This season is about survival, it's about simply managing to get through this brutal, compact season, avoid long-term injuries and make it into the dance, so to speak. Once that happens, the game changes. The pace slows down, where the Celtics are more comfortable. The Lakers' length and size become dramatically different in terms of impact. Kobe Bryant's efficiency becomes less important because all efficiency is impacted by the style of play. Pau Gasol's versatility becomes an asset. The Celtics' savvy in drawing and avoiding fouls frustrates teams. Does that mean that either will be representing their conference in the Finals? Not necessarily. But it does mean that dealing with them will not be easy. The Heat may have dismissed the Celtics last season, but there's no reason to think the Celtics can't turn a few more opportunities into wins. The Lakers were trounced by a Mavs team that no longer exists. In fact, the Lakers could very well be a different team in a matter of weeks.
Stranger things have happened - especially in an odd year. Both teams looked tired and off the mark last night, so it is kind of hard to picture right now.
In fact, Adrian Wojnarowski disagrees. He thinks both eras are over.
They were dancing the dance one more time Thursday night, and deep down they all know this generation’s rivalry is coming to a close. The Lakers escaped 88-87 and Bryant, Gasol and Andrew Bynum had the big blocks, big baskets and big boards to beat Boston. All over again, Lakers-Celtics has been compelling theater, a link to the league’s yesteryear and it won’t be long until these games have little ramification on the NBA again. When Bryant comes back to Boston next season, Garnett and Allen likely won’t be here. When Bryant comes back to Boston, Gasol probably won’t be with him. Change is coming, because these teams are no longer constructed, constituted, for the championship chase.