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First and foremost Happy Holidays to all Laker fans, fans of The Lakers Nation and L.A. & Orange County’s local sports station AM570.

Lakers vs. Celtics; not much more needs to be said; toss up the ball and let’s go at it. This is a game that the Lakers circled on their calendar the moment the schedule came out.

If the question was asked who needs this game more, the Lakers would be your answer.

If the question was asked who wants this game more, we won’t have that answer until early Wednesday evening.

I think it will be the Lakers, who will get up for this game.

Don’t let the joy of Christmas; the festivities of the holiday or the great food, beautiful and memorable moments that will occur on this day fool you into thinking that this is just another regular season game on the schedule.

This is a highly anticipated NBA Finals rematch. The Lakers were embarrassed and want to redeem themselves.

The Lakers have been waiting for this moment since June. The Lakers have been waiting to atone for losing in the NBA Finals and of course for two forgettable moments in the process, that we’ll call 24 and 39.

The Lakers were taught a lesson in grit and toughness. Boston’s veterans outplayed and pushed around the Lakers youth. It has gotten to a point where several people have decided to gloss the team with the four letter kiss of death word — soft.

A win will go a long way in changing this perception. The Lakers can beat the Celtics by controlling the glass, stop dribble penetration and rotate out to three point shooters.

It is apparent that the Lakers need to prove to the Celtics, the NBA and everyone else that they can handle the physical play of the Celtics.

The Lakers had a players only meeting prior to the Grizzlies game, what came out of it was improved team defense, better ball movement and player movement resulting in a finishing the game strong in Memphis and an impressive win in the New Orleans.

The type of defense that the Lakers played in the ‘big easy’ is what is necessary every night. The Lakers come into this game with a 23-5 record overall and 14-1 at home which is good.

The problem is the Celtics come into this game on a historic run, 27-2 overall and winners of 19 straight. Four of the Lakers five losses have come against the Eastern Conference, this must stop.

The Lakers are missing their quickest guard, Jordan Farmer due to injury. This means more minutes for someone. Stopping Rajon Rondo’s dribble penetration will start with Derek Fisher but the team will need to accomplish this task.

The Lakers did a great job on Chris Paul, and will have to do the same against Rondo. Make him an outside shooter. The rosters of both teams are similar to last years.

The difference for the Celtics is the improved play of Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Leon Powe.

The Lakers can win by controlling the glass, that means that the Lakers front line of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum need to become factors inside, scoring & moving their feet on defense blocking and changing shots.

Andrew Bynum is young and still learning, but he has to send a message to teams that they can’t just come waltzing down the lane, you have to knock someone down. Throw your 285 lbs. into a few players and own the paint. Fouls are part of the game; when you acquire them then make them count.

Look for a total team effort from the Lakers, an MVP-type performance from Kobe Bryant, Trevor Ariza being a factor and joining him in the backcourt. I expect to see Josh Powell match up with Leon Powe and contribute his tough defense and rebounding.