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Celtics vs Lakers - The Rematch

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Los Angeles Lakers (39-9) at Boston Celtics (41-9)
Thursday, February 5
8:00 PM ET
Game #51, Home Game #27
TV: TNT
TD Banknorth Garden

Game Thread l Chat

The most anticipated game of the season is finally here as the LA Lakers visit the Celtics in a rematch of the NBA Finals as well as the Celtics' Christmas day defeat that started their 2-7 slide before their current 12 game winning streak. The Lakers have won 4 in a row on their current road trip coming into this game.

The Celtics had the day off on Wednesday while the Lakers played in Toronto on Wednesday night, pulling off a 115-107 win. The Lakers are 9-2 so far this season in the second of back to back games. With Gasol playing 44 minutes and Kobe playing 37, fatigue could come into play in a close game.

The Celtics and Lakers have met 178 times since the Lakers moved to LA in 1960. The Celtics lead the Lakers in wins since then 97-81. The Lakers have plenty of excuses ready for if they lose since Bynum is out once again and they are on the road and playing in back to back games. The Celtics aren't in the best of health with several battling flu like symptoms but they are hoping to have KG back and even if he isn't in top form he will give the team a boost.

The Celtics are 24-2 at home while the Lakers are 15-5 on the road. The Lakers are 13-6 vs Eastern Conference teams while the Celtics are 12-5 against the West. Hopefully the Celtics will come out playing team ball as well as the type of defense that has made them so tough to beat all season, neither of which they did in LA.

Probable Starting Matchups
vs
Rajon Rondo PPG 11.0 RPG 5.00 APG 8.1 EFF + 18.35
Derek Fisher PPG 10.8 RPG 2.60 APG 3.8 EFF + 11.94

vs
Ray Allen PPG 18.0 RPG 3.40 APG 2.8 EFF + 17.00
Kobe Bryant PPG 27.4 RPG 5.50 APG 5.1 EFF + 25.19

vs
Paul Pierce PPG 19.2 RPG 5.70 APG 3.8 EFF + 18.92
Luke Walton PPG 4.2 RPG 2.00 APG 2.0 EFF + 5.40

vs
Kevin Garnett PPG 16.3 RPG 9.00 APG 2.7 EFF + 21.94
Lamar Odom PPG 9.4 RPG 6.40 APG 2.4 EFF + 13.52

vs
Kendrick Perkins PPG 8.3 RPG 8.00 APG 1.1 EFF + 13.88
Pau Gasol PPG 17.8 RPG 9.10 APG 3.4 EFF + 23.17

Boston CelticsInjuries:
Brian Scalabrine (concussion) day to day
Kevin Garnett (flu) day to day
Ray Allen (flu) probable
Tony Allen (flu) probable

Los Angeles LakersInjuries
Andrew Bynum (MCL) out

Key Matchups
vs
Rajon Rondo vs Derek Fisher
When Rondo is aggressive and runs the ball up the floor and take it at the opposing point guard, he is very tough to stop.

vs
Paul Pierce vs Luke Walton
This matchup should be one that Boston can exploit. Walton can't stop Pierce and so the Celtics should go to him early and often.

Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins vs Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol
The Lakers, even without Bynum are tough inside. Hopefully KG will be well enough to win the battle against Odom. Hopefully the Lakers won't play dirty and try to injure Perk's shoulder again because Perk has proved that he is a crucial part of the Celtics interior defense.

Team Connections
Chris Mihm played for the Celtics in the 03-04 season
Lakers' assistant coach Brian Shaw was drafted by the Celtics in 1988
Ray Allen and Vladimir Radmanovic were teammates in Seattle

Keys to the Game
Contain Kobe
Defense - Both in the Paint and on the Perimeter
Limit Turnovers
Bench Needs to Step Up
Keep their Focus

X-Factor
Revenge
The Celtics will be looking to avenge the beating they took from the Lakers on Christmas day. They will be on their home court and should have sufficient motivation to come out strong and keep their focus as they prove that they are indeed the better team.