Stars From Six Decades Of Celtics-Lakers Rivalry Clash In One Game

Our on-line draft of 32 Celtics stars is complete, and we have now whittled down that number to the Sweet Sixteen. The only current player to make the cut is Al Horford. The remaining 15 Boston players are either retired or deceased, having played for The Green for more than two full seasons over the past sixty years. The 16 stars from the Lakers squad is as formidable.


CELTICS:

BIGS

Bill Russell
Dave Cowens
Robert Parish
Al Horford

WINGS

Kevin Garnett
John Havlicek
Paul Pierce
Larry Bird
Tom Heinsohn
Kevin McHale
Reggie Lewis
Dennis Johnson
Sam Jones

BALL HANDLERS

Bob Cousy
JoJo White
Tiny Archibald

LAKERS:

BIGS

Wilt Chamberlain
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Shaquille O'Neal
Pau Gasol
George Mikan

WINGS

Magic Johnson
Elgin Baylor
Kobe Bryant
James Worthy
Bob MaAdoo
Jamaal Wilkes
Michael Cooper

BALL HANDLERS
Jerry West
Byron Scott
Gail Goodrich
Derek Fisher

What sticks out immediately is the triple-tower combo of Wilt, Shaq and Kareem. The Celtics can't match the length of this trio, but if Red Auerbach is at the helm for the Boston group, expect the Guys in Green to run - and keep running. The quintet to accomplish that would consist of Russ, Cowens, Bird, Hondo and Cooz. Bill, Cooz and "Jarrin" John were infamous for running opponents into the ground with fast breaks ignited by Russell's rebounding and long outlet passes. In the end, none of the huge center trio for Los Angeles can match Russ' supreme athleticism, Cowens' quickness, McHale's inside moves, Garnett's intensity or the mid-range shooting of Robert and Al.


If LA's starting back court consisted of West and Bryant, the best defensive remedy for the Celtics would be Havlicek and Dennis Johnson. Tiny and JoJo could always penetrate, but their outside shooting and facilitation would be the tickets to a victory. Sam following the break would get many opportunities to once again loft outside shots over the fingertips of Wilt. And at the wing position, Reggie's lightning baseline drives, Tommy's hook shots and rebounding and Paul's persistent pressure on the offensive end can't be minimized.

Let's face it. These 16-man rosters are omnipotent. But if I was forced to pick my all-time top-5 from each team (assuming they play in the modern NBA), for Boston I would go with Big Bill at center, Bird at small forward, Hondo at shooting guard and DJ at the point. How about the power forward slot? Give me either Dave Cowens, Kevin McHale or Kevin Garnett for that position. It's just too close to call.


For the Lakers, it is West and Kobe in the back court, Wilt at center, Kareem at power forward and Magic at small forward. And the LA bench can't be ignored, with Shaq, Gasol, Worthy, Baylor and Goodrich in the second unit. And never forget that revered UCLA coach, John Wooden, once called "Silk" Wilkes the "ideal" basketball player. So who wins in a one-game series? What do you think.


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