Key Reserves: Glen Davis, Nate Robinson
Injuries: Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal, Delonte West, Marquis Daniels, Semih Erden
Tonight the Lakers visit their arch-rivals in Beantown. The Celtics just had four of their starters named to the All-Star team. Will Kobe, Pau, and co. be up for the test?
Frontcourt: Since returning from injury, Perkins has resumed his role as starter and filled the void left by the ever injured O’Neal duo: Shaq and Jermaine. Erden recently went down with a strained groin which has left the Celtics frontline precariously thin. Garnett is having a great season – playing the way he was before his 2009 knee surgery. As much as we all hate Pierce, he is the most clutch player on the Celtics roster. He’s also shooting 50.6% from the field and averaging 19 points per game.
Backcourt: Rondo is continuing to get better as he gains experience and outshines the big three. He is the MVP of this Celtics team. In his fifth NBA season, Rondo is leading the league with 12.4 assists per game. His one glaring weakness is his free throw shooting which is barely edging out Shaq at 56%. What’s there to say about Ray Allen that hasn’t been said? He is on his way to overtake Reggie Miller for the most three-pointers made all time. Off the bench, Robinson is an energizer who can score in a hurry – he torched the Lakers for three treys last game.
Keys to Laker Victory:
This game will not be decided by ability, but by who wants it more. It sounds cliche, but when it comes to rivalry games the team that wants it more usually plays with more intensity. Who will we see tonight? Will the Lakers come out pumped up for tonight’s game or will they reserve their emotional energy for the playoffs. One can hope that the Lakers take down the Celtics in Boston tonight.
Laker Injuries: Matt Barnes, Theo Ratliff