Is there a better rivalry in all of sports than Celtics vs. Lakers? And, who would win a seven game series if the best Celtics were matched up against the very best Lakers?
Since its inception in 1946, the NBA has had 64 championships. More than half (33) have been won by either the Lakers or Celtics (16 and 17 respectively).
Such sheer dominance by two teams just does not exist in any other professional sport in this country. The New York Yankees, with 27 World Championships, and hockey's Montreal Canadians, with 24, surely have dominated their respective sports and have had great rivalries (Brooklyn Dodgers and Toronto Maple Leafs come to mind) but none of the magnitude of Lakers - Celtics.
There’s no love lost between these two powerhouse franchises. The last time they met, in June of last year, the Lakers beat the Celtics in Game 7 after being down by as many as 13 points late in the third quarter. This Sunday, they’ll get to renew their battle at Staples Center when the defending champion Lakers host Boston in the first of two regular season match ups.
Celtics loyalists will argue that their beloved teams of the late 50's and early 60's, which won a remarkable 11 of 13 NBA crowns under the leadership of Bill Russell, marked their franchise as the sport’s greatest of all time. That may be true, but taken in context over the course of the NBA's history, the question of which franchise has the superior team remains a tossup and is fodder for ongoing heated debate.
Los Angeles first dominated as the Minneapolis Lakers of the 1950s under George Miken who helped revolutionize the game. The Lakers showed their superiority in 1971-72 when they won a then league record 69 games and bulldozed their way to the title under Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Gail Goodrich. Then came "Showtime" in the 1980s and more recently a three-peat and a two-peat under the watchful eye of Uber Coach Phil Jackson.
Boston has dominated Los Angeles when the two have met in the Finals. They've played for the world championship 12 times, with the Celtics winning nine of those titles.
Yet, after going zero for eight from 1959 to 1984, the Lakers have beaten Boston in three of their last four meetings and are just one back of the Celtics for most championships.
If you had your pick of the 30 most celebrated Lakers and Celtics of all time, which fantasy franchise would you choose and who would win in an epic, historic fantasy showdown series? And, in Game 7, with it all on the line and seconds ticking down, who would you want taking the final shot?
Let's examine the 15 players from each team and see who prevails in a Fantasy Series Showdown between the Lakers and Celtics.