Superstars will be on full display Saturday night as LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers (23-26) take on Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics (35-15). The Celtics will host this one at TD Garden, with tipoff scheduled for 8:30 pm ET.
Los Angeles comes into this one having won three of their last five, including a 113-104 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. In the win, LeBron James flirted with a triple-double as he had 20 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds. Anthony Davis led the scoring for the Lakers with 21 points and 12 boards of his own.
Boston is in the midst of their worst losing streak of the year as they have lost three straight entering play Saturday. On Thursday, they lost in overtime 120-117 to the New York Knicks. Jayson Tatum had 35 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists in the defeat.
The Celtics are the favorites in this one playing at home. They are -290 to win, while the Lakers’ moneyline sits at +235. The spread features the Lakers as 7.5-point underdogs (-110), and the over/under for total points is 237.
Healthy Lakers Look To Make A Move In The West
The Lakers were without their superstar big man Anthony Davis for 20 games as he dealt with a right foot injury. On Wednesday, Davis showed why he can be so valuable to the Lakers’ success.
Albeit in just 26 games, Davis is averaging 27.2 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.2 blocks per game. Adding his production to a lineup that already includes LeBron James is massive for the Lakers chances of rising in the West.
Los Angeles currently sits 11 games back of first in the conference, but they surprisingly sit just three games out of fourth place. With so many teams bundled together, a solid couple weeks could put them right back in contention.
For James, the future Hall-of-Famer is once again showing why he is one of the best to ever play the game. In 39 games, he is averaging 29.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, and seven assists per game. It is worth noting that James is considered questionable for Saturday’s game with an ankle injury.
As a team, the Lakers rank sixth in the league in scoring, averaging 117 points per game. On defense, they have struggled a bit more. They rank 26th in scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of 118 points per game.
Celtics Try To Get Back In Win Column
At 35-15, the Boston Celtics still hold a 2.5-game lead in the Eastern Conference. Still, the team would love to end their current three-game losing streak and get back into the win column at home, where they are 18-6 on the season.
Unlike the Lakers, Boston’s defense ranks in the top-10 in the NBA. Ranked ninth, they are allowing opponents just 112.1 points per game this season.
On offense, they rank fourth overall, averaging 117.6 points per game (121.7 at home). The team is led by forward Jayson Tatum, who is averaging 31.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game.
Jaylon Brown has been almost equally as spectacular, averaging 26.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 44 games.
Choice Might Depend On LeBron James’ Availability
Looking at the trends, the Lakers are 4-2 overall in their last six games, and they are 10-3-1 against the spread in their last 14 contests. Against the Celtics, though, they are just 1-6-1 against the spread in their last eight games.
For the Celtics, they are 0-5 against the spread in their last five games, and while they are 9-3 in their last 12 games, those three losses have been in their last three games. In their last eight home games, they are 7-1 straight up.
This one might come down to the availability of LeBron James. If he can play Saturday, there is a lot of value in taking the Lakers plus the 7.5 points (-110). However, if he is out, the Lakers could be in a tough spot. Anthony Davis is back, but he didn’t start on Wednesday as he missed so much time, and the Lakers might temper his minutes again Saturday.
Keep an eye on the injury report as the game draws closer. If LeBron is in, take the Lakers on the spread, but if not, this might be a get-right game for the Celtics playing at home.