Advertisement

Kobe Bryant makes final visit to Boston on Wednesday at Celtics

Kobe Bryant makes final visit to Boston on Wednesday at Celtics
Heat center Hassan Whiteside tries to drive past Celtics forward Jared Sullinger. (Winslow Townson / Associated Press)

On Wednesday, Kobe Bryant will make his final career appearance in Boston when the Lakers (5-27) visit the Celtics (18-13).

Bryant, who will retire after the season, helped add two chapters to one of the greatest rivalries in professional sports.  The Celtics beat the Lakers through the six-game 2008 NBA Finals.

The Lakers got revenge two years later, defeating Boston at the Staples Center in a lengthy seven-game battle.

The Celtics are currently the hottest team in the Eastern Conference, riding a four-game winning streak.  Meanwhile, the Lakers have five wins on the season, and have dropped four straight.

Advertisement

The Lakers are relatively healthy, as are the Celtics -- although David Lee has been struggling with a back issue.

Advertisement

Key matchup

Boston relies on multiple players for scoring but point guard Isaiah Thomas is leading the team at 20.7 points a game, along with 6.8 assists.

The Lakers always seem to have a particularly difficult time with the lightning-quick Thomas.

Jordan Clarkson will draw the assignment.  So too could rookie D'Angelo Russell.

Clarkson is scoring 13.1 points with 2.5 assists a game.  Russell is at 11.8 and 3.3, respectively.

X-factor

The Celtics can get big scoring bursts from Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk.  They have a cast of solid players such as Jared Sullinger, Evan Turner, Amir Johnson, Marcus Smart and Lee.

Collectively, Boston scores 103.1 points a night while holding opponents to 98.7.

The Lakers are on the opposite end of that spectrum, allowing 107.3 while generating 96.3.

Bryant is the team's leading scorer at 17.3 points a night, shooting 34.3% from the field.  Lou Williams (13.1) and Julius Randle (11.4) are also averaging double figures.

Outlook

The Celtics are a scrappy, deep team fighting for playoff position in the East.  The Lakers aren't consistent enough to pick to win on Wednesday.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

Advertisement
Advertisement