The greatest rivalry in professional basketball will add another page to its storied history on Thursday night when the Boston Celtics host the Los Angeles Lakers. Will the Lakers hand Boston just its third home loss this season, or will the Cs roll through the LeBron and Davis-less Lake Show? See our Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics predictions and matchup preview below to find out!
Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Boston Celtics Prediction
Most sportsbooks have this line at either 14 or 14.5 points in favor of Boston; we were just able to lock in a great number at 11.5. Nonetheless, we still like the line for Boston as a 14.5-point favorite. This team has been dominant all season long on their home floor (22-2), losing only to the reigning champion Denver Nuggets and the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers, who have won 14 of their past 17 games.
The Cs hold a +12.9 net rating at T.D. Garden and shoot a combined 49% from the field, 40% from behind the arc, and 83% from the free-throw line; they are a force to be reckoned with on the offensive end of the floor. Further, Boston allows opponents to shoot just 44% from the field and 33% from deep at home, exemplifying its two-way dominance and defensive versatility.
This line is exceptionally wide, even with LeBron James and Anthony Davis sidelined due to their injuries; however, the Los Angeles Lakers’ offense is bound to be horrendous. For one, the Cs can rotate Derrick White and Jrue Holiday on D’Angelo Russell throughout the game, showing him different looks and constantly applying pressure. White and Holiday are two of the best perimeter defenders in the league, so Russell and backcourt partner Austin Reaves are in for a long night.
Outside of Reaves and Russell, the Lakers have Taurean Prince, Christian Wood, Rui Hachimura, and Jarred Vanderbilt available. It should go without saying, but we will reiterate anyway: this team will not have offense.
This is a matchup nightmare without James and Davis out there. The Lakers allow the most wide-open (6+ feet) three-point attempts to opponents in the NBA, and opponents knock down 41.2% of those shots against them. On the road, the Lakers’ perimeter defense is an atrocity; they allow opponents to knock down 40% of all three-point attempts.
Without James and Davis, this defense will only be sizably worse than it already has been this season, especially against a team that shoots the most threes in the NBA and hits them at the fourth-highest clip.
Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Boston Celtics Prediction: Celtics -14.5 (-110)
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Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Boston Celtics Best Odds
With both LeBron James and Anthony Davis ruled out for this matchup against Boston, the Lakers enter hostile territory as 14.5-point underdogs. Boston has Moneyline odds of -1200 to take care of business and knock off the severely shorthanded Lake Show, while Los Angeles is a huge +750 underdog to grab an unexpected road win. The Over/Under hovers around 241 points, with both sides holding -110 odds.
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Boston Celtics Injuries
In an unexpected turn of events, the Los Angles Lakers have ruled out both LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (Achilles) for this rivalry game against Boston. James and Davis will join Gabe Vincent (knee) and Cam Reddish (ankle) on the sidelines, leaving the Lakers extremely undermanned for this non-conference bout.
On the other side, Boston only has one player listed on the injury report: Luke Kornet. Kornet is questionable for this matchup against the Lakers with a hamstring injury. However, the Cs will have everyone else available tonight unless they scratch someone late.