Somehow, the rivalry that used to be great keeps getting chances of revival through symbolic events, like the death of Jerry Buss this week, giving extra significance to the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Boston Celtics.
The two teams met less than two weeks ago (Feb. 7) at the TD Garden, during the height of the Celtics’ “doing it without Rondo” streak, beating the Lakers 116-95, with Dwight Howard’s return from injury not doing much to help his team, as six Celtics players scored in double figures, led by Paul Pierce with 24.
The Lakers followed that loss with two wins in four games, but it seems every time they don’t face a cupcake team (beating the Bobcats and the Suns), they crash and burn. They lost to the Miami Heat on a Sunday 107-97, and upon their return to LA were humiliated by the Clippers 125-101, in another example of who rules the town when it comes to basketball.
The Lakers are now 3.5 games behind the Houston Rockets for the final spot in the playoffs, hoping that the rift between Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant isn’t going to damage the team much further, but according to sources, the Lakers are considering making a deal that will ship Howard away to conclude a failure period with the game’s best center.
For the Celtics, the mood isn’t as depressing, and there’s certainly a lot more fighting spirit and belief despite the injuries to Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Barbosa, but after losing to the Nuggets on Tuesday night, their second loss in three games, there’s is real concern that not only this lineup, despite Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett playing better than their birth date suggests, won’t really do much in the postseason, but somehow not be enough to make it, with fatigue and having a very short bench being a real concern.
The Celtics lost 97-90 to the Nuggets and are only 8-16 this season on away games, and they are 6-6 on back to back games. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett combined for a terrible 8-28 from the field in the defeat.
Prediction – It’s hard to tell how much the loss of their owner is going to effect the Lakers, but what is certain is that Kobe Bryant will surely try to make this about himself. The question of whether or not he manages to pull it off is even harder to answer, but if the Celtics are as tired as they looked against the Nuggets, a dysfunctional Lakers team will be able to beat them.