The NBA D-League's version of Celtics vs. Lakers will take place for the very first time tonight - Maine Red Claws/NBAE/Getty Images
Tonight will mark the first ever meeting between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers NBADL affiliates. The Maine Red Claws will be wearing Celtic colors to help fully embrace the "Beat L.A.!" attitude that has been developed after numerous storied battles between Boston and L.A. But, can this rivalry really translate over into the NBA D-League?
The Maine Red Claws are 2-0, and will be looking to extend their winning ways tonight against the Los Angeles D-Fenders, who opened up their season with a win at home against the Idaho Stampede. Both teams carry players who have suited up for their NBA affiliate this season in some fashion, and the most storied rivalry in all of sports will now look to carry on at the NBA D-League level.
Due to the extremely close connections both teams have to their NBA franchises, and with fans sporting "Beat LA!" t-shirts in the Portland Expo tonight, the one and only match-up scheduled this season between the Red Claws and D-Fenders could possibly simulate a Celtics vs. Lakers atmosphere. Alright, tonight probably won't supply a dramatic moment such as Paul Pierce's wheelchair game, but the effort in recognizing the unique relationship the Celtics and Lakers have from a historical perspective, is a great way to draw in fans who are looking for even more NBA connections in the D-League.
Fab Melo, Micah Downs, Robert Sacre and Darius Johnson-Odom all have spent some sort of time in a Celtics or Lakers uniform whether it be in the regular season or in training camp this season. All four players will play a significant role in tonight's game, and each player has a chance to be a future member and contributor to either the Celtics or Lakers, which makes tonight that much more intriguing for any Celtics or Lakers fan.
Kris Joseph who led the way for Maine so far this season has been recalled back to the Celtics. Joseph averaged 25.5 points per game. However, Chris Wright and Micah Downs are both averaging above 20 points in their first two contests, and will look to add additional offense to make up for Joseph's absence. Fab Melo is averging 2.5 blocks per game which leads the team, and will look to match up his defensive skills against 7-footer Robert Sacre. Sacre is the latest assignment player to land in a D-Fenders uniform from the Lakers and scored 10 points, while grabbing 13 rebounds amidst early foul trouble in the D's opening game.
Darius Johnson-Odom and Shevlin Mack will be a great match up to watch in tonight's game. DJO led the D-Fenders in scoring, with 30 points while he added 6 rebounds and 4 assists against Idaho. Mack is averaging 19.0 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in his two games. Both players are NBA caliber guards, and will look to take it to each other in what will likely be a very heated game down the stretch given the atmosphere tonight.
The "Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!" chants will be in full force as the NBA D-League's inaugural version of Celtics vs. Lakers will take place tonight.