Two traditional powers collide in Staples Centers, when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
The Lakers and Celtics have combined to win 33 titles between them, and the rivalry was rekindled when the two clubs met in two NBA Finals in recent years.
There are other things brewing for both clubs now. The Lakers and Celtics each have high-profile players involved in trade rumors, as Pau Gasol and Rajon Rondo both might be dealt by Thursday's trade deadline.
But most eyes will still be on Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce. Bryant is having an MVP-type season, while Pierce, an L.A. native, continues to put up strong numbers after 13 seasons in the NBA. Bryant and Pierce are known to battle it out, and both are skilled at baiting defenders into fouling them.
Boston will be looking to avenge a home overtime loss to the Lakers on Feb. 9. Bryant got the better of Pierce, as he scored 27 compared to Pierce's 18. Both team shot poorly in that game, particularly the Lakers from beyond the arc, where they hit just one three-pointer on 15 attempts.
The Lakers have an excellent 17-2 record at Staples, while the Celtics are just 5-10 on the road.
The game tips off at about 3:40 EST and will be shown on ABC. A live stream of the game can be found here: http://www.nba.com/leaguepass/index.html
PREDICTION: The Lakers are favored as they are so good at home, and Gasol is basically playing for his Laker life. The veteran big man took only 10 shots in a win over Minnesota, and will likely be more aggressive against a rather under-sized Celtics front court. Expect Pierce to put big numbers, and for Ray Allen to continue to shoot the ball well after an eight-for-12 shooting effort against Portland on Friday. But this game will belong to the Lakers, who are desperate to gain ground on the Clippers, and are excellent on their home court.