Kobe Bryant's favorite color might be green, but the Black Mamba reiterated he bleeds purple and gold following their loss to the Charlotte Hornets. The Los Angeles Lakers pay a visit to the Boston Celtics, serving as Kobe's final visit to TD Garden. This is one of the major "landmark" games of his farewell tour, making for an opportunity to put on a show in front of a fanbase that should hate him.
The story would be very different if the Lakers were competitive, but the Celtics are bundled up in a tight bunch vying for the bottom seeds of the Eastern Conference playoffs. They'll come out looking to take care of business in a game they should win, especially with Marcus Smart back in the lineup after missing time six weeks with a left knee injury. This should not only make for a great challenge for D'Angelo Russell, but is also a chance for Julius Randle to make Boston pay for passing on him. Sort of like how the Celtics passed on Kobe in 1996, which is the story told in this fantastic read by Baxter Holmes of ESPN.
Randle -- who's never been shy about his idolization of Kobe -- should come out looking to give Boston a reason to hate him. Julius and D'Angelo are both expected to play off the bench, with head coach Byron Scott planning to re-evaluate the rotation following their last game in December.
Kobe had a pseudo goodbye from Michael Jordan in Charlotte, but his final game in Boston is something deeper than that. The Lakers have been getting crushed on this road trip -- barring outstanding nights from Larry Nance, Jr. and Brandon Bass -- but the chance of what this game could be and what it ultimately means to the Lakers franchise, it'll be hard to turn away.
"Challenge accepted," the Lakers whisper.
Enjoy the game. Beat Boston.
Time: 4:30 p.m. PT
TV: TWCSN, CSNE, NBA TV