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Lakers vs. Celtics game preview: This one matters

The Lakers' season has quickly unraveled into a long 82-game march, but a game against the Celtics stands apart.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers aren't going to win very many games and nobody is going to be surprised. That outlook changes when they hit the court against their historical rival, the Boston Celtics. This one matters. It always does and always will.

There's always going be the underlying desire to watch the Celtics fall to the Lakers. Even if Paul Pierce is wearing a Washington Wizards jersey, Larry Bird is an Indiana Pacers executive and John Havlicek hasn't played a game since April 9, 1978. Beating the Celtics is priority no. 2 for the Lakers, just under winning more titles. Friday night the purple and gold get a chance to do just that.

The Celtics and Lakers are in similar positions. They have one leftover piece from their last successful run (Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo), top rookies from the previous draft (Julius Randle and Marcus Smart) and an assortment of bit players (Evan Turner and Wesley Johnson/half of the Lakers roster). That's amounted to a slightly-better winning percentage for Boston, though a 5-11 record is only marginally higher than the Lakers' 5-14 mark.

Narrative and leprechaun distaste aside, this is going to be a tough game for the Lakers. This will be their third road game in four nights, closing their time away from Los Angeles before they face the New Orleans Pelicans Sunday. Ending the road trip with a 2-1 record would be nice, but lets be honest here. It isn't about ending a three-gamer with a winning record -- it's about beating the Celtics in a game that actually "matters."

Enjoy the game, like Kobe and Rondo enjoyed breakfast.

Time: 4:30 p.m. PT

Station: TWCSN

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