|Written by Michael Patrick|
Both teams were dominating play in their respective divisions, and both were considered the two best teams in the NBA. It seemed like the oldest rivalry in the NBA was going to take place once again.
However, things have definitely changed over the season, especially in the last couple of weeks as the Lakers have been beaten often and the Celtics have been beaten badly. Did these two teams peak too early this season? Will they have enough in the tank to make a run deep into the playoffs. Many believe they will not. Even though both have been through this situation before, experts believe the situation to be different this season. The aging teams will not have the legs to once again rise to the occasion.
It can be argued that Boston has struggled more than the Lakers. Since the trade of emotional catalyst Kendrick Perkins, the Celts have seemed flat. Boston fell into third place recently' when they were pounded by 23 this past weekend against Miami. Then on Monday night in Washington, in a game they definitely should have won, they basically gave away second place when they sat their four superstars for the majority of the game.
What does this mean for the playoffs? Is Doc Rivers simply resting his older players? If they need this much rest, will they be able to push through the playoffs when the intensity levels will shoot through the roof? One thing is for sure, they are lacking the strength and explosiveness off the bench that they had last season. That bench supplied the young, emotional push that these guys seem to need right now. Can they get it without them? That remains to be seen.