LakersCeltics021713PR

Preview: Lakers vs. Celtics

The only true rivalry in the NBA will have its first showcase of the season in Beantown tonight. The Lakers (23-26) and Boston Celtics (25-23) are dealing with key injuries, but the purple and gold will most likely be without their 2 star big men.

The Celtics lost starting point guard Rajon Rondo for the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee against Atlanta. However, Boston has rallied since hearing the bad news and have yet to lose a game at 5-0 without their floor general.

The Lakers, however, have yet to get a break when it comes to injuries. They've already lost Jordan Hill to a season-ending hip injury early January, and Dwight Howard will probably miss his 4th consecutive game after re-aggravating his right shoulder in a loss to Phoenix. Now, they will miss Pau Gasol for at least 6 weeks due to a partial tear on the plantar fascia of his right foot.

With 33 games left in the season, Los Angeles is trying to make ground to take over the 8th spot in the west from Houston to make the playoffs. The Rockets lost to Miami last night, so the Lakers will need to beat the Celtics tonight to get within 2 and a half game of Houston. But without their best frontcourt players, they have to play as a team on both basket even more tonight.

Metta World Peace, who will play tonight after serving a 1-game suspension against Brooklyn, usually gives Paul Pierce a lot of fits on defense mainly because he has zero physical edge over Metta. Pierce's wide body and strength are problems to most small forwards, but not MWP. However, Metta can't be overly physical against him since Pierce loves to flop whenever he gets contact on his dribble drives. If Metta continues to play solid D on Pierce, Boston will be forced to go somewhere else to get points.

One of those is Kevin Garnett. KG doesn't usually look to score much, but with Rondo out, he's been one of those who had stepped up offensively. He dropped a season-high 27 points on Toronto last night and added 10 rebounds. If Howard doesn't play, the Lakers won't have the size to match with Garnett. But what Earl Clark and Antawn Jamison can do is to make him a shot-creator and playmaker. KG is no longer that quick, athletic forward we used to know, so he does most of his damage outside. Clark and Jamison have to mix it up by forcing him to his left and keep their body on his right shoulder to pressure him on his shot release.

If the Lakers are to win tonight, they will have to ride the shoulders of both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.

Bryant has a tough task balancing his shot-taking and playmaking duties. Doc Rivers will most likely give him different looks defensively starting with Courtney Lee and will probably end with Jeff Green. The Celtics is one of those teams in the league that Kobe LOVES to stick it to.

He'll be tempted numerous times to take over the shooting load, but it's a must for him to keep Boston guessing by setting up his teammates before scoring. Without a threat in the post, the Celtics will be relentless in sending that secondary defender at him whenever he gets near the paint. Kobe has to look at that as a chance to hit an open teammate rather than a personal challenge of making a shot over good defense.

Nash won't have Rondo to deal with but will have athletic and hard-nosed defender Avery Bradley hounding him tonight. But Steve has always been one crafty veteran who always seems to have an answer for every defender he comes across. What he needs to do is to continue to look for his shot and convert those open looks.

The Lakers are facing a tough-defensive team with a lot of experienced veterans. Great ball movement and tons of activity on offense will take care of that defense. The key is for the Lakers to remember that for 48 minutes.

This is the 5th stop of this 7-game road trip for the Lakers. With the win in Brooklyn, they are now 3-1. The Lakers are looking for their 5th-straight regular season win against the Celtics in Boston and 4th-straight win overall. They swept last season's series versus Boston, 2-0. The last time the Lakers lost at TD Garden was back in Game 5 of the 2010 NBA Finals.

Matchup of the Game

L.A. Bench vs. Boston Bench: Without Pau, the 2nd unit for the Lakers will need to make their shots if they are to come out victorious tonight. Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks will be the main focal point for offense off the bench. Antawn Jamison might join them if Robert Sacre starts in place of Howard and Gasol. Regardless, the bench for the Lakers has to at least match the production of the Celtic bench on both ends of the floor.

Keys to the Game

> Teamwork: Just like in Brooklyn, the Lakers can't win this game if they don't play as a team. Period. They have to come out with energy from the get-go and sustain that throughout.

> Rebounding: The Celtics are the 2nd-worse rebounding team in the league because of their lack of size and athleticism in their frontcourt. However, the Lakers are without their biggest players to patrol the boards. They will have to rebound as a committee again if they want to win.

> Turnovers: Boston is 4th in the NBA in steals (8.6 steals per game) and in forced turnovers (15.9 per game). It would do the Lakers a lot of good if they are mindful of their passing and decision-making tonight.

Watch Out For

LAKERS: Earl Clark: He was instrumental in the win against the Nets on Tuesday. Then again, the Lakers wouldn't have a chance at gaining momentum for the playoffs without him. What makes Clark a difficult player to deal with for the opposing team is his versatility. Stopping one area of his game will not completely negate his effectiveness on the court. I doubt even Boston has the abillity to shut him down.

CELTICS: Jason Terry: Another player who always seems to save his best for the Lakers. He's an unabashed shooter who will let it fly from behind the arc out of curls, screens, spot-ups and in transition. Terry can be a difficult cover for any team. Whoever guards him tonight can't stray away from him or go underneath screens.

Game Info

Tonight @ Boston Celtics
Tip-off: 5:00 p.m. (PST)
TD Garden
TV: TNT (national)
Radio: 710 AM ESPN/1330 KWKW

Injury Notes

LAKERS: Jordan Hill (hip) out for the season. Pau Gasol (foot) out indefinitely. Dwight Howard (shoulder) is day-to-day.

CELTICS: Rajon Rondo (knee) and Jared Sullinger (back) are out for the season.

LakersCeltics021011PR

Preview: Lakers vs. Celtics


(Getty Images)

This is it. This is THE measuring stick for the Lakers (36-16). Whether they’re prepared or not, this is the one game of the year that will either define them for the rest of the season or finally expose what exactly is troubling them against the teams that matter. Yes, they lost to the Boston Celtics (38-13) at Staples Center just last week, but this is the game that will test their mettle and the ultimate chance to prove that they haven’t lost that fire, that desire to win another title for the third season in a row.

Of course, Boston will not be so inclined to hand them a successful revenge game. Not in Beantown. But I don’t think the Lakers expect any less from the team that Kobe Bryant described as their toughest opponent by far because the Celtics know them in parts and as a whole. Then again, you can say the same thing about the Lakers knowing their long-time rivals by heart.

So in the end, this game could turn out to be who has the most grit when the final buzzer sounds.

One guy for the Lakers to really look out for is Ray Allen. Allen is looking to surpass Reggie Miller on the NBA’s all-time leaders in 3-pointers made needing only 4 to do so. What better way to get that record against the Lakers?

This is where the defensive attitude for the Lakers should start tonight. They have to hate the idea of Allen breaking Miler’s record on their watch or Ray will just end up doing whatever he wants out there on offense against anybody the Lakers put on him.

Interestingly enough, the Celtics are trying to prevent their 3rd straight loss at the TD Garden against the Lakers in the regular season. They’re tied with Chicago having the second-best home record in the NBA at 23-4. However, the Lakers are one of the elite teams on the road at 17-7 and have won their last 3 games away from L.A., including the first 2 of this 7-game road trip.

But this game isn’t about records. The Lakers need to win in order to send the Celtics a message that the championship still runs through Los Angeles at the end of the day while Boston wants to let them know that a three-peat is only a reality if they can prove that they can stop the Celtics from stealing the title in June.

This is it!

GO LAKERS!!!

TP&G Blog’s Matchup of the Game

Pau Gasol vs. Kevin Garnett: This is the matchup that could very well make or break the game for the Lakers. Will we see the “white swan” or the “black swan” out of Gasol tonight? All Laker fans are hoping it’s the latter.

Keys for the Lakers

1. Fire: Against Boston, the Lakers must bring a focus and intensity not seen from them the entire season. They’ll be hunting inside the lion’s den, so it’s a necessity to have a killer’s instinct or they’ll most likely not survive.
2. Defense: The Laker defense must be in tune and operating as a whole tonight. This is one area of their game that they cannot allow to falter or see Boston grow a bigger swag against the Lakers.
3. The Little Things: A lot of times in games like this, it’s the other details the Lakers do as a team and as individual players that will earn them a big win tonight. It’s the extra effort in rebounding, one-on-one defense, team defense, loose balls, boxing out and playing smart.

Game Info

Tip-off is at 5 p.m. (PST).  TV: TNT (national)  Radio: 710/1330 AM ESPN (Los Angeles)

Preview: Lakers vs. Celtics

Here it is Laker fans. The game we’ve all been waiting for since our defending champs defeated their then defending champs here in Beantown in an overtime thriller 110-109 back in Feb. 6, 2009 completing a season sweep of the Boston Celtics (29-15). It would have been sooner. But as we found out during last year’s playoffs, the luck of the Irish went south on them denying the Lakers (36-11) a chance for some sweet payback.

Sweeping the season series against Boston last season is nice, but it’s not the same as seeing them in defeat in an NBA Finals at the hands of the Lakers. But the way the Celtics are playing against the best teams in the league, that might never happen this year or the near future.


The Lakers are on their last two road games in this 8-game road swing that will conclude the following night in Memphis. With a somewhat entertaining win against the Sixers Friday night, the purple and gold are now 4-2 on this trip and have won 3 straight games. Meanwhile, the Celtics haven’t been doing good lately and have lost 6 of their last 10 games, including their last two. They are 13-7 at the TD Waterhouse Centre, but the Lakers are 13-8 on the road.

Boston is known for their bully-type defense, but they’ve been showing against the best teams in the league that they can be bullied to squander big leads in the second half without having much fight left in them to get them back for good. But the Lakers aren’t buying the wounded duck bit at all and are wisely expecting a Celtic team out in full force Sunday afternoon.

Kobe Bryant has another reason besides facing the Celtics to come out with guns blazin’. He only needs 47 points to tie Laker legend Jerry West as the 14th player to have the highest career points in NBA history. Breaking that milestone in front of thousands of Celtic fans is something to talk about, but Kobe cannot let anything personal get in the way of a team-oriented effort. He has to involve his teammates and force them if he has to.

This game is about planting something in the back of every Celtic player should these two teams do meet in the Finals this year. That something is a message that says: the Lakers will beat you anytime, anywhere.

Kevin Garnett is not the same KG two years ago. His injury has slowed him greatly. Even at the times they need him the most, Garnett has been mellow. He couldn’t even keep Rashard Lewis from going around him for a game-winning layup Thursday night.

That said, the Lakers cannot afford to overlook him. This game is their biggest game of the regular season also. So expect KG to give his all against Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.

But the matchup that will be key for both teams is that between Ron Artest and Paul Pierce. The swelling in Artest’s feet has been going down dramatically and has shown in the win against Philadelphia where he scored 18 points — the most since scoring 19 against Golden State back in Nov. 28. His recovery from his plantar fasciitis didn’t come at a better time because Pierce has been carrying Boston since KG’s absence.

Pierce is only averaging 19.1 points a game, but when allowed to score a bunch of points the rest of his teammates usually follow. So it’s mandatory that he is kept in check. But from what he’s been telling people, Ron is ready to “cause havoc” against Boston.

Andrew Bynum cannot have another 6-shots-for-6-points effort like he did against the Sixers. The Lakers will need his production at both ends. Sure Kendrick Perkins is a tough and strong defender, but I have yet to see a defender who can avoid foul trouble when guarding an aggressive player. Bynum has to demand the ball and use his size and length to take it to Perkins.

Gasol also has to come out with fire. The Celtics will test how tough he’s become by trying to push and shove him whenever he’s in the paint with or without the ball. He has to keep his composure and wits while staying aggressive on both baskets.

There are many factors that will contribute to beating Boston, but the biggest keys for the Lakers are maintain energy and focus on both offense and defense. The Celtics will force the Lakers to pass, shoot, or dribble when they don’t want to with gangbuster defense. They will try to break down the Laker defense with Rajon Rondo‘s quick penetration to set-up guys around the perimeter or for anyone left unattended under the rim. So it goes without saying that something must be done to contain Rondo.

It’s also important for the Lakers to slow down Boston’s perimeter game, especially the three-pointer. The Celtics love to scramble the defense by passing the ball around until someone is wide open for a three. So rotation on defense must be precise. Right now, Pierce is their most consistent low-post player, but that doesn’t mean they won’t put both Garnett and Rasheed Wallace in there to test that Laker interior defense.

There’s no doubt the rivalry is alive and well, even if for two more years at best. This game is the toughest and most anticipated game for either team. But as long as the Lakers don’t backdown at everything the Celtics throw at them while giving Boston some of their medicine, this game will be a victory for the Lakers.

Let Round 1 begin.

Tip-off is at 12:30. TV: KABC-7  Radio: 710/1330 AM ESPN

GO LAKERS!!! 

Preview: Lakers vs. Celtics

Here it is Laker fans. The game we’ve all been waiting for since our defending champs defeated their then defending champs here in Beantown in an overtime thriller 110-109 back in Feb. 6, 2009 completing a season sweep of the Boston Celtics (29-15). It would have been sooner. But as we found out during last year’s playoffs, the luck of the Irish went south on them denying the Lakers (36-11) a chance for some sweet payback.

Sweeping the season series against Boston last season is nice, but it’s not the same as seeing them in defeat in an NBA Finals at the hands of the Lakers. But the way the Celtics are playing against the best teams in the league, that might never happen this year or the near future.


The Lakers are on their last two road games in this 8-game road swing that will conclude the following night in Memphis. With a somewhat entertaining win against the Sixers Friday night, the purple and gold are now 4-2 on this trip and have won 3 straight games. Meanwhile, the Celtics haven’t been doing good lately and have lost 6 of their last 10 games, including their last two. They are 13-7 at the TD Waterhouse Centre, but the Lakers are 13-8 on the road.

Boston is known for their bully-type defense, but they’ve been showing against the best teams in the league that they can be bullied to squander big leads in the second half without having much fight left in them to get them back for good. But the Lakers aren’t buying the wounded duck bit at all and are wisely expecting a Celtic team out in full force Sunday afternoon.

Kobe Bryant has another reason besides facing the Celtics to come out with guns blazin’. He only needs 47 points to tie Laker legend Jerry West as the 14th player to have the highest career points in NBA history. Breaking that milestone in front of thousands of Celtic fans is something to talk about, but Kobe cannot let anything personal get in the way of a team-oriented effort. He has to involve his teammates and force them if he has to.

This game is about planting something in the back of every Celtic player should these two teams do meet in the Finals this year. That something is a message that says: the Lakers will beat you anytime, anywhere.

Kevin Garnett is not the same KG two years ago. His injury has slowed him greatly. Even at the times they need him the most, Garnett has been mellow. He couldn’t even keep Rashard Lewis from going around him for a game-winning layup Thursday night.

That said, the Lakers cannot afford to overlook him. This game is their biggest game of the regular season also. So expect KG to give his all against Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.

But the matchup that will be key for both teams is that between Ron Artest and Paul Pierce. The swelling in Artest’s feet has been going down dramatically and has shown in the win against Philadelphia where he scored 18 points — the most since scoring 19 against Golden State back in Nov. 28. His recovery from his plantar fasciitis didn’t come at a better time because Pierce has been carrying Boston since KG’s absence.

Pierce is only averaging 19.1 points a game, but when allowed to score a bunch of points the rest of his teammates usually follow. So it’s mandatory that he is kept in check. But from what he’s been telling people, Ron is ready to “cause havoc” against Boston.

Andrew Bynum cannot have another 6-shots-for-6-points effort like he did against the Sixers. The Lakers will need his production at both ends. Sure Kendrick Perkins is a tough and strong defender, but I have yet to see a defender who can avoid foul trouble when guarding an aggressive player. Bynum has to demand the ball and use his size and length to take it to Perkins.

Gasol also has to come out with fire. The Celtics will test how tough he’s become by trying to push and shove him whenever he’s in the paint with or without the ball. He has to keep his composure and wits while staying aggressive on both baskets.

There are many factors that will contribute to beating Boston, but the biggest keys for the Lakers are maintain energy and focus on both offense and defense. The Celtics will force the Lakers to pass, shoot, or dribble when they don’t want to with gangbuster defense. They will try to break down the Laker defense with Rajon Rondo‘s quick penetration to set-up guys around the perimeter or for anyone left unattended under the rim. So it goes without saying that something must be done to contain Rondo.

It’s also important for the Lakers to slow down Boston’s perimeter game, especially the three-pointer. The Celtics love to scramble the defense by passing the ball around until someone is wide open for a three. So rotation on defense must be precise. Right now, Pierce is their most consistent low-post player, but that doesn’t mean they won’t put both Garnett and Rasheed Wallace in there to test that Laker interior defense.

There’s no doubt the rivalry is alive and well, even if for two more years at best. This game is the toughest and most anticipated game for either team. But as long as the Lakers don’t backdown at everything the Celtics throw at them while giving Boston some of their medicine, this game will be a victory for the Lakers.

Let Round 1 begin.

Tip-off is at 12:30. TV: KABC-7  Radio: 710/1330 AM ESPN

GO LAKERS!!! 

Quantcast