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Paul Pierce: Lakers-Celtics Rivalry 'Back On' with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, right, tries to get past Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 102-99. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Former Boston Celtics superstar Paul Pierce believes the long-running rivalry between the Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers is set to take center stage in the NBA once again.

When asked about the rivalry by TMZ Sports on Saturday, Pierce said: "It's on. It's on. The Laker rivalry is back. For sure. It's official."

Pierce noted that with LeBron James' decision to sign with the Lakers, he can take on Kobe Bryant's role.

Meanwhile, LeBron's biggest foil in Boston will be guard Kyrie Irving, who was James' teammate with the Cleveland Cavaliers for three seasons before requesting a trade in 2017.

LeBron and Kyrie reached three NBA Finals together and won the first championship in Cavs history, which adds another layer to what is already arguably the greatest rivalry in NBA history.

When it comes to the rivalry, Pierce said: "Expect a good show this year."

Between the regular season and playoffs, the Celtics and Lakers have met a total of 361 times, with Boston holding the edge at 201-160.

They have also faced each other in the NBA Finals a record 12 times. The Celtics are 9-3, but L.A. has won three of the past four times they have met in the Finals.

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Boston is favored to reach the NBA Finals out of the Eastern Conference this season thanks to a stacked roster that includes Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Terry Rozier.

The Lakers haven't made the playoffs since 2012-13, but they have a reshaped roster led by LeBron.

Reaching the Finals in 2018-19 could be a tall order given the presence of the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets in the Western Conference, but for the first time in several years, a Celtics vs. Lakers Finals looks like a possibility.

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