Tonight, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, two of the most storied franchises in not only the National Basketball Association, but all of professional sports, square off for a Friday night bout. Unlike any other game, this regular season matchup between two stark rivals has some implications. With a victory by either squad, they will move into sole possession of first place in all-time wins in the NBA.
Unfortunately, this should not be a very competitive basketball game. The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of another losing season, sitting at 17-35 (.327) and 14th in the Western Conference. At 5-22 on the road this season, the Lakers should get blown out by a Boston Celtics team that has aspirations of making a deep run in the playoffs and perhaps even overtaking the Cleveland Cavaliers for first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics have a great coach, a few potential franchise pieces, including Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Jaylen Brown, and have the rights to the Brooklyn Nets' picks for the next two off-seasons. The sky truly is the limit for this team and nothing will surprise me at this point.
On the flip side, the Lakers are bad, but are not in full "tanking mode." With a better record than the Phoenix Suns and Brooklyn Nets, the Lakers are still in no man's land and truly don't have an identity. D'Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram are two potential cornerstone pieces, but they have both had issues and may amount to absolutely nothing. Head coach Luke Walton did wonders in Golden State, but has undoubtedly struggled in Los Angeles.
When Celtics fans enter the Garden tonight, think back to ten years ago when these games were exciting, but don't expect a competitive game come tipoff.