Christmas Day 2008 for Lakers fans just got a whole lot better.
In the first meeting of the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics after the 2008 NBA Finals, the Lakers used a fourth quarter run to beat the Celtics, 92-83. The game was tied with two minutes left in the game, but clutch baskets by Pau Gasol gave the Lakers the cushion they needed to end the Celtics’ franchise record winning streak of 19 games.
Ironically, the Lakers won playing the Celtics’ grind-it-out game, playing good defense and not letting the Celtics slashers waltz their way to the paint. Lakers center Andrew Bynum and Gasol patrolled the paint, leading the team’s interior defense. The defense resulted in 9 blocked shots. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 27 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.
If the game was a preview of the NBA Finals next year, I’m definitely looking forward to it. The Lakers displayed they can defend the paint and make plays down the stretch against a formidable team like the Celtics. I was doubting the Lakers’ effort this month with the losses to teams like the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, but the win erases any doubts for the moment.
So, can we just skip the regular season and start the playoffs?