Blog Entry

Lakers did the Celtics a favor

Posted on: December 25, 2008 8:32 pm

The best thing that could've happened to the Celtics on Christmas Day, in front of a raucous Staples Center crowd and curious national TV audience, was to lose to the Lakers.

Trust me, this game meant a lot more to the Lakers than it did to the Celtics.

Just as Boston received nothing of value for winning 19 consecutive games and embarking on the best 29-game start in NBA history, neither do the Lakers receive any trophies or other meaningful accolades for stopping it with a 92-83 victory Thursday.

Sure, the Lakers can build off a game in which they (finally) defended for 48 minutes and got key contributions from Andrew Bynum (who missed last year's Finals loss to Boston with an injury) and Pau Gasol (who was too often missing in key moments against the Celtics last June). But while they may not realize it now, the Lakers' stirring performance against the defending champs Thursday -- by far the most anticipated game of the NBA season to date -- will refocus the Celtics and alleviate the unnecessary pressure of the streak.

It was tied for the fourth-longest winning streak in NBA history -- a noteworthy accomplishment, and one that will mean diddly squat come June. Had the Celtics won Thursday, their efforts to repeat as champions would've been unnecessarily sidetracked by ever more sweltering national attention on something that ultimately means nothing. As Kevin Garnett said Tuesday night after the Celtics beat the Sixers for their 19th straight win, all of these records and milestones are nothing but steam that will simply evaporate if Boston doesn't win the title.

Imagine the distraction of going to Portland on Tuesday with the possibility of passing the 2007-08 Rockets for the second-longest winning streak in NBA history (23). Then, with victories over Washington, New York, and Charlotte, the streak would've been at 26 when Boston hosted the Rockets on Jan. 7. If they won, they would've been at 27 when they visited Cleveland on Jan. 9 -- inching ever closer to the longest winning streak in NBA history, 33, by the 1971-72 Lakers.

And so on, and so on. The Celtics should be glad it's over. Now they can just continue doing what they've been doing. Now they can take an unbiased look at their team and start thinking about what, if anything, needs to be added before the Feb. 19 trade deadline.

They're still on pace with the 1995-96 Bulls, whose 72-10 record was the best in NBA history. They still have a shot at surpassing the Celtics' franchise record of 68 victories, set in 1972-73. But that record, too, means little; the '72-'73 Celtics lost to the Knicks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

If anything, this loss exploited the Celtics' bench, which got outplayed by the Lakers' reserves. It showed that Doc Rivers will have to come up with an answer if the Lakers choose to close games in June with Bynum and Gasol on the floor at the same time. If Gasol makes big shots -- and he made a couple down the stretch Thursday, and also blocked a 3-point attempt by Ray Allen as the Celtics were trying to cut it to 88-86 with 1:21 left -- it's a formidable matchup problem for Boston. Gasol's block resulted in a five-point swing as Trevor Ariza got free for a dunk that made it 90-83 with 1:10 left.

But this game, beamed to our TV sets on Christmas Day, also proved something else. It proved something else to me, anyway. It proved that Lakers-Celtics in the Finals again wouldn't be as repetitious and boring as I thought it would be. If it's anything like Thursday, then we've all been reminded how much we have to look forward to in June.




Since: Jun 25, 2007
Posted on: December 26, 2008 1:20 pm

Lakers did the Celtics a favor

   It's unfortunate that everyone should be entitle to share an opinion on this boards because your opinion is surely a wasted space  for someone so narrowminded such as yourself. You just wrote a post so empty, biased and classless. Overrated, I wonder if the celtics would have won your post would have said, Once again the Celtics dominated a team that they dismantled in the finals with the truth dominating Kobe and showing the world he's the best player in the planet and Doc Rivers proving once again he's far better coach than Phil Jackson. Right? Please buddy, put a zip in it.

Since: Oct 19, 2008
Posted on: December 26, 2008 1:01 pm

Lakers did the Celtics a favor

Kobe and the Lakers end the Celtic win steak but it looks as of December that the Celtics will get that last laugh!   The Boston Three party will keep rolling past this bump in the road to their repeat as champions.

Since: Jun 1, 2007
Posted on: December 26, 2008 11:59 am

Lakers did the Celtics a favor

I think the favor that this game did for the Celtics is it showed some gaps in their attack. The gap is the bench depth that helped them during their championship run last year. If the C's do not address their bench they may not make it to the Finals they still have to beat Cleveland. If we do have a repeat of the 07 Finals it will be a hotly contested series with the team with the better bench contribution coming out on top. At this point of the season that would be the Lakers, but we still have a couple of weeks before the trade deadline.

Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: December 26, 2008 10:26 am

Lakers did the Celtics a favor


Shouldn't you be robbind a liquor store, or in jail?

Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: December 26, 2008 10:16 am

Lakers did the Celtics a favor

Coming "close" isn't good enough, as the Lakers found out last year in the Finals, and Celtics found out in this last game.  You should know that.

Go Lakers!!!

Since: Dec 26, 2008
Posted on: December 26, 2008 9:08 am

Lakers did the Celtics a favor

The Lakers played as well as they can and Boston was still in it all the way until the last few minutes of the game. The Lakers also got the "home court advantage" on the close calls. But I guess that's the NBA. We will see them again and they really don't scare me at all. Kobe played unselfish last night but a leopard can't change its spots. He will revert back to "I'm the man "syndrome and the Celts will prevail. Paul Gasol played as well as he can too and the Celts will remember a couple of cheap shots he took at Garnett and no calls were made. It's funny if I can see them at home then what the heck was the 3 officials looking at? See you scrubs Feb 5.

Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: December 26, 2008 9:01 am

Lakers did the Celtics a favor

Hey Palymaker21


You are have a pathetic attitude. I have nothing else to say and nor is there anything else to say.

Since: Nov 13, 2008
Posted on: December 26, 2008 7:54 am

Lakers did the Celtics a favor

Good points!  European players were brought up on foosball (soccer) remember.  They are skilled in pretend agony....rolling around on the ground, near death, only to pop up when they can't get any more attention, with a miracle cure.  If American sports turn to this garbage then I'll watch as much as I do soccer....never!  It was good to see the Lakers really put out last night.  I've watched them walk through enough games this year and I wasn't sure if they were good or not.  They are.

Since: Apr 1, 2007
Posted on: December 26, 2008 2:40 am

Lakers did the Celtics a favor

I agree with most of the points within this article. Were they doing the Celts a favor? I wouldn't say that's the way to express this outcome. No, the Lakers needed to see for themselves that having Gasol and Ariza for a training camp, and Ariza and Bynum healthy, makes them able to matchup with various Celtic players that they had no answer for last year. They also learned that Posey is no longer someone they have to worry about stopping. The only favor I saw the Lakers doing for the Celtics was proving to Ainge that he must make a move before the trade deadline if he hopes to have this team repeat as NBA champs should they have to face this current Laker team, if they're both healthy, in the finals again this June.

Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: December 26, 2008 12:19 am

Lakers did the Celtics a favor

I knew Gasol was going to get credit for helping the Lakers win. Yes he had a good performance. If you want to call flopping good. I don't care what else he did in the game the one thing that sticks out in my mind is him running full speed with his shoulder down to a standing Rondo and Gasol goes flying. Rondo is half his size. Is that a joke? I'm getting sick of the Eurpean players flopping and flopping in general. Your freakin grown men. Start acting like it. If I were Gasol when he got "knocked down" on that play I wouldn't get up. That was embarrasing.

Now I'm not taking anything away from the Lakers victory. It was good and a well fought victory. They simply outplayed the C's. I do agree that this will only help the Celtics. Now Garnett will be more focused, Pierce will be fired up, Rondo will be playing even smarter. I'm glad the Celtics lost tonight now they will be even better and the Lakers should watch out when they go to Boston.

This is just one of those games that the home team was going to win. I saw some huge Boston plays that should have been momentum changes but the Lakers crowd was still in it.

Once again congratulations to the Lakers.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or