Despite appearances to the contrary, the Lakers don't simply exist to generate talk about Carmelo Anthony. Their central purpose is to play games, and tonight's is a marquee matchup. It doesn't get much bigger than Lakers-Celtics, and after the poor showing in January, the Lakers should be primed to ensure a regular season split.
As is our custom, we share local knowledge and perspective with ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg. Topics include panic in L.A., the Celtics' collective health and success inside TD Garden. I found particularly interesting Forsberg's response about the impact of reserve small forward Marquis Daniels' absence:
The Daniels situation has put the Celtics on tilt like nothing else this season and for good reason. Boston has operated all year knowing full well it doesn't have another swingman behind Pierce and Daniels, which was a risky proposition at season's start considering the amount of time Daniels has missed during his career. Ironically, he had appeared in all but one game this season before his scary incident this past weekend and even that absence was related to a family matter and not an injury.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has preached throughout the season that he liked the makeup of this team and said he was content to go the duration with these 15 guys. Now, he's being forced to examine the trade market closer because there's a very real chance that Boston will now have to make a move for a 3 before the deadline (and if they can't facilitate a trade, they might have to sign someone off the scrap heap at the expense of waiving one of their current 15 guaranteed contracts).
Regardless, there's no ideal situation here. Even if Daniels can get healthy before season's end, his projected absence of at least a month is a long time to cover without a backup to Pierce (and even then there's no guarantee Daniels comes back as strong as he was playing before the scare). As Rivers said Wednesday, the team doesn't have anyone who can come in and guard the likes of LeBron James when Pierce goes out.
All of a sudden, Boston yearns for the likes of Tony Allen and James Posey. I've already received 1,473 trade machine suggestions on how to bring back these players. Which is a nice diversion from the daily Rasheed Wallace requests, but some are even suggesting to bring him back and let him play the 3 (after all, he does like to chuck 3's).