The Los Angeles Lakers are a sad, bad, broken down team. The Boston Celtics aren’t much better, but they’re trying to win, at least. Byron Scott, on the other hand, is doing his best to lose at every opportunity, from his weird abuse of Jeremy Lin and Nick Young to making purposeful wrong decisions at every turn of the road, hoping it gets him more years at the job for perceived loyalty to the grand master plan.
One of the things that kinda stings about parity in my opinion is that rivalries disappear from time to time. Taking a look at college sports or across the pond at European football and basketball, or even South American football, rivalries remain. Maybe it’s because the strong & rich remain strong & rich most of the time; maybe the salary cap and draft and overall system make the leagues using them healthier and stronger in the long run, but it still doesn’t feel right when a game between the two most successful franchises in NBA history, with a combined 33 league titles, has zero meaning to it.
Oh, well, that’s not 100% true. In the weird Eastern conference, the Boston Celtics and their 20-32 record might be enough for the playoffs. The Celtics were supposed to tank, especially after Rajon Rondo got traded to the Dallas Mavericks. But the line between tanking and simply being bad and yet good enough for the postseason battle is very murky and thin in the East. The Lakers are bit more easy to analyze and clearly see they’re a walking, talking disgrace for basketball.
My pal Greg usually writes about the Lakers, although there’s less and less to say about a crystal clear situation. They’re losing on purpose, with maestro Byron Scott killing momentum with interesting (more like suspicious) substitutions to make sure the players that can win games for his team aren’t going to be on the floor during important moments. What’s a win? Just another way to distance themselves from a high draft pick.
The Celtics aren’t that bad to watch. Avery Bradley has his players running a smart system, making up for the very little talent he has on his roster. But with Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk out of the picture for this game, it’ll be looking a lot like a D-League All-Star game. The Celtics have guys that aren’t utterly depressed with life, and a head coach that tries to do things other than cross his arms and look at the court with a vacant expression, which makes them favorites, heavy ones, even on the road.
To be frank, except for a short revival from 2007 to 2011, the Lakers & Celtics rivalry hasn’t been interesting since the late 1980’s. Meeting only twice a year, those two finals series in 2008 and 2010 made us all remember what a great rivalry it used to be and still can be. However, it’s probably going to take a few more years before clashes between them spark anything more than local interest again.