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Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics Game Preview and Prediction

The inter-conference foes will meet at the TD Garden on Thursday when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Boston Celtics, hoping to avoid the third straight defeat and seventh in the last nine games, while the hosts are looking for the sixth consecutive victories and fourth in a row in front of their own crowd. Boston has been a better team in the recent H2H duels as they won four of the last five meetings but Los Angeles won the latest encounter, while this will be their first meeting of the season.

NBA: Thursday, February 7, 2019, TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, 2:00 PM ET

 

Los Angeles Lakers were destroyed by the Pacers on the road

Los Angeles is not playing well at the moment as they lost six of the previous eight games including the most recent one to the Indiana Pacers on the road. The Lakers now dropped to the 27-27 record and are currently sitting in the 10th position in the Western Conference with ten wins behind the conference and Pacific Division leaders Golden State Warriors, and three wins behind their city rival Los Angeles Clippers who are in the 8th place right now. Los Angeles must improve quickly if they want to reach the playoffs but it’s going to be extremely hard to beat the in-form Celtics in this one.

LeBron James led the Lakers in a 136-94 loss to the Pacers with 18 points, game-high nine assists, and team-high seven rebounds; JaVale McGee added 16 points and four boards, Lance Stephenson chipped in with 13 points off the bench, while Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma scored 12 points apiece. Los Angeles struggled for the entire game and scored just 46 points in the opening half, allowing even 69 points in return and after such a poor display in the first half, the visitors couldn’t get the things going in the second 24 minutes. The Lakers were awful from downtown as they hit miserable four triples in opposite to Indiana’s 19, while the hosts dominated the boards (41-34), assists (37-25), steals (11-5), and blocks (7-2).

The Lakers traded SviMykhailiuk and a draft pick for Detroit Piston’s Reggie Bullock but Bullock will not be available for Thursday’s game against the Celtics. Josh Hart is unavailable due to the left knee injury, while Lonzo Ball is also sidelined and will not feature in this one.

The Lakers have the 14th offense in the NBA that averages 111.8 points per contest, while their defense allows 112.6 points per game (22nd). Los Angeles’ rebounding is in top 5 as they are recording 47.2 boards per game (4th), while they are not that good when it comes to assists per contest with 24.6 dishes a night (13th). Los Angeles is 6th in field goal percentage as they have 47.3 percent from the floor and 29th from downtown with 33.4 percentage, while they are 22nd in the NBA with 10.1 three-pointers made per game.

Boston Celtics are back home following a road win over Cleveland

Boston’s previous five-game winning run was ended by the reigning champions Golden State Warriors but the Celtics responded with another five-game winning streak with the latest win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road. The Celtics now improved to the 35-19 record and are in the 3rd place in the Eastern Conference with four wins behind the conference leaders Milwaukee Bucks and four behind the Atlantic Division rivals Toronto Raptors. Boston will almost certainly make it to the playoffs, while the competition for the top spot in the Atlantic is quite fierce as both Toronto and Philadelphia are playing well.

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics in a 103-96 win over the Cavaliers with 25 points, team-high seven rebounds, and game-high three blocks; Gordon Hayward chipped in with 18 points, six boards, and five assists off the bench, Marcus Smart had 17 points, five rebounds, and four dimes, while Jaylen Brown finished the clash with 13 points, seven rebounds, and two rejections. Boston was pretty tied with Cleveland in three quarters but they won the second quarter by ten points and that period turned out to be crucial here. The Celtics dominated the assists (29-21) and were excellent in the defense, recording even ten steals in opposite to the Cavs’ zero.

Marcus Morris (right knee soreness) missed the game in Cleveland but will play on Thursday against the Lakers, while Aron Baynes (left foot contusion) will miss the next few weeks due some foot soreness that has been bothering him for some time now.

The Celtics have the 12th offense in the NBA that averages 112.7 points per contest, while their defense is the fourth-best in the league as it allows 105.8 points per game. Boston’s rebounding is average as they are recording 45.1 boards per game (16th), while they are better when it comes to assists per contest with 26.3 dishes a night (6th). Boston is 13th in field goal percentage as they have 46.4 percent from the floor and 6th from downtown with 36.9 percentage, while they are 3rd in the NBA with 13.1 three-pointers made per game.

Trends:

Los Angeles:

  • 4-16-1 ATS in their last 21 vs. Eastern Conference rivals
  • 0-4 ATS in their last four vs. NBA Atlantic rivals
  • 2-5 ATS in their last seven games vs. an opponent with a winning percentage above .600

Boston:

  • 37-17 ATS in their last 54 games played at home
  • 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games played at home vs. an opponent with a losing road record
  • 4-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss

The Winner Prediction

Boston won five out of the previous ten h2H encounters including the four out of the last five, while the Celtics were victorious in three of the past four meetings at the TD Garden. The Lakers lost three of their last four games on the road, while the Celtics won 13 of their previous 14 at home, and considering the rivals’ current form, I am backing Boston to get a win here. The Celtics have a strong defense, especially at home and Los Angeles struggled offensively in their last two on the road scoring just 101 and 94 points, respectively, and I am backing the home team’s D to prevail in this one.

The Pick: Boston Celtics -8.5 (-110)

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