Tip: 3:30 PM Court: Staples Center Watch it: ABC Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Joe Crawford, Curtis Blair and Leon Wood
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.
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