With both sides securing spots in their respective Conference Finals in 2023, but neither making it all the way to the Finals, a compelling question emerges: Will we witness another chapter in this historic rivalry with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers going head-to-head in the 2024 NBA Finals?
12 Finals match-ups in 64 years: Brief history of the Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers rivalry
We have seen the most storied rivalry unfold over the years, dating back to their first meeting in 1959. Over the course of six decades, we have seen these two basketball heavyweights clash in 12 NBA Finals with the most recent meeting being in 2010. Although the Lakers would get the upper hand in their most recent Finals series, Boston can boast a 9-3 Finals record against their formidable foes. Throughout those years we have seen both sides flourish, stacked to the brim with some of the best talent the NBA has ever seen, from Larry Bird and Bill Russell in the infamous Celtics green to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant in the Lakers’ iconic purple and gold.
While this rivalry has led to some unbelievable showdowns in the Finals, both have earned plenty of rings in the years the other hasn’t made it. 34 championships have been won in total, evenly split between the two organizations at 17 Championship wins a piece. With the race for Banner 18 starting again as the 2023-24 season looms, can this rivalry escape Finals limbo with these two iconic organizations locking horns in the Finals yet again?
It looked like it could happen in the 2023 playoffs
Celtics vs. Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals, Lakers vs. Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals and both sets of fans praying for Finals clash No. 13. Tatum vs. LeBron, 17 rings vs. 17 rings, the battle for championship No. 18. A fight for the bragging rights of being the most successful organization in NBA history – Hollywood movies don’t get storylines as good as that.
Both the Lakers/Nuggets and the Celtics/Miami series quickly crushed the thoughts of Finals clash No.13 early as Denver and Miami both took an imposing 3-0 lead. The Lakers wouldn’t make it past Game 4 as a formidable Nuggets side, led by the 2x MVP Nicola Jokic, flexed their prowess and showed why they would be the eventual 2023 NBA Champions.
While the Lakers didn’t put up much of a fight against the daunting task of being 3-0 down, Boston would come out swinging, tying the series 3-3 and forcing a Game 7. However, like the Lakers, the Celtics would fall short, missing out on their 2nd Finals appearance in as many years, adding to the growing Celtics-Heat rivalry.
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers boast revamped sides ahead of the 2024 season
It has been a busy offseason throughout the league and both the Celtics and the Lakers have added some key signings to their already robust squads.
The Lakers added some noteworthy players this offseason including Cam Reddish, Christian Wood, Jaxson Hayes, and Gabe Vincent to their Western Conference Finals-level squad. In addition to this, some of their players are expected to have a significant jump this season, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura being the most notable. Rui looked exceptional coming off their bench, especially during the playoffs and Lakers fans are excited to see how well he can perform this season. Reaves demonstrated his abilities last season, putting in some solid performances – even his showing during the FIBA World Cup became a huge talking point this summer. If LeBron and Anthony Davis play at their best, Reaves and Rui step up again and their new additions prove to be the right choices, the Lakers have a strong chance of making the NBA finals this season.
The Boston Celtics added some significant acquisitions of their own this offseason, with the main addition on everyone’s radar being the 7-foot-3 Latvian, Kristaps Porzingis, who looks to be a great addition. Last season he averaged 23.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, and 1.5 BPG, earning him a trade to Beantown. As well as Porzingis, the Celtics have added some strong players like Oshae Brissett, Svi Mykhailiuk, Dalano Banton, and fan-favorite rookie Jordan Walsh – who excelled during the summer league. The already-established names will have this additional backup for the 2023-24 season, taking some of the pressure away from Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, Robert Williams III, and company. Boston players will be coming into the season fueled by the near misses of the past couple of seasons, and their determination well and truly ignited. If all these new additions can play at the levels expected when repping the Boston green, in addition to the already-established stars, Boston, like the Lakers, could secure a place in this season’s NBA Finals.
A 2024 Finals match-up of the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers, as they fight for their 18th championship, sounds like it could be a genuine possibility this season. Both organizations have made changes for the better, and since coming so close last season, they will both be determined to make it all the way this year.
It’s a match-up that fans and NBA enthusiasts alike wouldn’t be able to keep their eyes off. Will we see this rivalry reach new heights with a 13th Finals face-off? I think it’s definitely a possibility.