Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: TD Garden in Boston, MA

When: Thursday, February 7th at 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): TNT, Spectrum Sportsnet | 98.5 The Sports Hub, 710 AM ESPN / 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES.

Los Angeles Lakers (Away)

Head Coach: Luke Walton {All-Time 88-129 | LAL}

Seemingly in the middle of every trade scenario in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers still need to focus on the season at hand. With a record of 27-26 in the Western Conference the Los Angeles Lakers are currently tenth with eyes on the playoffs.

Over the last ten games the Lakers boast a losing record. At 4-6 in their last ten, the Lakers need to regain some consistency before they falter out of the playoff hunt. With a dead even point differential (0.0), the Lakers are yet to prove they can compete with the best of the West.

When the Lakers take on the Celtics they will need to be wary of the Celtics’ rounded attack. While the Celtics maintain a number of worrisome injuries, both teams are hungry for a win going into the trade deadline.

Boston Celtics (Home)

Head Coach: Brad Stevens {All-Time 255-208 | BOS}

The Boston Celtics have climbed the Eastern Conference standings recently due to the free fall of the Indiana Pacers. With a record of 34-19 the Celtics are in a three-way tie with the Sixers and Pacers for third in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics, with the benefit of a light schedule, have been brilliant in their last ten matches. Posting a record of 9-1 and a point differential of +6.9, the Celtics have been handling their opponents with ease.

The Celtics will look to take advantage of the Lakers with their guard play in this matchup. The Lakers boast a number of injuries to their stable of guards and are relying on a mixed playmaking attacks of Stephenson and Rondo. Pressure on those two should provide little opportunity for the Lakers reserves.

What’s At Stake?

The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics meet again in one of the fiercest rivalries in sports history. In the all-time series the Boston Celtics lead the Los Angeles Lakers 105-92.

A win for the Los Angeles Lakers would put them within half a game of the Sacramento Kings who are ninth in the Western Conference.

Should the Boston Celtics take a win from their rivals they would be wrest sole possession of third in the East from the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers.

Questions to answer

Is Al Horford the true engine for the Celtics?

Will the Lakers’ interior defence win out?

We are going to compare the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Horford’s Versatility Has Been Key

Al Horford is one of the more understated players in the NBA. This season he is posting fairly average numbers by his standards: 12.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. Despite his rather soft numbers, his versatility is what is most important. Drawing praise from many around the NBA:

“He can protect the rim, he can run dribble hand-offs, and step out to the three point line, and can put the ball on the floor,” said Kerr. “He’s a really good passer, so that means you have to guard the entire floor and there’s nobody to cheat off of.”

Horford will be key to the Celtics’ success against the Lakers. He is currently shooting a very respectable 36% from three and has been as efficient as ever from inside the arc at 61%. Horford’s shooting combined with his excellent passing will be a tough task for the Lakers to manage.

The Lakers Will Force the Celtics Inside

The Lakers boast one of the best interior defences in the NBA. Led by Tyson Chandler and Javale McGee, the oncoming of C Ivica Zubac has made the Lakers one of the most formidable interiors in the NBA.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, the Celtics play a very perimeter-oriented offensive scheme. The Lakers will be forced to close out hard on the Celtics’ myriad of shooters, while being made to recover on passes inside and out.

While Zubac, McGee, and Chandler defend the paint very well, they will be forced to step out on to the perimeter – particularly against the talents of Al Horford from range. If the Lakers guards can feed the Celtic wings to their bigs, they’ll surely be able to force some difficult shots.

Los Angeles Lakers Roster Notes

G Lonzo Ball – 20 Jan 2019 – Out (Left Ankle) – Ball is expected to miss the next four-to-six weeks with a Grade 3 left ankle sprain.

G Josh Hart – 4 Feb 2019 – Day To Day (Knee) – Hart was listed as questionable for Tuesday’s (Feb 5) game against the Pacers.

F LeBron James – 4 Feb 2019 – Day To Day (Rest) – James was listed as probable for Tuesday’s (Jan 5) game against the Pacers.

F Kyle Kuzma – 4 Feb 2019 – Day To Day (Hip) – Kuzma was listed as probable for Tuesday’s (Feb 5) game against the Pacers.

C Ivica Zubac – 4 Feb 2019 – Day To Day (Finger) – Zubac was listed as probable for Tuesday’s (Feb 5) game against the Pacers.

Boston Celtics Roster Notes

G Jabari Bird – 31 Oct 2018 – Out (Personal) – Bird is still on a leave of absence from the team until he handles his legal issues.

C Aron Baynes – 3 Feb 2019 – Out (Foot) – Baynes is expected to miss at least a week.

G Kyrie Irving – 4 Feb 2019 – Out (Left Hip Strain) – Irving has been ruled OUT for Tuesday’s (Feb 5) game.

F Robert Williams – 4 Feb 2019 – Day To Day (Lower Back Soreness) – Williams is listed as Questionable for Tuesday’s (Feb 5) game.

Head-to-Head: Brandon Ingram (LAL) vs Jayson Tatum (BOS)

Brandon Ingram

Small Forward | 6-9, 190lb (206cm, 86kg) | Duke | Exp. 2 Years

17.2 PPG | 3.0 APG | 4.9 RPG | 0.6 SPG | 0.6 BPG | 2.5 TOV | .487 FG% | .292 3P%

Jayson Tatum

Small Forward | 6-8, 208lb (203cm, 94kg) | Duke | Exp. 1 Year

16.1 PPG | 1.8 APG | 6.2 RPG | 1.0 SPG | 0.8 BPG | 1.5 TOV | .451 FG% | .373 3P%

Rumours are abound regarding these two players but one thing is certain, both of these youthful wing players are the future of whatever team they are a part of after the NBA Trade Deadline. By the time this match tips off either player could have a different home. But until further notice, Tatum and Ingram will be the leaders of their squad in this intense rivalry.

Brandon Ingram has taken steps toward stardom every season he’s been in the NBA. As a rookie he was a lanky shooter who struggled to cope with the strength of today’s NBA. Today Ingram shows the maturity and strength to lead a line against the toughest of the NBA. While his three-point shooting has been off this season – inopportune injuries notwithstanding – he has shown himself to be a capable first option with his usage rate and effective field goal percentage rising simultaneously.

Jayson Tatum’s emergence in the 2018 NBA Playoffs essentially forced the Boston Celtics to make him a primary option. While his minutes per game have maintained since his first year, his usage has increased dramatically. After a long feeling out period Tatum has gotten past his early and has posted a positive net rating in every game since January 18th.

Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Boston Celtics favoured over the Los Angeles Lakers by 7.5, with an over/under of 110.