The historic Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers rivalry arguably is the greatest in all of sports. A new chapter in the rivalry will be written Saturday when the two legendary franchises square off at TD Garden.
Brad Stevens is well-aware of what it means when the Celtics' green and Lakers' purple and gold take the floor. The C's head coach expanded on what the rivalry means to him, and what he tells his players before a game with such magnitude.
"You always have to remind yourself what you at eight years old would have thought. What you at 15 years old would have thought," Stevens said. "I've said that before when we're getting ready to play the Lakers, to our team. When you're concerned about your role in this game, when you're concerned about how many minutes you play, when you might be going in, don't forget about that 15-year-old who would have died to be on the end of the bench.
"This is a special opportunity, it's a special rivalry. Obviously the opportunity to compete against the very best is always a great challenge. They're excellent. They have an excellent team on top of all that. I think that we certainly will look forward to the challenge and I don't think we will look at it as anything but grateful for the opportunity to compete in the game."
Given the decades of unforgettable Celtics-Lakers showdowns, it likely doesn't take much for Stevens to get his point across to his team.
Saturday's game presents a difficult task for the 10-7 C's. Led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the defending champion Lakers (14-6) are favorites to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy again in 2021.
Tip-off for the matchup is set for 8 p.m. ET. with Celtics Pregame Live at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston.