Friday’s tilt between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics will undoubtedly be the most mediocre game in the history of their great rivalry. Less than four years ago, both of these franchises represented their respective conferences in the NBA Finals where the Lakers prevailed in seven epic games. Since then, age, injuries and trades have completely turned this match-up upside down. The only players remaining from the 2010 Finals who will be on the court are Pau Gasol and Rajon Rondo, both albeit by miraculously surviving numerous trade rumors through the past few years.
The utmost intriguing aspect of this game will be the Draft Lottery implications as L.A. and Boston both have 36 losses on the season. Realistically, it’s in the best interest of these franchises’ futures to go ahead and lose this one. What’s worse, losing a game against your historical rival with a cast of misfits or having to select behind them in the draft where you potentially lose out on a superstar? Logic should win out, and if you are a Laker fan, losing actually is winning and winning is losing.
Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks should make their debuts on Friday night which will surely add some appeal to this one as both will have the opportunity to showcase their skills in Mike D’Antoni‘s wide open system. Gasol is expected to be back in the lineup as well, so we will get to see how he looks post-deadline. I expect him to play very well as time off in the past has resulted in vintage games for “The Spaniard.”
Chris Kaman may end up being the odd man out again after that horrific performance on Wednesday night against Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets where Kaman clearly looked like he was cemented into the ground. He moped around the court like a man who was not ready to play basketball after the long All-Star weekend.
This won’t be the prettiest game in the history of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry, yet it may end up being an entertaining one in the final minutes — just like their previous match-up this year in Boston. Who knows, we might even see the birth of a Laker fan favorite in Bazemore or Brooks.