Few teams harbor hatred for each other as much as the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers do.
That hatred makes for great basketball even if you are not a fan of either team. Another epic battle was added to their rivalry’s rich history of classics in Sunday’s 97-94 victory by the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 26 points including 10 in the final quarter but the masked mamba was not the only key to the Lakers victory.
Andrew Bynum lived up to his pre-game trash talk dominating the paint with 20 points and 14 rebounds including a game sealing layup in the post over Kevin Garnett. It was Bynum who added a bit of spark to the teams’ already tense relationship when he said “Yo, we going at the Celtics’ rack. At they head..Because we don’t like them boys.” a few days before the teams took the court on Sunday.
Indeed Bynum and Pau Gasol (13 points and 13 rebounds) were at the Celtics rack all game as the Lakers scored 42 points in the paint.
Rajon Rondo racked up 24 points and 10 assists to lead the Celtics followed by Ray Allen with 17 points. All of the Celtics starters reached double digits in scoring although Pierce struggled shooting just 4-14.
Boston overcame an early 15 point deficit and led by as many as 5 twice in the second half.
Metta World Peace was possessed by the ghost of Ron Artest in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals and kept the Lakers in this game in an eerily similar fashion to that same game.
Artest err, World Peace scored 10 of his 14 points in the third quarter which kept the Celtics from extending their lead to beyond 5 in the period. The mamba was pleased with World Peace’s effort, which is always a good barometer on determining the Lakers forecast.
In the end it was the lack of rebounding, healthy bodies and bench play that ultimately did team green in.
The Celtics were out rebounded 42-34 and got just 9 points from the skeleton bench Doc Rivers had at his disposal. There were also some questionable play calls and decisions that could have turned this game in favor of Boston. Allen settled for a tough lean in jumper on the smaller Derek Fisher late in the fourth. Brandon Bass missed a wide open jumper that would have given the Celtics the lead late as well, but why is a play being drawn up for Bass in crunch time?
With all of that Boston still had a chance and ultimately failed giving the Lakers their 3rd straight win over the Celtics. The bite of this rivalry was losing some of its venom with the two franchises aging and heading towards certain transition.
That was until today.
Although this was probably the last time the two teams will meet before the drastic winds of change sweep through their rosters like tornadoes, this rivalry and hatred runs too deep.
For Boston “Beat LA” is embedded into their DNA. It is everlasting.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened in a while.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com