Old rivals Celtics, Lakers look just plain old

Paul Pierce and the Celtics will face a Pau Gasol-less Lakers squad Thursday
Paul Pierce and the Celtics will face a Pau Gasol-less Lakers squad Thursday

 

For the last five seasons, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have been measured by their losses.

 

They’ve split two NBA Finals matchups and have been threats in the postseason each year.

 

This year is different.

 

No longer is it a surprise when the Celtics or Lakers lose, but when they actually win a game. Okay, it was also a surprise when the Lakers fired head coach Mike Brown five games into the season.

 

Regardless, wins have been few and far between for these two longtime rivals from each coast. The C’s went into Wednesday’s game in Toronto with a 24-23 record, good for eighth in the Eastern Conference.

 

The Lakers aren’t any better. At 23-26, they’re not even a playoff team right now – playing catch up to teams like the Blazers, Rockets, and Jazz.

 

And the good news for both teams – that the Celtics were on a four-game winning streak heading into Wednesday, and the Lakers have won six of seven – can’t even come without major injury news.

 

You already know about Boston’s Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger. But the Lakers, too, are dealing with injuries now. Their two redwoods, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are banged up. Howard has missed the team’s last three games with right shoulder soreness, and Gasol heard a “pop” in his foot on his fascia in Tuesday’s game against the Nets and it was revealed by CBSSports.com yesterday that he will miss up to six weeks of action.

 

The injuries to both teams have forced the “old reliable” future Hall of Famers of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Kobe Bryant to take on even larger roles with their respective teams.

 

In the Lakers’ last three games (all wins), Bryant has averaged 18.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 5.7 assists. While his scoring is down, his rebounds and assists are up, because that’s what his team needs.

 

The same can be said for Pierce, who has taken on a bigger point-forward role after loss of Rondo. Pierce has averaged 17.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 6.3 assists in the C’s last four games, with the latter two stat categories well above his career averages.

So tonight’s game (8 p.m., TNT) isn’t a battle between the NBA’s best. It’s more so a battle between the NBA’s bruised, but not yet beaten.

 

There’s a sense of pride that goes along with wearing each jersey, and that will surely be on display – regardless of record.

 

Follow Metro Boston Celtics beat writer Jimmy Toscano on Twitter @Jimmy_Toscano 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Cops release sketch of Madison Avenue jewelry robbery…

Authorities continue to look for a man suspected in a $54,000 jewelry heist at a Madison Avenue store from from last week.

National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

Movies

The Cannes Film Festival announces its 2014 lineup

The lineup of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival was announced this morning, promising the latest from a slew of usual (and some unusual) suspects.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

NBA

Knicks wrap up season with win over Raptors

The Knicks wrapped up their season as it began — undermanned — but that still didn’t deter them from ending it the right way.

MLB

Adam Warren closes out doubleheader sweep for Yankees

Adam Warren navigated a tricky ninth inning earn the Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Cubs.

NHL

Marc Staal healthy, eager to contribute to Rangers…

Marc Staal remembers the feeling of helplessness watching his teammates compete for hockey’s ultimate prize and being unable to contribute.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.