The Boston Celtics handed the LA Lakers a loss less than ten days ago, and tonight the Lakers plan to even the score as they head to Boston in what is a rematch of last years NBA Finals.

Basketball fans will be treated to a game between two of the best and you can bet it will be a bit personal on both sides of the ball due to LA’s loss to the Celtics just over a week ago by a 109-96 margin and LA coach Phil Jackson leveling a shot at Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett, suggesting he’s a dirty player.  That’s like noting there’s a little bit of dirt in the pig pen but nonetheless, the Celtics will take umbrage at the remark and rally around one of their own.  It should be interesting theater on Causeway Street Thursday night.

Rajon RondoThe Boston Celtics (38-13 SU, 23-25-3 ATS) are a team that has gotten it done this season primarily on talent but gutting out the spate of injuries that has plagued the team this season.  At one point they had to go with their 4th string center, Semih Erden, for 41 minutes because the other three were on the shelf. 

Aside from getting center Kendrick Perkins back in the fold, the injuries continue to mount with Semih Erden shelved due to a groin problem, Shaquille O’Neal battling an inflamed Achilles, Jermaine O’Neal continues to miss time now opting for surgery on a knee injury that would not respond to rehab, Delonte West still recuperating from a fractured wrist and finally the vitally important 6th (or 7th) man off the Celtics bench Marquis Daniels nursing a bruised spinal cord that he suffered during Sunday’s game against the Magic.  The Celtics will get no pity from the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers (36-16 SU, 22-29-1 ATS) may be looking to pull the trigger on a trade for Denver’s Carmelo Anthony but whether or not that does eventually transpire will have no bearing on Thursday’s game against the Celtics, except maybe in the psyche of Andrew Bynum, the carrot the Lakers are rumored to be dangling.  We’ll be curious to see if the Melo-drama affects Bynum’s game.  Regardless, the Laker’s got a gritty win on the road Monday night when they got a big game from Lamar Odom as he added 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to contribute to the Lakers 93-84 victory and a comfortable cover as 3 ½ point road favorites. 

Kobe BryantThe Celtics have been sputtering lately due to their lack of manpower.  When they’re rested and the big bodies have had time to rest and lick their wounds, all is well.  But the same can be said for any team with the arduous schedule that the NBA presents.  The Celtics’ short-handed woes were evident as they faded in the 4th quarter of their 94-89 loss to the less talented Bobcats

The Lakers on the other hand are looking to dress the fresh wound that was last week’s loss to the Celtics in front of their home crowd.  Payback may be a bitch but the key to a Laker’s win will be their big advantage on the glass, averaging over 43 rebounds per game good for 3rd in the league versus the 29th ranked Celtics with just over 38 as well as taking advantage of a depleted and battered C’s bench. 

My Pick - Watch Kobe and Company exact their revenge on Thursday night.