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How we see it goin’ down: Celtics at Lakers

Tip: 3:30 PM    Court: Staples Center    Watch it: ABC     Hear it: WEEI

                           Referees:  Joe Crawford, Curtis Blair and Leon Wood

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The Matchup

Angelslakerstat
Record: 21-18 (2nd Atlantic, 7th East) Record: 24-16 (2nd Pacific, 4th West)
On road: 5-10 At home: 17-2
Streak: Won 1 Streak: Won 1
    Leaders  Leaders
Buckets: Pierce (18.4 ppg) Buckets: Kobe Bryant (28.9 ppg)
Boards: Garnett (8.2 rpg) Boards: Andrew Bynum (12.6 rpg)
Dimes: Rondo (10.0 apg) Dimes: Kobe Bryant (4.8 apg)
For the Stat Geeks: For the Stat Geeks: 
Offensive Rating: 100.3 (25th NBA) Offensive Rating: 103.9 (14th NBA)
Defensive Rating: 99.0 (3rd NBA) Defensive Rating: 101.4 (10th NBA)
Pace: 89.9 (23rd NBA) Pace: 90.0 (21st NBA)

Last time

The Lakers beat the Celtics 88-87 in OT in Boston on February 9. Pau Gasol sealed the win by blocking Ray Allen's put-back attempt at the buzzer. 

This time

Get it to: Rajon Rondo

Unless the Lakers mail it in (a la Portland), the Celtics will need an epic performance by Rajon to win this game. In half-court sets, he'll likely be guarded softly by Kobe Bryant. He's gotta make the jumpers early and often. Rondo will also need to maximize fast break opportunities. 

Gotta stop: Pau Gasol

A daunting task for the Celtics depleted front line. Even if KG is at his best defensively, Gasol will likely log at least 5 more minutes of court time.

The Wild Card: Ray Allen 

Let's hope the Portland game was the springboard to a white-hot streak. Derek Fisher is a gritty defender, but his mobility rivals mine. Shoot, Ray, shoot.

 

How we see it goin' down

The Lakers aren't the most stable team. They had a couple of bad losses last week (DET, WAS). There's a lot of internal turmoil regarding Mike Brown's offensive schemes. And there's the on-going trade speculation involving Pau Gasol. But without Chris Wilcox, I don't see how the Celtics can survive in the paint vs Gasol and Bynum. 

Prediction: Lakers 94 Boston 88

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