Celtics-Lakers: greatest sports rivalry of all time?
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On Friday, February 3, one of the greatest rivalries professional sports has seen had an interesting statistic on the line.
The Los Angeles Lakers took on the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden in a game which the NBA’s most recognized franchises came into the game tied for the most total wins in NBA regular season history at 3,252, according to SB Nation’s Celtics Blog.
As the TD Garden sold every ticket –18,624 of them – I was lucky enough to be one of the more-than-expected Laker fans in attendance.
The Boston crowd wasn’t all that loud in the beginning as they witnessed Los Angeles’ Nick Young start off hot in the first quarter, nailing three pointers from seemingly all over the court.
The Lakers seemed destined to make it a competitive game, leading by one point after the first quarter. The Lakers’ hot shooting came to a harsh halt, shooting 8-24 in the second quarter.
The Celtics led at halftime 62-51 and never looked back.
The fourth quarter was led by Isaiah Thomas who has had a historic season when it comes to the final quarter. Thomas is averaging 10.1 points in the fourth quarter, and this night was no different as he dropped 17 points on only six baskets in the fourth.
The Boston crowd was going absolutely ballistic throughout the quarter; erupting whenever Thomas touched the ball. Signs were seen all over the building praising their superstar with his recent nickname “King of the Fourth.” While leading by as much as 18, the Celtics easily were en route to their 3,253rd regular season win, this time over their rival.
“The atmosphere here is incredible, the fans are really into the game, especially after the MVP chants,” said Michael Hynek of UMass Amherst, who was also at the game.
Another UMass student, Rachael Montigny, agreed.
“You can tell the fans are extremely excited about the Super Bowl and I feel like that momentum really carried everyone tonight,” said Montigny.
From the start, fan favorite and MVP candidate Thomas had been on fire the past two games, putting up over 40 points twice, came up with another huge night with 38 points. Teammates Jae Crowder finished with 18 points, and Marcus Smart finishing with seven assists and five steals.
Los Angeles’ Lou Williams finished with 21 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, while their stud Deangelo Russell had a night himself, pitching in 20 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assist.
Russell also had praise for his opposing competitor Thomas after the game: “he’s fast and he makes tough shots too, at the same time, and he can get to the rim. He’s a complete player.”
The loss was the Lakers’ 11th straight loss on the road.
The decision of the game gave the Boston Celtics a slight edge in all time regular season wins, while also owning the Los Angeles Lakers in many categories such as total wins, and the most interesting for the sake of the two fan bases. Boston owns L.A in NBA Final series with 9 head-to-head championships against the Lakers 2, with L.A winning the latest in 2010.
*All stats acquired from NBA.com, unless otherwise noted.