For those of us who did not grow up during the 1960’s or the 1980’s but heard about the Lakers-Celtics Rivalry, finally had the chance to experience it in our era. It started with the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to the Boston Celtics before the 2007-2008 season began. I picked the Celtics to win it all once I heard about the coming together of the “Big 3” in Boston, but others thought they would be a flop. Then the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies on Feb. 1st 2008 and quickly started to dominate out West. They were bigger, stronger and became the favorites to come out of their conference while the Celtics were taking care of business out East. Fans nation wide start to realize that a Lakers-Celtics Finals matchup was a real possility.
The Lakers defeated the San Antonio Spurs 4-1 in the 2008 Western Conference Finals and the Celtics beat the Detroit Pistons in 6 games and there we had it, a rivalry renewed. If you don’t know, I am not a Lakers fan so I rooted for the Celtics, plus I have always been a Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett fan. The Celtics received a lot more hate from Lakers fans when Paul Pierce was carried off the court after being knocked down by teammate Kendrick Perkins with 6:49 left in the 3rd, then put into a wheelchair and came back with 5:04 in the quarter only to dominate the rest of the game in route to a 98-88 Celtics victory. The incident looked staged to a lot of L.A. Lakers fans. The Celtics went on to win the series in 6 games and Paul Pierce ended up being the Finals MVP.
Laker fans wanted revenge so every meeting from that point on was an even more epic battle and ever matchup felt like an NBA Finals game. If the Lakers got a regular season win vs Boston it was a 1-up but still wanted another Finals matchup. A rematch probaby would have happened again in 2009 if Kevin Garnett didn’t get sidelined the entire Playoffs and probably could have changed the outcome of the 2nd-round 7 game series loss vs the Orlando Magic who the Lakers went on to beat 4-1 in the Finals. Kevin Garnett came back healthy and the Celtics returned to the Finals in 2010 to again face the Lakers, this was the Lakers chance to get the revenge they wanted and a chance for Boston to keep control of the renewed rivalry. The series ended in a classic Game 7 battle resulting in a 83-79 Lakers victory but the fact that they beat the Celtics made winning the Championship much more sweet.
Here we are in 2013. Kevin Garnett is 36 in his 18th season, Paul Pierce is 35 in his 15 season, Ray Allen is no longer a Celtic and Kobe Bryant is 34 and recently suffered a torn achillies right before the 2012-2013 season ended. Shaq always says you cannot beat father time and it looks like father time is catching up to these great players. Sure we would love to see a great rivalry last forever as I’m sure the fans did when this rivalry was big in the 60’s and 80’s but history repeats itself and the rivalry was renewed in 2008 and is probably coming to an end. The Lakers and Celtics both finshed 7th place in their respective conferences and we will not be seeing a Finals matchup between the two this year because the Lakers have already been put out of the Playoffs. We should enjoy whatever time is left of this renewed rivalry and hope that someday it will come alive again.