7:30 PM ET
TD BankNorth Garden
That, my friends, will not be happening this year. The Celtics can now give their fans something to cheer about, and the 9-1 Celtics are ready to begin a new winning streak. After hosting the Golden State Warriors as another victim of a 20+-point blowout on Wednesday night, they are ready to take on their arch rivals. Led by perhaps the most dynamic individual athlete in the entire world, Kobe Bryant has gotten his club off to a respectable start to the 2007-2008 season as well. All drama and trade talk aside, the Lakers don’t look too shabby. At 7-4, there is more to talk about than just Kobe Bryant in LA, now. Third year center Andrew Bynum has come on particularly strong to begin the season, averaging a double-double (11.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game) and beginning to finally show some of that potential All-Star talent that the organization believes he has. Starting for the Lakers for the past two games, Bynum has held averages of 16.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game in just 28.0 minutes per contest. Dare I say it, those numbers are extremely reminiscent of our old friend Al Jefferson, who also broke out in his third year.
On paper, the Celtics are clearly superior to the Lakers, but there is only a small handful of players in the NBA that can single-handedly take out an elite team – and Kobe Bryant is surely one of them. We’ve seen him pull it off on numerous accounts throughout his 11-year career, and he is more than capable of turning tonight into "the Kobe Show." At the same time, Phil Jackson will have more than just his hands full with three Hall-of-Fame talents on the opposing end, as well.
Do you want excitement? Do you want star power? Do you want pandemonium? If so, you better make sure you tune in tonight. It’s going to be quite a show.
C Andrew Bynum / Kendrick Perkins
PF Lamar Odom / Kevin Garnett
SF Vladimir Radmanovic / Paul Pierce
SG Kobe Bryant / Ray Allen
PG Derek Fisher / Rajon Rondo
Key Matchup: Kobe Bryant vs. Ray Allen
We know about the tremendous level of talent each of these perennial All-Stars possess, but there’s also some emotional history between the two. They’ve each publicly said some relatively snide comments about one another, they’ve gotten a little physical on the court, they’ve certainly gotten chippy, and they’ve also lit it up offensively against each other on numerous accounts. They may not say it publicly, but don’t think for a second that either one of them isn’t looking forward to pounding the other tonight.
Celtics X-Factor: James Posey
"Big Game James" is going to have to come off the bench and give this team a big lift defensively. Yes, that is the reason Posey is on this team in the first place, but it’s going to take more than one defender to slow Kobe Bryant down. Posey is undoubtedly this team’s best wing defender, and one of the better wing defenders in the entire league. Nobody is asking Posey to stop Kobe, because by now we all know that particular task is humanly impossible, but there’s no doubt that Posey’s size and length can disrupt him.
LAL – Kwame Brown (sprained left knee)
Celtics Keys to the Game
- Slow Down Kobe, Somehow
- Limit Turnovers
- Consistent Ball Movement
- Win the Rebounding Column
- Don’t Settle – Take It to the Basket