NBA

Are LA Lakers or Boston Celtics Better Equipped to Survive Injuries?

BOSTON - JUNE 10:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers disruptes a shot attempt by Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celltics during Game Four of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 10, 2010 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2013

Injuries have decimated the NBA this year, but it seems that no team has felt the pain of injuries more so than the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers.

When one wave of injured players heals, it always seems as if there's a new wave right around the corner that's ready to go down.

Just looking at each team's injury timeline, we can see how sparingly either one has played with a completely healthy team.

Boston started out the season without Avery Bradley, eagerly anticipated his return and looked like it was ready to turn a corner when he came back. The Celtics got to play all of 12 games together before Rajon Rondo hit the deck with a torn ACL.

Two games later, Jared Sullinger played just four minutes against the Sacramento Kings and was told soon after that he would need season-ending back surgery.

The Lakers, meanwhile, played all of one game and one quarter together before Steve Nash broke his leg. Five games later, Steve Blake left their game against the Kings (they seem to be a bad-luck team) and would require abdominal surgery.

Fast-forward 10 games, and Pau Gasol dropped out of the lineup with tendinitis in both knees, causing him to miss the next eight games

Los Angeles would go on to lose Jordan Hill for the season, Gasol for another few games, Dwight Howard here and there and now Gasol for the next couple of months (per Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney of SI.com).

Yowza.

As for which team is built better to withstand this recent rash of injuries, it has to be the Celtics, based solely on their continuity at the top of their roster and style of play.

They may have a few new people in the lineup playing important offensive roles, but it's still Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett carrying the load, and that's really a solid foundation of leadership for the other guys to step in line with.

What makes them more set up to deal with these injuries is the fact that they rely on slowing games down, making them as ugly as possible and doing their best to out-defense their opponents.

While it does take a lot of intelligence to run that style of game, it's a lot easier to do when you know the system, compared to running a brand-new, high-powered offense that relies on a ton of shots falling like the Lakers do.

Los Angeles is not just going to have to rely on the camaraderie of Kobe Bryant, Nash and Howard, three guys who have only played about two dozen games alongside one another, but they have to do it all under Mike D'Antoni, a coach they've known for barely three months.

For the Celtics, it's all about falling back on their old habits of slowing games down, while the Lakers are still in the process of putting their puzzle pieces together, including the likes of Earl Clark and Robert Sacre, who suddenly become much more important to the Lakers thanks to Gasol's latest injury.

The Celtics haven't had as much experience replacing guys as the Lakers have (even though they've barely played with a fully healthy squad themselves), but they've got a much more viable game plan to fall back on.

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