to this metric. The Lakers are the top rebounding team in the NBA with an average of 46 rebounds per game. However, the Celtics are the number one team in the NBA for rebounds allowed (36 RPG allowed). Finally, the Boston offense has put up more than 102 points per game while we have scored 104. When you look at the point differential, or the average margin of victory, the Celtics are the number 1 team in the NBA at just more than 13 points per game and the Lakers are ranked 8th with a differential of less than half that, even after the Bulls blow out!
While the Celtics haven’t faced the type of schedule that the Lakers have, those metrics tell us there’s still plenty of reasons to see this upcoming game as an accurate measure of where our team stands.
In the mind’s of the players, this game is as important as they used to be prior to 1992.
Don’t let the rhetoric fool you, the players will tell you that it’s just another game, but you can bet your bottom dollar that our Lakers desperately want to face the NBA’s “#1″ team. In addition, the Boston Celtics, fresh off their loss to the hot Orlando Magic, want to prove to themselves and the entire Lakers nation that they are the top team.
The Boston fans want to feel superior to us once again. The Boston players want to make a statement.
The Lakers players want to show up, in Boston, and dethrone the top team. The Lakers franchise wants to make a statement to Kevin Garnett that he made a huge mistake in choosing Boston over Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant wants to prove that he is the MVP, even in Boston.
As for The Lakers Nation, we want revenge.