Pregame Post-Ups: C’s Set to Host LeBron the Laker for First Time
Thursday, Feb. 8 - Lakers at Celtics
Pregame – C’s Set to Host LeBron the Laker for First Time
BOSTON – A new chapter begins Thursday night in the historic Celtics-Lakers rivalry, as LeBron James comes to Boston for the first time donning purple and gold.
While the jersey on James’ back is different, the strategy in going up against the 15-time All-Star remains the same for the Celtics.
“With a guy that good, you have to guard him as a team,” C’s coach Brad Stevens said ahead of tip-off. “We have a lot of guys that are very versatile that I think can really work to make it as difficult as possible on a guy like that, but I think ultimately there’s a reason why the best are the best, and you just have to all expend extra effort to guard him as a team.”
Boston is familiar with game-planning against James, having seen him 10 times last season, including seven times in the Eastern Conference Finals. They have as good of a tool set as any team in the league when it comes to defending him, though that still doesn’t make the task much easier.
“There’s a big reason why the whole league has filled up with as many versatile guys on their rosters as possible, is to be able to guard the LeBron James of the world,” Stevens said. “And that’s still a very difficult challenge.”
In his 16th season, James has not yet lost a step in his game. He is averaging 26.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game, while shooting 51.6 percent from the field. However, James has been less durable this season than in years past. He has already missed 18 games because of a groin injury, which is four more contests than he missed during the previous three seasons combined.
James is back in full swing now, though, and he’ll be up to the challenge of playing inside the hostile TD Garden as always, as he opens up this new chapter of the Celtics-Lakers rivalry.
- Taylor Snow