Tip: 8:00pm Court: TD Garden Watch it: TNT Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Derrick Stafford, Marat Kogut, Gary Zielinski
The teams split the series 1-1 last season. Paul Pierce led the C’s with an average of 23.5 points per game while Ray Allen chipped in with 20.5 per game…Allen broke Reggie Miller’s record for most three-pointers made in a career against the Lakers last season on February 10…Kevin Garnett added a double-double with 14.0 points and 12.0 rebounds per contest…Kobe Bryant averaged 32.0 points per game while shooting 54.3% from the field…Pau Gasol added 16.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
Get it to: Rajon Rondo
The Lakers are thin at point guard, and they're not like the Knicks where they'll have a Jeremy Lin coming off the bench to pull a savior act out of his ass. The Lakers PG's can be taken advantage of, and Rondo should absolutely do so. I'm looking at a potentially 30 point night for Rajon as he takes it into the teeth of the defense and wreaks havoc.
Gotta stop: Andrew Bynum
Let Kobe shoot all he wants. The more shots he jacks up, the less rhythm the rest of these guys are in. So I'm picking between Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum as the guys to stop… and I'm going with Bynum for the following reasons:
1: When he goes off… he goes OFF. At his best, he can be a poor man's Dwight Howard. He can absolutely just wreck you offensively, defensively, on the boards…. everywhere. So I'd really like to prevent that domination.
2: When he's bad… he's BAD. Bynum is susceptible to the double team. He still doesn't know how to handle it, so unlike Dwight where I get pissed any time another defender comes along, I say you send doubles from all angles on Bynum and watch him flounder as he tries to get out of it. You'll see turnovers, bad shots and offensive fouls.
Gasol can burn you if you double him because he's a tremendous passer. I think Bynum is spot to break the Lakers down.
The Wild Card: C's Bigs off the bench
If Chris Wilcox and Brandon Bass can be aggressive and productive, the Celtics will have a distinct advantage that will put the Lakers in a big hole. If they get caught up in the C's/LA hype, the buzz of the crowd, and the national setting and become ineffective, then we're going to have problems. Rondo can play 40 minutes (barring injury or foul trouble)… so we don't have to worry TOO much about Avery Bradley or E'Twaun Moore (or a rusty Keyon Dooling, who did go through shootaround today). But KG and Jermaine O'Neal can't. Bass and Wilcox NEED to get the job done.
How we see it goin' down
Right, like I'm going to pick against the Celtics against the Lakers?
Rajon Rondo will take advantage of LA's weakness in the back court. Jermaine and whatever combination of double teams will make Bynum's life hell. KG and Gasol will probably be a dog-fight and a wash. I don't care if Kobe scores 30… I just want him to shoot 10-35 in the process, leaving everyone else without enough touches to find their grooves.
Pierce and Allen will step up in what will be a slug-fest of a game. C's win it 92-85.