The L.A. Lakers continue their annual Grammy Awards-invoked road trip with a stop in familiar Boston to take on the Celtics. The teams that matched up in the NBA Finals in 2008 and 2010 remain in tact, and that's part of the problem. Age is wearing on a few of the key actors, and the lack of manueverability that comes with having a high-dollar roster is doing the rest of the damage. Neither team was able to make a serious upgrade in the offseason after being blasted out in the second round of last year's playoffs. As a result, both teams are in the bottom half of their conferences' playoff brackets.
Because of that, every win is crucial. Boston is looking to surpass the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic in the standings in order to avoid a first-round series against the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat or Philadelphia 76ers. (The current No. 4 seed is the Indiana Pacers, no pushover itself.) The Lakers are locked in an amazingly tight race for seeds out West, where two games separate the teams that sit from No. 4 (Denver) and No. 11 (Memphis). L.A. is smack in there at No. 7.
For the record, on the crack in the headline: neither the Lakers or Celtics are the league's oldest team. That honor goes to the Dallas Mavericks, with an average age of 31.3 years old. But the Lakers are the second oldest at 30.2, and the Celtics are No. 3 at 29.
The game is slated for just after 8 p.m. ET on TNT, following an All-Star announcement special on NBA TV.