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There are a multitude of reasons that make this rivalry one of the most compelling in sports.
The Boston Celtics and the L.A. Lakers have been bitter rivals for decades. The most recent rendition of this tried-and-true story of competitive disdain rears its head in various regular-season match-ups and two Finals appearances in recent years.
Splitting the two Finals the teams have competed in with each other within the past few years, the Lakers and Celtics' rosters are both composed of proud veterans who play basketball with the same aggression and pride as their '80s and '90s counterparts.
Despite losing Ray Allen this season, the Celtics' trio of superstars in Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo have had many memorable match-ups against Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the rest of the Lakers squad.
However, the 2010 finals may have been tainted slightly, as Kendrick Perkins sat out Game 7. Although injuries are never used as an excuse by most teams, there is a prevalent belief that the Celtics may have won that series if Perkins had remained healthy.
This notion does not sit well with the Lakers, and though there hasn't been a chance for the teams to make a definitive statement against one another following those two Finals, they are both trying to claw their way back to the NBA Finals before the sea of talent and youth in the league finally overtake them.
With both squads remaining at the upper end of both of their respective conferences despite the age of their key starters, the teams now share many similarities that make the match-up even more compelling.
The win-now mentality they both possess due to their aging cores will ensure that intensity and effort will be prevalent in the majority of their games.
Furthermore, there are very few teams that can match the mental toughness that the veterans of both squads possess.
Another similarity is the fact that both teams are trying to speed up the tempo of the game. Though the Lakers are doing so under Mike D'Antoni, the Celtics are doing so for the same reason the San Antonio Spurs are.
The Spurs and the Celtics wish to conserve the minutes of their aging stars, and pushing the break will enable more easy baskets while reducing the time players like Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett have to spend banging in the post.
Couple those similarities in terms of mental toughness and fortitude with the fact that the two teams care very little for each other, and the rivalry will continue to live on in dramatic fashion.