Many eyes will be watching game 52 of the NBA season tonight as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics renew their storied rivalry.
After the Lakers beat the C’s in last year NBA Finals, Boston stormed into Los Angeles two weeks ago to slap the Lakers around, beating them by 13
Now as the Lakers head east to visit Boston at TD Garden, there is only one big question mark remaining: Who comes out on top in the rematch?
The last time Boston and Los Angeles faced off, the Celtics looked like the best team in the NBA, but since then, both rosters have changed due to the inevitable injury bug.
Without valuable reserve Marquis Daniels coming off the bench, Doc Rivers needs to have a set plan when he subs in for Paul Pierce.
Daniels was the most qualified backup for Pierce, who was sidelined during practice on Wednesday, but being a tough athlete Pierce will tough it out to be on the court.
Due to a sore Achilles, Shaq will be sidelined for his fourth straight game and reserve center Semih Erdin won’t be available leaving the big-man duty up to Kendrick Perkins.
The Lakers have their own heath issues to deal with.
Kobe Bryant is still receiving treatment on his aggravated ankle, but it won't be enough to keep him out of the starting lineup.
While center Andrew Bynum is still wearing a protective knee sleeve after suffering a bone bruise during the Lakers last matchup against Boston.
Injury issues plague every team and its up to the coaching staff to set their team up to win even without vital parts of the lineup. Doc and Phil Jackson have plenty of experience to overcome these matters and it wont be a problem for either coach to put a productive product on the court.
While Reggie Miller broadcasts the game tonight on TNT, he will be in the house to watch Ray Allen breaks his NBA record for most made three-pointers.
Allen only needs two more threes to break the record and if he can’t hit the two, who cares about the record because the Celtics will be in some serious trouble.
Allen has been consistently consistent throughout his entire career so it’s no far cry to say that he will reach the plateau tonight against rival LA.
On Allen’s consistency and teamwork, Coach Rivers had to say, “Just trust it. To the other guys we have to make sure they understand that when Ray is open, get him the ball. It’s no coincidence that he’s the most efficient that he’s ever been in his life and it’s because of that trust.”
This is the time for Ray Allen to go from great to greatest and it should feel more special that he gets to do it during such a hyped game.
People question whether or not Kobe puts too much of the scoring load on himself. My answer to that: if he’s scoring, who cares?
Bryant will be out for revenge after the recent 13-point loss is still fresh in his mind and expect him to pop off like Kobe Bryant does.
Once Kobe gets going, as do the Lakers and the best closer in the game will keep this game close as he gets all his teammates involved and wreaks havoc on the Celtics front court.
Rajon Rondo has been on a roll ever since defeating the Lakers in LA a week ago. His assists are up, he’s taking more shots and because of that he’s getting to the line more.
The Rondo on Bryant matchup will be the real moneymaker during tonight’s game as Kobe has always been a problem for Rondo to distribute the ball like he wants’ to, but when the Lakers take Kobe out or move him to small forward, that’ll be when Rondo will get his best looks.
With Steve Blake or Derek Fisher matched up on Rondo, the Celtics will be a completely different team much like what we saw during the second half of the last contest.
Rondo will need to assume a larger roll on the Celtics offense as injuries have eroded some of their depth, but we can always count of Rajon to come out aggressive and command the game form the start.
Who will come out on top in the rematch?
It’s tough to predict the future. However, Kobe’s fire and determination to right the wrongs of the previous meeting between these two teams should overpower Ray Allen’s chase of history and Rondo’s aggressive mind frame.
Bryant will have his likely crew to back him up who also believe now is the time for revenge, so expect a great game in Boston tonight.
Winner: Los Angeles Lakers