Celtics, Lakers completely different from 2010 NBA Finals

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Celtics, Lakers completely different from 2010 NBA Finals

It was only three seasons ago that the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers faced off in a heated Game 7 NBA Finals battle, another chapter in their storied rivalry.

The Lakers captured the trophy in their building, and both teams looked poised to contend again as they left the Staples Center that night.

On Thursday, two very different Celtics and Lakers team will take the court at TD Garden. After years of fighting for homecourt advantage, both clubs are fighting for the playoffs.

The Celtics (25-23) are ranked eighth in the East while the Lakers (23-26) are tenth in the West. Both teams are currently on winning streaks, but both have also struggled with consistency, establishing chemistry with new pieces, and being hit with injuries.

The most glaring difference is not only how the players are performing on the court, but who is on the court. Take a look at how the current Celtics and Lakers teams differ from the squads that fought for it all in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals.

THEN: June 17, 2010

Celtics
Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace

Bench: Glen Davis, Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, Brian Scalabrine

DNP: (coachs decision): Marquis Daniels, Michael Finley, Shelden Williams

Lakers
Starters: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum

Bench: Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Shannon Brown, Josh Powell

DNP: (coachs decision): D.J. Mbenga, Luke Walton

Now: February 7, 2013

Celtics

Still on the Celtics: Garnett, Pierce, Rondo

Still in the NBA: R. Allen (Miami Heat), T. Allen (Memphis Grizzlies), Daniels (Milwaukee Bucks), Davis (Orlando Magic), Robinson (Chicago Bulls), Wallace (New York Knicks)

Out of the NBA: Finley, Scalabrine, Williams

Lakers

Still on the Lakers: Bryant, Gasol, World Peace

Still in the NBA: Brown (Phoenix Suns), Andrew Bynum (Philadelphia 76ers), Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Clippers), Luke Walton (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Out of the NBA: Farmar, Fisher, Mbenga, Powell, Vujacic

Of the six remaining Celtics and Lakers from the 2010 NBA Finals, only four of them will suit up Thursday. Gasol (plantar fascia tear) and Rondo (out for the season, torn ACL) will not.

Six of the current Celtics and Lakers were not in the NBA in 2010. Avery Bradley and Devin Ebanks were drafted just weeks after Game 7, Darius Morris joined the league in 2011, and Fab Melo, Jared Sullinger (out for the season, back) and Robert Sacre were drafted last summer.

At the close of the 2010 NBA season, Garnett had recorded over 22,200 career points. Entering Thursday's game, he is only six shy of 25,000.

Wallace started Game 7 in place of Kendrick Perkins, who injured his knee in Game 6. Perkins currently plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Pistons

WATCH: Celtics vs. Pistons

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics play the Raptors in Toronto. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Pistons preview: C's need to defend their top-four spot in East

Celtics-Pistons preview: C's need to defend their top-four spot in East

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- On Friday night, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan absolutely torched the Boston Celtics. The game before that, it was Chicago’s Jimmy Butler giving the Celtics major fits with a barrage of baskets. 

Both were All-Star starters this year, the kind of lofty status that helps explain how the Celtics were so defensively-challenged in their efforts in limiting them.

Detroit doesn’t have a bona fide high-scoring perimeter star like those other teams, but don’t think for a minute that tonight’s game will be a breeze for the Celtics. Boston (37-21) comes in having lost two in a row to Chicago and Toronto, respectively. The Raptors loss was especially painful because it assured the Raptors would get the higher seed in the playoffs if these two teams finished with an identical record. 

Boston hopes to secure an edge over the Pistons tonight with a victory that will give them the season series, three games to one. While it may seem a bit early to get too caught up in tie-breakers and their importance, the last thing Boston wants is to finish the regular season tied with one or more teams, and wind up with the lower seed because they lost the head-to-head series. 

“You hear people say every game counts; it’s true,” Boston’s Amir Johnson told CSNNE.com. “We need to win as many games as we can because you never know which game could be the difference between having home court or not.”

If Boston continues to find ways to win and finish with a tie-free, top-four finish in the East, they will begin the playoffs at the TD Garden for the first time under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens.

Meanwhile the Pistons are currently eighth in the East and, like the Celtics, they too opted to stand pat at the trade deadline. And like Boston, they are looking for growth from within as they try to make their way up the Eastern Conference standings. 

“We’re not real happy with how we’ve played up to this point overall,” said Stan Van Gundy, the Pistons’ president of basketball operations and head coach. “But we still have a young group. As much as you would like the progress to be steadily uphill, it’s not always. That doesn’t mean you lose faith in your guys. At the end of the day, we ended up standing pat, which is pretty much what we expected to do.”

One of Boston’s biggest concerns coming into the game will be rebounding. It was among the many factors contributing to Boston’s loss on Friday. But as much as execution at both ends of the floor will be a factor, effort will be just as vital if not more, to the success of the Celtics in the playoffs. There were plenty of reasons as to why Boston lost on Friday night, with effort being near the top of the list. 

“They played harder than us,” said Celtics forward Jae Crowder. 

And that was surprising when you consider what was at stake – a chance to push their lead over Toronto to five games with a couple dozen to go.

Rookie forward Jaylen Brown has heard all the reasons and explanations as to why the Celtics have hit a mini-hiccup following back-to-back losses. And he has also heard how Boston blew a golden opportunity to beat Toronto with Raptors all-star Kyle Lowry still out. 

“We didn’t have one of our key guys, either,” said Brown, referring to Avery Bradley still being out with a foot injury. So it’s basketball at the end of the day. It doesn’t’ matter who is on the floor. You have to do your job; we just have to do our job.”