EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – The NBA finals seemed to go on forever last summer, stretching through seven games over two weeks until the exhausted Los Angeles Lakers finally edged the injury-depleted Boston Celtics with their last gasp in the final quarter.

After seven months to recover, the rivals finally are ready to go at each other again.

When they meet today on the same Staples Center court where the Lakers won their 16th title and denied the Celtics their 18th, their epic shared history always looms in the background.

The franchises’ generational animosity has been rekindled, as anybody could tell last June. Just don’t expect them to acknowledge it in late January.

“Playing them doesn’t really bring up anything extra,” Lakers point guard Derek Fisher said with a shrug.

But according to a widespread Internet rumor backed up by photos, Kevin Garnett is expected to wear a special pair of green, suede-covered shoes with “152-120” embroidered on the tongue.

That’s the Celtics’ overall winning record against the Lakers.


TIMBERWOLVES 103, RAPTORS 87: Kevin Love had his NBA-leading 42nd double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Minnesota won at Minneapolis to send Toronto to its 11th straight loss.

BULLS 110, PACERS 89: Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Derrick Rose scored 20 points despite two stomach ulcers and Chicago won at home.

GRIZZLIES 107, WIZARDS 93: Zach Randolph had 24 points and 20 rebounds, Darrell Arthur added a career-high 22 points and Memphis kept Washington winless on the road this season.

BUCKS 91, NETS 81: Andrew Bogut had 17 points and 18 rebounds, and Brandon Jennings had two points in his return after missing 19 games because of a broken foot to help Milwaukee win at home.

MAVERICKS 102, HAWKS 91: Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points, Jason Terry added 18 points and a season-high 11 assists, and Dallas won at home.

SPURS 108, ROCKETS 95: Manu Ginobili scored 22 points and San Antonio became the NBA’s first 40-game winner, winning at home.

NOTES: Bulls forward Taj Gibson had to be helped off the court after injuring his right ankle in the fourth quarter of the game against Indiana. Marvin Williams of Atlanta was suspended for two games and Shawne Williams of New York for one game for throwing punches Friday night. Heat guard Dwyane Wade has a bruised right wrist and is listed as day to day. The team said an MRI exam showed no major problem.