It seems that there is no more compelling match up in the NBA this season than the rematch between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.
The Christmas day battle of the best in the West against the best in the East was epic to say the least. The Lakers came out victorious as it was obvious that having Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol together in the middle was a big factor that the Lakers were missing in the NBA finals last season.
With Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum all playing perhaps the best basketball in the NBA the sky was the limit for the Lakers, but after Bynum went down with yet another serious knee injury against the Memphis Grizzles, ironically just a little over a year since his last injury against the same team, the Lakers will be exposed in the paint for the first time this season.
The Boston Celtics have been great this season, almost mirrors images of their championship team, minus sharp shooter James Posey who joined the New Orleans Hornets. They were so good to start the season that people were talking about a 70 win season and the 08-09 Celtics challenging the 95-96 Chicago Bulls for the best record in NBA history (72-10).
Well, it all looked very possible until the Celtics met up with a motivated and improved Los Angeles Lakers squad on Christmas. After the disappointing loss to the Lakers the Celtics headed into somewhat of a downward spiral suffering their first real losing streak of the past two seasons.
Of course, a team as talented as the Boston Celtics doesn’t stay down for long as they got back to their winning ways and regained their repeat title hopes.
Although the Lakers learned that they will be without Andrew Bynum once again for about two to possibly three months, Kobe Bryant and company put on an absolute show in New York on February 2nd with both Pau Gasol and Kobe lighting up the scoreboards for a historic night in Madison Square Garden.
Kobe scored record 61 points in Madison Square Garden Monday night becoming setting the record for most points scored in the famous arena. Michael Jordan held the opponent scoring record with his famous double nickel (55 points) back in 1995, but Kobe surpassed that with plenty of time left in the Fourth quarter which he used to pass another basketball great in Willis Reed who scored a career high 60 points at the Garden.
Pau Gasol also got in on the action putting up 31 points of his own and grabbing 14 boards in the process.
Even though that is a very impressive record for Kobe, it was still against the New York Knicks. The Celtics are a different story. This will be yet another statement Game between these two teams that seem headed back to another collision course in the NBA finals.
Andrew Bynum may not be playing, but Kevin Garnett will not be at a 100% as he will be coming off of being sick. The Lakers need this victory, not for another W, but to send a message to the rest of the league and the Celtics that they are just as good without Bynum.
The Celtics should be favored by 4-6 points according to Our numbers, but the Lakers will be looking show they are no lesser team without their talented center. I take the Lakers to win this one!