Doc Rivers has said that as long as the green and purple uniforms remain the same, the connection between the Celtics and Lakers would remain electric, even if the former is scraping the bottom of the playoff seed barrel and the latter is praying for something that good.
Both had played well heading into the Garden last night, and that’s where the connection, for now, ended.
The Celtics have hit an encyclopedia’s worth of highs and lows in this rivalry, and last night channeled energy from an interesting point in history — Game 6 of the 2008 Finals, which they won by 39 points, 131-92.
The Lakers were in a far darker place by the end of the C’s 116-95 win, which included a peak lead of 32 points. Kobe Bryant’s words may have shamed Dwight Howard into playing despite a torn labrum. By the fourth quarter, the melancholy big man had fouled out with nine points and nine rebounds.
Bryant, as so often this season, was left making plenty of big shots in a vacuum with his 27-point performance.
Paul Pierce, son of Inglewood, Calif., and boyhood Lakers fan who has relished every minute against that team, turned in one of his most efficient games of the season with 24 points on 10-for-17 shooting. That included a 12-point third quarter, when the C’s sealed matters with a 23-7 run over the last 4:51 of the quarter.
This remains the one game, more than any other, that Pierce lives for.
“Well, he’s from LA,” said Rivers. “Like me going to Chicago as a kid, or I guess I was an adult by then. And then there’s the rivalry as well, so Paul has the double whammy. He’s with the Celtics playing the Lakers, and he’s from LA. And he lives in LA in the offseason. So it’s probably really important for him to play well and win.
“That way he can walk the streets and talk, as Paul probably does.”
Pierce curled his upper lip at mention of this game’s annual importance to him. He’s played the Lakers twice in the Finals, won in 2008 and lost in 2010.
Celtics bury Lakers in a laugher
Boston Herald | Feb 8