After losing twice to the Celtics this season, Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant and coach Phil Jackson gave them high praise. In fact, Bryant said he wouldn't be surprised to see the Celtics in the NBA Finals. "There are only a couple teams in the Eastern Conference that really stand out: the Pistons and the Celtics," Bryant said. "They're pretty much the cream of the crop of the Eastern Conference."
When asked if the Celtics were the NBA's best team, Jackson said, "They certainly have been with us. I think Detroit is playing really well, too. But [of] the teams we have seen so far, they have shined." Bryant also gave high praise to the Celtics' supporting cast. "It's not just [Allen, Garnett, and Pierce]," Bryant said. "If you just had them, it would be easy to defend those guys because you could always pack it in. They made some great additions. They got great defensive presence coming off the bench. They are all shooters."
The Celtics took yesterday off and resume practice today in Waltham ... Rockets star Tracy McGrady told the Houston Chronicle that he doubts he will play against the Celtics tomorrow because of bone bruise in his left knee.