For most of this season, the Celtics and Lakers have been a mess playing sub .500 basketball. Excuses are plentiful. The Celtics are an ill-fitting unit reliant on aging veterans and the tempestuous genius of Rajon Rondo. The Lakers feature four hall of fame busts, an unresolved two-headed post presence, a D-league bench, coached by an inflexible, tactical tyrant and a reluctantly wintering Kobe Bryant.
The Celtics lost Rajon Rondo to a torn acl, and have now won six in a row without him pushing their record over .500. The Lakers lost Dwight Howard for three games and found a resurgent Pau Gasol, who is now out six weeks reintroducing a troubled Dwight Howard.
Tonight, the Celtics kicked the Lakers ass. It was of course one game, but it’s notable the Lakers remain a disjointed melodrama prone to airing grievances in the media and incapable of rallying to a common purpose, while in their darkest hour, the Celtics have found something in each other heretofore unseen…good basketball.
The Celtics have a warrior’s soul. There is depth and resolve in their ranks, and something more….they care not for themselves, but for each other. It was evident in Paul Pierce’s anguished face when he was informed of Rondo’s injury, and in their play amidst trade rumors over the last six games. They know they control their effort and effort influences outcomes. They have made themselves relevant by adding another chapter to Celtic Pride.