Los Angeles Lakers v. Boston Celtics Preview: A Tale of Two Cities

Jan 14, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D

The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are one of sports greatest rivalries. Back in the day it used to be the Magic Johnson against Larry Bird. More recently, it was Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce.

But this Friday it is unclear what to be excited for as the Lakers visit TD Garden.

Is it to see Jodie Meeks take on Jeff Green? Or Pau Gasol facing off Jared Sullinger?

I’m not going to lie, as much as I would like to hype it up, there’s no excitement or drama surrounding this match. The Lakers have lost 12 of their last 13 matches while the Celtics dropped 12 of their last 14 games. Whether it is intentional or not the two teams are definitely tanking the season and this “historic” match-up will only be historically bad.

However, one highlight that may justify spending a Friday night watching these two teams is the return of Rajon Rondo.

On Thursday, Chris Forsberg of ESPN reported that Danny Ainge confirmed that Rondo will indeed return on Friday night.

While there isn’t half the hype or anticipation surrounding the return of Rondo as there was for Derrick Rose or Kobe Bryant, it will interesting to see how Rondo performs in his first game back since Jan. 25 of last year.

If you have forgotten, Rondo was leading the league in assists last season with 11.8 per game before injuring his ACL.

Dec 31, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Injured Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) dribbles before their game against the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike Rose or Bryant, there is no pressure for Rondo to take Boston anywhere this season. In fact, it seems like the Celtics have embraced the idea of tanking this season. Their recent move to ship Jordan Crawford to Golden State for more future draft picks only confirms this suspicion.

The Lakers are in the same boat as the Celtics and have lost six straight games. The sad part is that the Lakers are not losing games on purpose. It’s quite the opposite.

The young players are giving 110 percent every night and their depressing record can not be blamed on a lack of effort.

However, as James Herbert of TrueHoop points out, “the Lakers are undermanned and overmatched every night…this team is exhausted by the end of every game and the defense is a disaster.”

They simply are not good enough.

To make matters worse, Nick Young will not be available in the lineup after receiving a suspension for a “punching foul” against the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers will suffer another blow without their leading scorer in the lineup.

At this point, the Lakers need to follow the Celtics lead and look beyond this season. Each loss may be a blow to their pride but it is a step closer to a lottery draft pick.

So if you plan to watch the game, sit back, relax, and keep in mind that if the Lakers lose, they are actually the winners.

Tags: Jodie Meeks Kobe Bryant Rajon Rondo

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