The rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers is historically infamous and there are so many reasons why. The supporters of either side swear their team is better, but these frenemy teams seem to be in a deadlock for who is really the best. What are the real reasons for this rivalry and why are the matches so interesting?
Both teams are successful
Fans of either team know the success of the Celtics and the Lakers is undeniable. Out of 65 NBA championships, either the Lakers or the Celtics have won. This means that more than half of the championships have been won by these two teams. What’s even more shocking is that 40 of the championships saw either the Lakers or the Celtics in the finals. The Celtics have a rich history that underlines their success. The first few years were not so hot for the Celtics until they got a new coach, Red Auerbach. No one can talk about the Celtics’ success without mentioning the man that got them there. He started coaching the team in 1951, and later became an icon in history when he assigned an African-American player to his lineup. This was controversial back then, but now shows the innovation Red had as a coach. His first year of coaching helped the Celtics go all the way to the finals, but they ended up losing. His smart moves then built up a winning streak of 16 championships. The Celtics’ work ethic still lives today.
The Lakers’ success was immediate, and the team won the 1948 championship in the same year it was inaugurated into the NBA. They had a history of winning prior to this in the NBL, and they show the same winning consistency until today. They have only missed postseason five times – which is small compared to the Celtics’ 16 times. This team was the only West Coast based team for a long time, which was very refreshing as well. In the 1970s, the team set the record for the most consecutive wins, having 33 wins at one point. After a dip in performance in the 1990s, the team picked up Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. This duo led the team to become an even bigger success in the last two decades. So when you watch a Celtics-Lakers match and the atmosphere is electric, it’s because you’re watching a historic rivalry that includes both teams’ huge successes. Every match is like a battle of titans.
The stakes are high
A Celtics-Lakers match is no ordinary match. It’s a meeting of giants, and the fans understand this. They don’t just want their team to win, they need their team to become the greatest. Since their first meeting, the Celtics and the Lakers have versed each other 364 more times, and every match is high stakes. Since they are both wanting to be the best, they want to beat each other, because, after all, you have to beat the best to be the best. That’s why winning doesn’t just mean victory at that time – it goes beyond that. It’s a way to solidify the fact that the team who won is the best. But this isn’t easy, considering the teams are so equal in skill, and that makes winning a nerve-wracking ordeal. The match is won point-by-point instead of by a landslide, meaning the fans hold their breath until the last second.