The (36-16) Los Angeles Lakers are in the state of Massachusetts to face the (38-13) Boston Celtics for the second time in 11 days. The Celtics are hosting the Lakers after a loss to the Bobcats on the road.
There is never a shortage of storylines when these teams meet. Ray Allen will more than likely become the all-time NBA leader in 3-pointers tonight. Leading several people to ask the question, did Allen wait until today to break Reggie Miller’s record at home against the Lakers?
An answer to the question is unimportant.
The fact of the matter is, the Los Angeles Lakers are seeking payback for the recent loss to Boston. They were fighting an uphill battle the entire game. The Celtics shot 60.3 % from the field, out-rebounded them (43-30), but that was far from the worst of it. They were held to 10 assists their lowest total at home in 51 years!
The Celtics are a banged up team, but still formidable in this rematch, 23-4 at the TD Garden. The Lakers are 2-0 on their extended Grammy road trip.
A motivational speech will not be necessary tonight. This rivalry will bring out a high level of intensity.
The Lakers need to play with consistency, have balanced scoring and win the rebounding battle. They have to control the tempo of the game, stop the dribble penetration of Rajon Rondo, defend the screen and roll plays and quickly rotate out to shooters. They have to not leave any potential shooter open and limit the Celtics to one shot per possession and rebound.
The Lakers need to take care of the ball and get back in transition to stop the Celtics from getting easy baskets or early offense. It is imperative that they get a big game from their front line. Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom have to catch the ball in the painted area, be aggressive and attack the basket.
The Lakers front line has to be cognizant of the fact that the Celtics are going to be physical with them. They have to be physical and aggressive on both sides on the court.
A victory tonight would be a much-needed signature win against an elite team. It would also allow the Lakers to exact some revenge from the previous game.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Celtics: R. Rondo, R. Allen, P. Pierce, K. Garnett, K. Perkins
Tip-off: 5:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: TNT
- Boston: TNT
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Boston: 850 WEEI (Sean Grande & Cedric Maxwell)
- Matt Barnes (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Right Knee) Out
- Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Out
- Semih Erden (Right Abductor Strain) Day-to-Day
- Jermaine O’Neal (Sore Left Knee) Out
- Shaquille O’Neal (Sore Achilles’ Tendon) Out
- Delonte West (Wrist) Out
- Marquis Daniels (Bruised Spinal Cord) Out