Lakers, Celtics rivalry cools with losing seasons

Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:30pm EST
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By Will Robinson

Los ANGELES (Reuters) - The historic rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics appeared the same, the green uniforms of the visiting team perfectly complementing the home side's purple-and-gold.

Lakers fans filled Staples Center with deafening "Boston sucks" chants in the fourth quarter before winning 101-92. The stakes were high, but in an atypical fashion.

The two most storied franchises of the NBA, who have accounted for 33 of the league's 67 titles, are now on the other end of the won-lost list, having entered Friday's game with 37 combined wins against 72 defeats with nearly identical records.

Having battled for the NBA championship as recently as four years ago, Boston and Los Angeles are now jockeying for NBA Draft position.

This season featured the first time the Lakers and Celtics faced each other with losing records since the 1994 season.

Only Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, forward Pau Gasol and Boston guard Rajon Rondo remain from the 2009-10 title clash in which the Lakers triumphed over the Celtics in seven games. Two years prior, Boston won the Larry O'Brien Trophy in six games.

The rivalry dates back to the '60s, when the likes of Bill Russell, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain battled in seven NBA Finals, each one resulting in a Boston win.

The second coming of the rivalry occurred in the 1980s, starring Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. In three NBA championship head-to-head jousts, Los Angeles and Magic won two.   Continued...

Dec 17, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard Tony Allen (9) guards Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) during the fourth quarter at FedExForum. Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports