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Inside the NBA: Looking ahead

The Lakers take on the Celtics on Sunday at Staples Center

January 29, 2011|By Mark Heisler
  • Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives against Celtics forward Paul Pierce during third quarter in Game 7 of the NBA Finals last spring.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives against Celtics forward Paul Pierce during… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

BOSTON AT LAKERS

Sunday at 12:30 p.m. TV: Channel 7.

In 2007, when Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo couldn't shoot, Kendrick Perkins didn't shoot and the Boston Celtics' bench consisted of James Posey until late-arriving P.J. Brown and Sam Cassell were hailed as heroes.

Three seasons, 1,000 injuries, two Finals appearances, one title and one heartbreak later, they're bigger, deeper and even more ticked off. So if the Lakers think they are the motivated team, the best they will get is a tie.

Once runty menaces with only Garnett taller than 6 feet 9 in stocking feet, the Celtics are a thundering herd with Perkins, Shaquille O'Neal, Glen Davis and Jermaine O'Neal. Rondo is an All-Star; Perkins is one of the game's best post defenders. Allen (50% from the field) and Pierce (51%) are shooting career highs.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, between Celtics visits they're still the let-me-sleep-will-you-Ma? Lakers.

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