The NBA’s biggest rivals are set to square off on Thursday night at the TD Garden in Boston. The red-hot Celtics will host the struggling Los Angeles Lakers in a game that will certainly have a ton of hype. This is the first meeting between the Lakers and Celtics this season and is also a reunion of Kyrie Irving and LeBron James.
Boston comes into this game having won five straight games, and are climbing in the Eastern Conference standings. The Celtics have improved to 35-19 on the season, and sit just 3.5 games in back of the Toronto Raptors. The Lakers have fallen out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference, and are just 27-27 on the season. Boston is an eight-point favorite over the Lakers in this game.
Lakers Young Guys Look Distracted
There have been plenty of trade rumors surrounding the Lakers of late, and they look to be affecting the Los Angeles team. The Lakers have lost two straight games, including a 42-point loss to the Pacers in their previous game. LeBron is the clear leader of this Lakers team, but he is going to need some of these young players if they are going to win games. Playing in Boston is never easy, and won’t go very well for a distracted team.
LeBron James is doing all that he can to carry his Lakers team, but he can’t do it alone. “King” James is averaging 26.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game this season, but his team is in real danger of missing the playoffs. The Lakers are right around league average in scoring but have struggled mightily on the defensive end. Solving for Anthony Davis will improve the Lakers, but they have plenty of flaws.
Injuries Not Slowing Down Celtics
The Boston Celtics have been hit hard by the injury bug of late, but it hasn’t kept them from climbing in the standings. Boston will be without center Aron Baynes until after the All-Star Break, and Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris could also be out for this game. Irving leads the Celtics with 23.8 points per game, while Morris is one of the best LeBron defenders in the league.
Even without Kyrie in the lineup on Tuesday night, the Celtics still managed to notch their fifth straight win. Jayson Tatum poured in a team-high 25 points in that game and is plenty capable of carrying the Boston offense. The Celtics have also been playing terrific defense all season long, allowing under 106 points per game. Boston is one of the deepest teams in the NBA this season, and a few injuries won’t slow them down.
Celtics Blow Out Rivals
The Lakers and Celtics have had some great games throughout the years, but this likely won’t be one of them. Boston is one of the best teams in the NBA this season, and the Lakers are a young and struggling team. LeBron James will want to put on a show against the Celtics, but his team won’t give him enough support. Bet the Boston Celtics -8.0 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.