Below, we have an in-depth analysis of this matchup, including our betting picks and predictions, projected starting lineups, current betting odds, and updated injury reports.
Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Boston Celtics Betting Odds
The Los Angeles Lakers are 8.5-point road underdogs against Boston on Saturday. The Celtics will be without Marcus Smart due to an ankle injury that he recently suffered; he will be out for at least one-to-two more weeks.
Danilo Gallinari is also listed as out and will not return to action until the playoffs at the earliest.
For Los Angeles, it will miss Austin Reaves, while LeBron James and Lonnie Walker IV are listed as questionable.
Anthony Davis is probable heading into this matchup after missing roughly one month of action.
Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Boston Celtics Prediction
Boston may not be executing on the offensive end of the floor as well as it was at the beginning of the 2022-23 season, but it has made up for it on defense.
Since the Celtics’ horrendous outing against the Oklahoma City Thunder in early January, when they gave up 150 points, they have had the third-lowest defensive rating in the NBA.
They have been showcasing the defensive IQ and intensity that helped them get to the NBA Finals last season.
Still, that did not help them enough in their past three games; they dropped all of them. The one common denominator was the absence of Marcus Smart, the Celtics’ leader and starting point guard.
Smart plays a pivotal role for the C’s, and when he doesn’t play, Boston has merely gone 5-4 this season.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles finally has Anthony Davis back after he missed nearly one month of action due to a lower extremity injury, which is generally a scary injury for big men.
Davis will probably be on a minutes restriction against Boston, so his impact could be slightly lesser than usual.
Still, since mid-November, the Lakers have gone 10-5 when AD plays, further exemplifying his importance to this team.
While the Lakers are not a fully healthy team currently, they should have enough help to compete with Boston on the road. I don’t anticipate them winning, but they should keep it close.
- Los Angeles is 10-13-1 ATS on the road in 2022-23
- Boston is 13-11 ATS at home in 2022-23
- The combined over record of these two teams is 49-48-2 in 2022-23
Our key matchup for the most anticipated game during NBA Rivals Week is none other than LeBron James versus Jayson Tatum.
Check out below which player has the advantage in this battle between two superstars!
LeBron James vs. Jayson Tatum
Every time that it seems like LeBron James will have to pass the torch to the superstars of the next generation, he does something amazing.
In fact, since turning 38 years old, James has posted averages of roughly 34 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists on 51% shooting from the field.
James’ game is ageless, and slowing down simply isn’t in his vocabulary.
Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum has hovered around the top of the MVP ladder all season long due to his exceptional play and leadership for a Celtics team that has the best record in the NBA.
Tatum has averaged close to 31 points, nine rebounds, and four assists during the 2022-23 campaign.
While it may seem that the return of Anthony Davis would take some of the heat off LeBron, his season averages are lower, especially in the scoring and shooting efficiency department, with Davis on the floor.
A revamped Celtics defense should be able to contain LeBron and the Lakers’ offense, which is often indecisive and inefficient. Advantage: Tatum.
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
Boston Celtics Starting Lineups
Los Angeles Lakers Injuries: Austin Reaves (Out), Lonnie Walker IV (Q), LeBron James (Q), Anthony Davis (P)
Boston Celtics Injuries: Marcus Smart (Out), Danilo Gallinari (Out)