I’M SMILING a little bit easier these days, and that’s because my dream of a renewed Boston-Los Angeles rivalry just got a step closer.
The Celtics eliminated the Toronto Raptors yesterday in a nail-biting thriller of a Game 7 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.
GAME 7. Jason Tatum was his usual spectacular self, scoring 29 points and adding 12 rebounds from an amazing 4-of-8 shooting from the 3- point area.
He got help from Jaylen Brown who struggled from beyond the arc but came up with 21 points and eight rebounds. Kemba Walker came alive in crucial moments in the fourth quarter which allowed them to dethrone the reigning NBA champs.
A missing factor for the Raptors in this series has been 6-foot-9 forward Pascal Siakam. He had been one of the best players in the regular season and a key centerpiece for their continued resurgence despite the departure of Kawhi Leonard.
LOS ANGELES. On the Western Conference, it looks almost certain that a team from L.A. will make it to the NBA Finals.
The Lakers have the Houston Rockets reeling and teetering on the brink of elimination.
The Denver Nuggets, on the other hand, have extended the series to Game 6 against the Clippers. The Nuggets are dangerous but I don’t see them winning three straight games.
RIVARLY. The storied rivalry between these two cities dates back to 1959 when they first contended for the NBA title.
They faced each other six times in the 1960s and it reached new heights in the 1980s with the rise of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish for the Celtics and Earvin Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul Jabbar for the Lakers.
After a lull, the rivalry was rekindled during the 2007 to 2008 season with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen of the Celtics matching up against the late Kobe Bryant and Paul Gasol. Boston won that one in six games.
The last iteration of this matchup was exactly 10 years ago, and this time the Lakers had acquired the services of Ron Artest and they defeated their bitter rivals in seven games and that would prove to be Bryant’s final championship.
Seems like a decade later those fires are being rekindled again and Boston just has to do its part in defeating the Heat.
LAST ROUND. It’s on my favorite lawyer-twin sisters, Atty. Carrie dela Serna-Unchuan and Atty. Marie dela Serna-Teves who celebrate their birthdays this week. Cheers!