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Celtics vs. Lakers 2011: Lakers Will Turn It On When It Matters

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 10:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers tries to get around Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics on February 10, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Lakers defeated the Celtics 92-86. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Mike RCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2011

The most overused term thus far in 2011 by ESPN? Panic meter. It's February in the marathon that is the 82 game National Basketball Association regular season.

I'm a Boston Celtics fan, but are the fears and worries expressed on ESPN and other channels legitimate for the Los Angeles Lakers? Is Kobe Bryant injured? The answer to both questions is no.

The Lakers are two-time defending champions of the NBA. In the last two seasons, the Lakers have brought home the championship against the self-proclaimed Superman of the paint—Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic—and followed it up with a seven game series victory over the veteran (and injury-prone) Boston Celtics.

Both years going into it the Lakers were overlooked—the first year was the chance the Celtics could repeat, and then Superman hype for the Finals.

Last year was the quest for "a ring for the King" with Shaq and LeBron.

This year, the theme seems to be the Lakers are content with two in a row, the San Antonio Spurs are tough, and Miami (despite having three of the best players in the league together) can't beat Boston.

When it comes down to it, the Lakers will flip the switch at the right time. Playoff matchups are best of seven, not one-and-done.

A reporter yesterday said the Lakers can have three bad games like they did against Orlando on Sunday and they would still be able to win and advance in the playoffs. I think the Celtics are going to be too much for the Heat, unless injuries start to come calling on the aging veterans.

I see the Lakers vying for a three-peat, but Boston getting one more on the farewell tour of the (legitimate, not self-proclaimed, ring-wearing) Big Three.

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