The rivalry continues - Beat LA!!

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The same Celtics team that we saw on Wednesday will continue the storied rivalry with the Lakers as their west coast trip continues.

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Boston Celtics (19-36) at Los Angeles Lakers ((18-36)
Regular Season Game #54 Road Game #25
Friday, February 21, 2014
10:30 PM ET
TV: ESPN, TWC SN, CSNNE, Sportsnet One
Radio: WBZ, KSPN
Staples Center
Referees: Ken Mauer, Curtis Blair, Courtney Kirkland

Game Thread l Chat

The same old Celtics visit shorthanded LA Lakers as they continue their west coast trip. Unlike the Celtics, the Lakers made a deadline trade sending Steve Blake to the Warriors for former Celtic MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore. It's not sure if the new players will be in uniform and ready to play. I would guess that since Blake played last night for the Warriors, both Brooks and Bazemore will be in uniform and play tonight.

The Celtics have lost their last 2 games and 6 of their last 10 games. They are 8-19 on the road. The Lakers aren't much better at home with an 8 and 17 record at the Staples Center. They have lost their last 4 games and 8 of their last 10.

In the first meeting between these two teams, the Lakers came into the Garden short handed and still were able to end a 6 game losing streak and hand the Celtics a 107-104 loss on their home court. That game marked the return of Rajon Rondo to the Celtics after being out nearly a year.

The Celtics are still short handed with Kobe, Henry, Nash and Young out and two new players who may or may not be ready to play in this game. If Brooks can play, watch out for the spurned player syndrome and hopefully he won't go off for a career high. The Celtics made no changes at the deadline but will still be without both Vitor Faverani and Avery Bradley, who didn't make the trip. Having the trade deadline in their rear view mirrors should allow them all to once again focus on basketball and not the possibility of being traded.


Of all the rivalries in the NBA, the Celtics - Lakers rivalry is one of the best. Both teams may be in a rebuilding phase, but there is no less animosity between the two franchises. Rebuilding or not, when the Celtics play the Lakers, it's must win. Beat LA. Enough said.

Probable Starters
Point Guard: Rajon Rondo ---------------- Shooting Guard: Gerald Wallace

Center: Jared Sullinger

Small Forward: Jeff Green ------------------ Power Forward: Brandon Bass


Celtics Reserves

Kelly Olynyk
Jerryd Bayless
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Kris Humphries
Phil Pressey

Injuries
Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Avery Bradley (ankle) out


Probable Starters
Point Guard: Kendall Marshall -------------------- Shooting Guard: Jodie Meeks

Center: Chris Kaman

Small Forward: Wesley Johnson -------------------- Power Forward: Ryan Kelly


Lakers Reserves
Jordan Hill
Robert Sacre
Jordan Farmar
MarShon Brooks
Kent Bazemore

Injuries
Kobe Bryant (knee) out
Xavier Henry (knee) out
Nick Young (knee) out
Steve Nash (back) out
Pau Gasol (groin) probable

Key Matchups
vs
Rajon Rondo vs Kendall Marshall
Marshall has been playing well for the Lakers, averaging 10.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 9.8 assists. In their first meeting, Marshall scored 25 points to lead the Lakers to the win. That was Rondo's first game back. Now that he's gotten a few games under his belt, look for Rondo to try to get even in this game.

vs
Gerald Wallace vs Jodie Meeks
Meeks is averaging 14.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists for the Lakers this season. He scored 17 when these teams last met.

Honorable Mention

Jared Sullinger vs Kaman/Gasol
Pau Gasol is listed as probable. The game notes have Chris Kaman starting at center, but if Gasol can go, I expect him to be the starting center. That will be a tough matchup for the Celtics if he can play. If Kaman starts, it will still be a key matchup for the Celtics.

Keys to the Game
Push the Tempo
- The Celtics have had success when they push the ball up the court quickly before the defense can get set. With the Lakers being short handed, it will be even more important to run and push the tempo.

Rebound - Rebounding takes effort and desire. When the Celtics show both on the boards, it usually transfers to the rest of their game as well. The Celtics have to make an extra effort to win the rebounding battle. In their first meeting, the Celtics were out-rebounded 38-29.

Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to be aggressive in going to the basket, in diving for loose balls, and on defense. They have to be the team that wants it more.

Focus for 48 Minutes
- The Celtics still struggle with lapses in games. They have to keep their focus for all 48 minutes and figure out how to avoid those lapses. This is tougher on the road and will take extra effort to keep their focus on the game.

X-Factors
On the Road and Revenge
It's tougher for teams to focus on the road but the Celtics have to somehow shut out the distractions and keep their focus on the game. The Celtics were beat on their home court by a short handed Lakers team and they need to remember that and use that to give them added motivation to return the favor.

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