Tonight the C’s take on their west coast rivals The Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams are experiencing challenges and facing adversity as multiple stars will be missing from tonight’s game. Both team’s seasons are riding parallels of positives and negatives although lately one would have to say that the Celtic’s have fared better without their key players in the line up. The Celtic’s are hot as can be on a 5 game win streak now tied for the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference. At this point for the Lakers, every game is important as they are still 3 games out of an 8th seed in the raging Western Conference.
The Celtic’s have been seeing big contributions come from all areas of the line up recently. Last night the bench only had 24 points but the starters were all able to finish in double figures as Kevin Garnett lead the charge with 27 points and 10 boards, Leandro Barbosa also single handily put the C’s on his back for the 4th quarter chipping in 12 big points.
Here are some keys to tonight’s game:
Contain Kobe: This should go without saying. The Black Mamba is still in his prime as a shooter and ranks among the top 5 in scoring this year. His assists have gone up but he will still come out looking for his shot. Expect Kobe to be in classic mode tonight.
Don’t let Nash be Nash: The Celtic’s guards should do their best to contain Nash…who turns 39 years old today. His numbers may be down but he’s still got the vision and the prowess to lead his team when needed.
Live in the paint: The Lakers are without Pau Gasol and most likely Dwight Howard tonight, this gives KG an advantage right off the bat. While Antawn Jameson’s minutes will sky rocket, the Lakers are incredibly thin up front and overall the teeth of their defense is in shambles. Expect to see Lee and Bradley and Barbosa with some great drives to the cup tonight.
Keep up the D: The Celtics are now presenting an elite defense to combat their anemic offense without Rajon Rondo. It seems as if the C’s have settled in defensively and that can only be a good thing as they are nearing the bottom of the league in offensive efficiency.
Overall this will be a different meeting than expected. Lots of stars will be missing, but the anticipation and rivalry rich ambience should still be there. I expect this game could be easier than expected if the C’s come out with energy.
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