It may long be past the days of Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson, but it is still a big rivalry nonetheless. The Celtics and the Lakers square off tonight at the T.D. Garden at 8:00 pm EST.
With that being said, let’s take a look at a few key factors going into the game.
The Celtics Are Playing Their Best Basketball Right Now
The Celtics are riding in hot coming into tonight’s tilt with the Lakers. They are on a five game winning streak and have won 10 of their last 11, their one loss being a four point defeat against the Warriors. They won an important game the other night in Cleveland, without the likes of Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris, or Aron Baynes.
The only thing going against them coming into the game tonight is that Aron Baynes is still out with a left foot contusion and Robert Williams is questionable with lower back soreness.
The Celtics could struggle a little bit on the boards with their big men having some aches and pains. Look for Al Horford to be big in this one, literally, as he will have to be the main big man looked upon to clean up on the offensive and defensive glass.
How Effective Will LeBron James Be Tonight?
LeBron James returns to the T.D. Garden for the first time since beating the Celtics on their own home floor in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals last season. He has been sidelined more often this year than in year’s past with what the Lakers call “load management”. They don’t want to overdo it with LeBron in case they need him more than ever for a potential playoff run. But then again, he did suffer the worst loss of his entire career the other night against the Indiana Pacers, so he might be more motivated to never let that happen again.
Anytime LeBron goes up against the Celtics, you know it is going to be special.
What Will Happen with the Lakers at the Trade Deadline?
The Lakers have been at the forefront of trade rumors leading up to the trade deadline, which will conclude at 3:00 pm EST today. The chances of landing a guy like Anthony Davis do not seem to be very likely before the deadline today.
The Lakers could have a lot of moving parts today before the game, which will lead to them being out of sync. They acquired Reggie Bullock yesterday, but he will be unavailable for the game tonight.
The bottom line is that this game should easily go to the Celtics. The Lakers are focused on other things at the moment and the Celtics are playing extremely well. Oh and also one last little thing to keep in mind:
Boston teams have had a lot of recent success against L.A. teams. So the Celtics know it’s their turn to beat L.A. and keep the momentum going toward a higher seed in the Eastern Conference.
-Alan Nahigian (BigAl2793)
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