NBA Odds & Predictions: Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics Thursday February 7th, 2019
Soaring Celtics Host Sinking Lakers at Completion of Trade Deadline
The Boston Celtics are rounding into form with the playoffs coming into view. They’ve won ten of their last 11 games including a couple of big wins over some fellow contenders. The Los Angeles Lakers are just 1-2 since LeBron James returned to the lineup after his extended absence. This is game four of their six-game cross country road trip.
The Celtics have been facing a fairly soft schedule of late with eight of their games -and wins- against teams close to the bottom of the standings. But this streak got started with a solid win over Toronto and two games ago they also beat the Thunder 134-129 in a thrilling game on Sunday. Last time out they beat the Cavaliers 103-96.
With so many skilled players, both young and veteran it has taken time for the Celtics to figure out each other’s roles, the pecking order and how to come together as a team. Kyrie Irving has been leading the way and upping his game lately. He’s averaging 28.3 PPG in his last nine games, but has missed four of the team’s last 13 games with nagging injuries. He’s expected back in the lineup for this one.
The Lakers struggled mightily with James out of the lineup and in the days leading up to the trade deadline has been dealing with rumors of the team’s imminent breakup. That’s because Anthony Davis is in play and many of the young players on the Lakers would be going the other way if he’s acquired.
That kind of stress seemed to be evident on Tuesday when they visited a Pacers team without their best player, Victor Oladipo in the lineup. The Lakers lost 136-94 and James led the way, scoring just 18 points in the loss. They allowed seven Pacers to score in double digits led by Bojan Bogdanovic who had 24 points.
Los Angeles is now 27-27, 2.5 games behind the Clippers for the last playoff spot in the West and 2-6 in their last eight games.
Boston is averaging 116.5 PPG in their last 11 games and allowing 106.2 PPG over that span.
The Lakers are 4-7 in their last 11, scoring 111.7 PPG and allowing 119.2 PPG over that span.
A Boston-LA matchup should bring about the best in both teams, and it’ll be great for the Lakers to have the trade deadline in the rear-view mirror, but it’s hard to see them keeping up with Boston who have been even better at home of late. The Pick: Celtics 126-110.