The week ahead in the NBA

Looking ahead

LAKERS AT BOSTON: Thursday at 5 p.m. PST. TV: TNT.

This isn't 1984, or even 2010, for that matter. The Lakers and Boston are both in ebb mode, with Celtics boss Danny Ainge already deigning to break up the Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen if it will improve the franchise's outlook going forward. The Lakers also appear to be in retreat, with last season's run to the second round of the playoffs potentially qualifying as the good old days if the team doesn't start consistently winning on the road. Nevertheless, it's still Lakers-Celtics, and that's good enough for Kobe Bryant. "The enjoyment I get out of it is that when they assembled the Big Three," the Lakers guard said, "they still only have one championship to our two. It's still fun." Even if those title numbers remain static for a while.

— Ben Bolch

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