Sparks fly when the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers get together, and that will be the case when the two rivals clash at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston, MA (TV/Radio: TNT/WEEI Sports Radio Network).
Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant's teams haven't met since February 10, 2011, when the Lakers prevailed 92-86 behind a 23-point game from Kobe at TD Garden. Boston and Los Angeles split the two-game season series in 2011. In their first meeting of the season, the Celtics overcame Bryant's 41-point performance to capture a 109-96 victory on January 30.
This year, both teams have had their ups and downs. Boston and Los Angeles both dropped their first two games, and they followed their tough starts with winning streaks. However, the Celtics hit a rough patch, dropping five straight, while the Lakers have not lost more than three consecutive games this season.
Boston has hit a hot stretch in recent weeks, winning five games in a row. The Celtics coasted past the Charlotte Bobcats in their last game on Tuesday, winning 94-84. The result of the game took a backseat to Pierce, who passed Larry Bird and moved into second place on the franchises' all-time scoring list. Pierce had 15 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in the milestone performance.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, dropped its last game against the Philadelphia 76ers, 95-90, on Monday. Bryant finished with 28 points and Andrew Bynum recorded a 20-20 game (20 points, 20 rebounds), but Los Angeles allowed the 76ers to shoot 46.9 percent. Pau Gasol also had a solid game, totaling 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Boston heads north of the border to face the Toronto Raptors in its next game on Friday.