The Lakers and Celtics come into tonight’s matchup as two teams that are on the verge of a rebuild. With the Lakers battling multiple injuries this season and not having enough bodies to compete on a nightly basis, they’ve placed themselves in an unfortunate situation.
As for the Celtics, they have embraced rebuilding, and are now looking to find the next player to carry the torch for their historic franchise.
Tonight, both of these franchises will face off in the “tank” sweepstakes, as many feel that both of these franchises are on a collision course for a top-3 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The Lakers will be without Steve Blake, as he has been traded to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Marshon Brooks and Kent Bazemore.
It is not known whether or not the new additions will get some playing time tonight, but we should expect some minutes for them, as the Lakers are currently down players and will need guys to fill in.
Frontcourt: The Celtics don’t boast a very talented frontcourt. They start Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, and Jeff Green. Not the most talented bunch, but they play very hard under new head coach Brad Stevens. Sullinger in particular has improved drastically this season, and is liable to have a big game on any given night.
The Lakers will need Kaman and Hill to match the energy that the Celtics will play with. It is not know whether Gasol will play so the Lakers will certainly rely on these two if they plan to win.
Backcourt: In the Celtics backcourt they have an all-star caliber point guard in Rajon Rondo. He has fully recovered from ACL surgery and is slowly returning back to the player that he was. Alongside Rondo the Celtics start Gerald Wallace. He’s an experienced veteran that can defend and is effective in the open court.
The Lakers are expected to be without Nick Young, Kobe Bryant, Xavier Henry, and Steve Nash. Someone is going to have to step up tonight. Be it Jodie Meeks, Kendall Marshall, or even the new additions. The Lakers will rely heavily on their guards, as they dictate Mike D’Antoni’s offense.
Keys to Lakers Victory:
Defense – The Celtics aren’t a very good offensive team, therefore the Lakers have to make a priority of theirs to get the necessary stops that it will take in order to get a victory. Limit their transition opportunities, and force them to take difficult shots. If they can do that they will give themselves a chance at winning.
Controlling The Pace: The Lakers and Celtics are the exact opposite when it comes to pace. The Celtics like to slow the game down and run Stevens half-court system, while the Lakers like to get up-and-down the court and get as many offensive possessions as they can. It’s possible that the team that dictates the pace will win this game, so the Lakers must do a great job of imposing their style of play early and throughout.
Find The Fight: The effort has been virtually nonexistent on some nights over the last twenty games, and in part that can be due to the lack of healthy bodies. Regardless, they need to get that energy back, as it was a key aspect of their identity when they were having some success in November and early December. Lakers need to find their inner warrior and battle on both ends for the entire game.
Los Angeles Lakers (18-36) vs. Boston Celtics (19-36)
7:30 PM PST, February 21, 2014
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: ESPN Radio 710 ESPNLA
Celtics Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Gerald Wallace
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Jared Sullinger
Key Reserves: F Chris Johnson, G Jerryd Bayless
Lakers Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Kendall Marshall
SG: Jodie Meeks
SF: Wesley Johnson
PF: Ryan Kelly
C: Jordan Hill
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