The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics have one of the most historic rivalries not just in basketball but in all of American Sports. No two teams in the NBA have squared off in the NBA Finals as many as these two juggernauts and every time they play each other it is much-see TV.
Thanks to the NBA's schedule-making procedures, fans get to see the Lakers and Celtics square off twice a season. This allows the rivalry to keep its novelty without it being overexposed. It is the perfect balance that has created a must-see matchup every single time.
Unfortunately, Thursday's matchup between the Lakers and Celtics went from can't-miss to must-avoid. Lakers fans are only setting themselves up to get disappointed if they watch the game as both Anthony Davis and LeBron James will be out of action.
Lakers obviously don't care about Celtics rivalry with LeBron James and Anthony Davis out
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the Los Angeles Lakers taking the long-term approach and not rushing Anthony Davis back or loading up even more minutes on LeBron James. The long-term vision is always the best vision to have.
That being said, the fact that LeBron is sitting this game might be more of an admission of defeat if nothing else. LeBron has played without AD several times this season and has had a workload much larger than expected at the beginning of the season. Picking this spot to not play certainly is intentional.
LeBron and the team likely saw the writing on the wall. Without Davis, the Lakers stood no real chance against the best team in the league. Rather than have LeBron go out there and try to play Super-Man in February, the team is taking its medicine and moving on.
The disappointing part is that the Celtics aren't just the best team in the league, they are the Lakers' biggest rivals. If Los Angeles did this against a team like the Bucks it would be one thing. But to do it against the Celtics? That is at least a bit disappointing.
But hey, at the end of the day, one game in February isn't going to be the difference between winning the title and missing the playoffs. Heck, it might even help the Lakers to lose and get Darvin Ham's seat even warmer in the process.