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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:55 PM

Lakers at Celtics Preview

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Lakers at Celtics - 7:35 PM EST, TNT

Betting Odds: Lakers -2, Total 223.5
Provided by DraftKings (IN, NJ & PA only)
Odds subject to change

Following a dominant second half to post a Saturday night win at Houston, the Lakers (34-8 SU, 23-18-1 ATS) embarked for the frigid Northeast as they visit Boston, both New York teams and Philadelphia for the only time this season.

L.A. has visited the East coast once already, sweeping Orlando, Miami and Atlanta. Its impressive win over the Rockets improved the NBA’s top road record to 18-3, one loss fewer than the Bucks, who own their conference’s top road mark.

You have to appreciate LeBron James’ commitment to coming to your city and beating the local team up since it’s clear that’s coming into play to this surprising start to the Lakers’ season. His “washed king” campaign on social media on the heels of missing the postseason for the first time since 2005 and just the third time in his career after suffering a season-altering groin injury has helped drive him to a dominant run in ’19-’20 so far.

This will be his second trip into Boston wearing Purple and Gold. He led L.A. to a 129-128 win at TD Garden last Feb. 7, finishing with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in a game that Rajon Rondo won at the buzzer with a 20-foot jumper. Kyrie Irving shot just 6-for-21 in the loss, often outplayed by Rondo, who had 17 points and 10 assists in what was also a surreal sight for fans who once cheered him wildly as he helped deliver the team’s most recent championship.

Rondo has been dealing with a finger injury and is listed as ‘questionable’, which is the same tag Anthony Davis is going to wear into this matchup as he tries to overcome the glute injury that has cost him the past five games. The Lakers have won four of those contests and came up just short in the fifth, falling to Orlando at home by one point. The expectation hours from tip-off is that Davis will make his return.

Boston has also been dealing with injuries, which is one reason it has lost six of eight and is hoping to avoid a season-worst fourth straight defeat. Although the Celtics (27-14, 23-16-2) covered in Milwaukee thanks to a second-half surge, they have dropped home games against the Spurs, Pistons and Suns during this funk and are just 1-4 in their last five home contests.

Point guard Kemba Walker missed the loss to the Suns due to knee soreness and is questionable. Jaylen Brown has been sidelined due to a thumb injury. Guard Marcus Smart comes off an ankle sprain but should play, as will center Daniel Theis, whose knee has also been feeling sore. Backup center Robert Williams remains out with a hip injury.

The Celtics have won five of the last seven meetings against their rivals from clear across the country, taking advantage of L.A.’s recent demise. Prior to last year’s win, the Lakers hadn’t won at TD Garden since ‘15.

The ‘over’ has prevailed in four straight games involving the Lakers and is 3-0 during the Celtics’ current losing streak despite all the attrition.

Rest of the MLK Day Card

Pistons at Wizards (-1/233), 2:05 p.m. ET: Both teams are stuck in rebuilding mode with John Wall out all season and Blake Griffin now done, but both have at least been entertaining to watch on the offensive end. The high side has prevailed in 11 of 14 involving Detroit, including seven of the last nine on the road. Jordan McRae is dealing with an ankle injury and likely won't play, joining Wall, Rui Hachimura and Moe Wagner among Wizards sidelined.

Raptors at Hawks (-8/231), 2:35 p.m. ET: With Fred VanVleet and Marc Gasol back from hamstring injuries, Toronto is back at full strength after over a month looking to replace key figures. The Raptors won in Atlanta 119-116 on Nov. 23. The 'over' has prevailed in the last three games for both of these teams. Jeff Teague's arrival is expected to take some pressure off Trae Young, adding another playmaker and perimeter defender to the mix.

76ers (-2.5) at Nets, 3:05 p.m. ET: The Nets haven't had much success with Kyrie Irving back, losing each time out to slip to 5-10 when he plays and 13-13 without him. Philly won 117-106 at home on Wednesday, but the Nets beat the 76ers by 20 points without him on Dec. 15. The Sixers are still minus Joel Embiid but have won three straight. Nets center DeAndre Jordan (finger) and backup forward Wilson Chandler (hamstring) are out. Joe Harris and Garrett Temple will return.

Kings at Heat (-4/218), 5:05 p.m. ET: Miami returns home to try and improve on the NFL's top record (18-1) on their home floor after falling in San Antonio on Sunday afternoon. NOTE: Jimmy Butler has been sidelined just before tip-off. Rookie sniper Tyler Herro remains out with a knee issue. The Kings have beaten the Heat four straight times, which includes winning twice at the Triple-A. Sacramento hadn't won in South Florida since '01 prior to '18. The 'over' is 5-2 in the Heat's last seven and 4-0 through the Kings' losing streak.

Bulls at Bucks (-15/225), 5:05 p.m. ET: Milwaukee is 20-2 at home and will be looking to wrap up a regular-season sweep, having already won by nine, 14 and 21 points. The 'over' is 2-1. Zach LaVine comes off a 42-point game and will undoubtedly be the focus of the Bucks' defense. The 'under' is on a 4-1 run in Chicago games.

Knicks at Cavs (-1.5/221.5), 5:05 p.m. ET: This one involves two of the league's bottom-four, record-wise, so there isn't much appeal. New York has lost all five of its road trips in '20, covering only once. The Cavs are 0-4 at home in January, covering only once. Knicks rookie R.J. Barrett will miss the first of what will likely be a few games after suffering an ankle sprain.

Magic (-4/207.5) at Hornets, 5:05 p.m. ET: Markelle Fultz has really found his game on the West Coast, so even though they come off a loss at Golden State, the Magic returns to the East coast excited. They'll be back home for three straight after this stop and are seeing division rival Charlotte for the first time this season. Steve Clifford has won consecutive games against his former team. The Hornets had won 13 in a row against the Magic. The Hornets have a huge edge legs-wise, coming in on four-days rest while Orlando concludes its season's longest roadie.

Thunder at Rockets (-6.5/229), 5:05 p.m. ET: Houston is 14-6 at the Toyota Center and had won five straight (4-1 ATS) there prior to back-to-back losses against the Blazers and Lakers. The Rockets will be looking to avoid their first four-game losing streak of the season and may have to rely on Russell Westbrook more against his former team since James Harden is struggling, shooting better than 40 percent in only one of the last six games. That includes his 5-for-17 night in Westbrook's return to Oklahoma City on Jan. 9. He's shooting 34 percent against the Thunder over two games this season. Chris Paul badly wanted to lead his new team to a win in Houston the first time OKC came through but played terribly, committing a season-high six turnovers. Count on him being better today. Steven Adams should be able to play more minutes after returning to the lineup in a limited capacity over the weekend. Key defenders from both teams, OKC's Terrance Ferguson and Houston's Austin Rivers, are questionable.

Pelicans at Grizzlies (-2), 5:05 p.m. ET: Memphis carries the league's longest winning streak into this attractive showdown with New Orleans. While Zion Williamson's return won't come until mid-week, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball have really picked up their level of play to help lead the Pels' playoff courtesy of a 9-4 run. The 'over' has cashed in 10 consecutive games involving the Pels. Memphis is averaging 124.3 points during its win streak but the over is still 4-3 due to how large the totals have been. Jrue Holiday is listed as 'questionable' after sitting the past few games. Williamson was listed as 'doubtful' instead of out.

Nuggets at Timberwolves (-2.5/218.5), 8:05 p.m. ET: Denver will again be minus starters Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Paul Millsap and come into town after a physical home date against the Pacers on Sunday night. Karl-Anthony Towns is finally back for Minnesota and has some practice in given the new dyanmic with Teague gone. Allen Crabbe, acquired from Atlanta, may debut. The Wolves have dropped five in a row but have covered in their first two losses against the Nuggets, part of a six-game skid in this series.

Pacers at Jazz (-7/217), 9:05 p.m. ET: The Jazz have won 16 of 18 and own a seven-game winning streak at home, while the Pacers haven’t prevailed on the second night of a back-to-back in each of their last four tries. Utah has point guard Mike Conley back and deployed him off the bench in his return on Saturday night. The Pacers have won five of six in this series, which features two of the NBA's top shot-blockers in Myles Turner and Rudy Gobert.

Spurs at Suns (-4.5/228), 9:05 p.m. ET: San Antonio snapped a two-game losing streak by pulling out a comeback win over Miami. Phoenix is back home after pulling off an upset in Boston to close out a three-game trip that culminated with a pair of wins and saw Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker, Ricky Rubio and Mikael Bridges playing their best ball of the season. Forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. will join the party, having cleared the league's concussion protocol. Rudy Gay has been ill and may not be available.

Warriors at Trail Blazers (-8), 10:05 p.m. ET: Golden State finally ended its losing streak at 10 games, getting on the board in 2020 with a Saturday night upset of the Magic. The Warriors will be looking for their first road conquest since Dec. 6, having fallen in seven straight outside of the Bay Area. The Trail Blazers won't have shooting guard CJ McCollum for a second straight game due to an ankle sprain. Getting this first of a four-game homestand is vital since Portland's next three opponents will all arrive with winning records. The under is 6-1 over the last seven games involving the Dubs.

Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA or e-mail him at [email protected]


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