For as much as this Lakers-Celtics series has nothing to do with 2008, it has everything to do with 2008.
The Lakers, even as the defending champions, are still fighting the notion that they are soft. Granted, this season’s Lakers are a different team, with Ron Artest supplying force and toughness and Andrew Bynum another big, strong body. But that doesn’t change the fact that, two years ago, with the teams’ two cores largely intact, the Celtics beat the Lakers down, gave them a swirly and stole their lunch money.
This year, says Pau Gasol, all that’s going to change. I’ll let Pau take the reins, discussing how the Celtics flipped the switch but still don’t want a title as badly as the Lakers. (Boston Herald)
“They picked it up, for sure,” Gasol said yesterday. “They picked it up at the right time. They know what they’re playing for. They’re experienced enough, and I’m sure they want it really badly. But we want it even more than they do. But we have to prove it obviously. It’ll be a fight every single night, and we’re excited for it.”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned while watching the Celtics play over the past three years (this regular season not included, because the C’s clearly counted it as an exhibition season), it’s that the Boston Celtics will never got outworked. Not in big games, not when the stakes are highest, and especially not by the goddamn Lakers.
So sorry, Pau, I know your floppy-haired head is in the right place but your Lakers don’t want it more than the Celtics. Not a chance. Last summer the Celtics sat in their basements and watched the Finals on TV while slamming their heads against the wall and thinking to themselves, “I hope those mother-f*ckers make the Finals again next season, we’ve got some unfinished business to tend to.”
The Celtics think they should be searching for a third straight ring, and they’re out for blood. And as hurt as the Lakers are that they lost in 2008 there hasn’t been a single team, over the past three years, that has wanted it more badly than the Boston Celtics.