Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The (33-14) Los Angeles Lakers host the (35-11) Boston Celtics in a Sunday matinee game at the Staples Center. Both of these teams suffered bad losses on Friday night; Boston lost by 17 to the Suns and the Lakers lost by 5 to the Kings.

The Lakers looked lethargic, flat-footed and as if they needed a collective, B-12 shot. In actuality, both teams were looking ahead to this match-up. A rivalry renewed.

There is never a shortage of storylines when the Celtics and Lakers collide. This afternoon the Celtics return to the Staples Center for the first time this season, and the first time since losing in Game 7 of last year’s NBA Finals. This game will be an emotionally charged event.

Although the Lakers have to keep their emotions in check, live in the moment and play ball.

Despite what we saw on Friday, it is all about the defense for both teams. This is essentially a playoff game. The Celtics will try to be physical with the Lakers and take them out of their triangle offense and force the big players to be jump shooters.

Two of the Lakers three veteran forwards Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom must have a major impact on the game. There is nothing in the rulebook that says that all three cannot step up and get involved.

The Lakers need to run their offense through Pau Gasol, he needs to win his match up with Kevin Garnett.

Unlike Friday’s game, the Lakers have to establish both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the painted area. The Lakers front line has to be physical, aggressive and attacking the basket whenever either player receives the ball on the inside. The Lakers will once again see a zone defense and need to be patient, get the ball into the middle and attack said zone.

For the Lakers, it is all about their defense, energy and execution. They. need to stop the dribble penetration of Rajon Rondo and keep him out of the painted area. Rondo leads the league in assists; he does an excellent job of setting up his teammates for high percentage shots.

The same formula applies, control the tempo, control the boards, dominate the painted area and out-work, out-hustle and out-play the Boston Celtics.

The Lakers have to rise to the occasion and match the intensity of the Celtics. I am looking forward to seeing the Purple and Gold play with passion on every possession.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Celtics:
R. Rondo, R. Allen, P. Pierce, K. Garnett, K. Perkins

Tip-off: 12:30 PM PST

Television

  • Los Angeles: ABC
  • Boston: ABC

Radio

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Boston: 850 WEEI (Sean Grande & Cedric Maxwell)

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Matt Barnes (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Right Knee) Out
  • Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Out
  • Andrew Bynum (Hyper-extended Right Elbow/ Contusion to Ulnar Nerve) Probable

Celtics:

  • Glen Davis (Strained Left Hamstring) Day-to-Day
  • Paul Pierce (Bruised Right Knee) Day-to-Day
  • Shaquille O’Neal (Sore Hip) Day-to-Day
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  • lakers2000

    I hope the Lakers take care of business today. Down with Boston and Shaw!

  • lakers2000

    SHAQ. SORRY.

  • Lakersno834

    Admit it. Lakers are Overrated. Cannot beat a quality team. Period!

  • WNBAscout

    People that think offense should be run through Gasoft are idiots.

  • 8plus24=magic

    I think itsa time we started looking at melo for one of our soft bigs.

  • Fakers

    Fakers keep losing against quality teams….pathetic.
    Not in palyoffs yet? when will they get back into the shape of playoff status….keep saying “it is a just regular game”
    What a pathetic……

  • http://www.jackyang.info Jack

    I’m starting to think I should wait till the playoffs before I start following/watching every game from start to finish. It seems aside from Bynum, Odom, and Kobe, everyone else (particularly Gasol) seems to think it’s okay to jog slowly down the court, or just run through the motion. I’m sicking tired of the lack of effort on the defensive end.

  • pauistired

    HOW ABOUT TRADING ANDREW BYNUM FOR DWIGHT HOWARD?

  • richard

    Ron Artest is sleeping or what, 1 out 10 field goal…

  • http://deleted pauistired

    MAYBE ARTESTISJUSTTESTING …

  • j.crack

    Gasol needs a week off or something. Its pretty obvious those huge minutes he played when Bynum was out are now taking a toll. He’s playing in slow motion lately. Bad shots, terrible defense, jogging up the court, etc. The bench has also looked bad since Barnes went down. He brought a certain hunger & energy that is missing right now. Blake is a big disappointment in my opinion & Shannon thinks he can take any shot he wants. He needs to realize that his shot is off so atleast drive to the basket more. Dont even get me started on Luke “HIGH IQ” Walton lmao. A lot of things are not going well right now but I still think they’ll get it together eventually. Just sucks that the fans are paying a lot of money to go watch the team play without a sense of urgency or real passion right now.

  • Daddy702

    I say trade fish cuz he just aint cuttin it against the young guns! Cant. Score , dish or defend! Get rid of artest cuz his defense against the 3s of the top contenders aint shit andhis offense is inconsistent! His excuse is im concentrating on my D dat shit just aint cuttin it! Either trade for nash and a small frwrd. To back up matt barnes or fuck it go all out and go for melo cuz melo dnt need the ball to score he can spot up or if he has to penetrate . I can c it now bynum at center dwight at power melo at 3 kobe at 2 and a bum at point !!! Talk about loaded!!! It could happen

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