LeBron James and the wounded Lakers (27-27) visit the surging Boston Celtics (35-19) as the Boston/LA rivalry renews itself once again on Thursday night.
Despite all of the trade talks swirling around Boston, the Celtics have been able to tune out the noise and put together their best run of the season. Since the beginning of the 2019 calendar year, the Celtics have won 14 of 18 games, pushing them into the 3rd place in the Eastern Conference. Kyrie Irving has been the catalyst in Boston, averaging 30.2 points and 8.8 assists in his last 10 games. Irving missed Boston’s last game on Tuesday with a nagging hip strain, but is expected to play at home against the Lakers.
The Celtics have been on a tear as of late. Boston heads into the matchup against the Lakers with a 5 game win streak, and has a 9-1 record in their last 10 games. Boston has been an elite team at home this season, going 22-6 at the TD Garden. The Celtics are 4-1 in the last 5 at home, with the only loss coming against the Golden State Warriors.
Boston Celtics Home NBA Form
|03.02.2019||WIN||Thunder 129 – 134 Boston Celtics|
|30.01.2019||WIN||Hornets 94 – 126 Boston Celtics|
|28.01.2019||WIN||Nets 104 – 112 Boston Celtics|
|26.01.2019||LOSS||Warriors 115 – 111 Boston Celtics|
|23.01.2019||WIN||Cavaliers 103 – 123 Boston Celtics|
It may be time to be concerned if you are a Laker fan. LA is coming off of their worst lost of the season, as well as the worst loss of LeBron James’ career. The Lakers lost 136-94 to the Pacers on Tuesday, dropping the Lakers to 27-27 for the season, as LA starts to fall away from playoff contention. It’s clear that the groin injury that LeBron suffered has slowed down the forward, limiting his dribble-drive game, making for a less explosive player on offense and defense. In the loss against the Pacers, LeBron only took 12 shots, with 5 of them coming from three point land. This is not typical of LeBron, who is used to using his athletic ability to slash through and soar over defenses. In the two games LeBron has played since being injured, he has averaged 21 points, five less than his regular season average. In the same two games, LeBron is averaging 9 assists, 1.9 more than his regular season average, going to show that the injury has affected LeBron, making him into more of a passing facilitator instead of an aggressive scorer. This must be alarming for LA fans, who were expecting to finish in the top 4-5 in the west this season at least.
The Lakers have found themselves in a slump that they can’t seem to shake. LA has lost the last two games, and have gone 4-6 in their last 10. LA won’t be looking forward to the trip to Boston, as the Lakers are 11-16 on the road this season, and have went 2-3 in their last 5 games away from home.
LA Lakers Away NBA Form
|05.02.2019||LOSS||LA Lakers 94 – 136 Pacers|
|02.02.2019||LOSS||LA Lakers 101 – 115 Warriors|
|31.01.2019||WIN||LA Lakers 123 – 120 Clippers|
|19.01.2019||LOSS||LA Lakers 134 – 138 Rockets|
|17.01.2019||WIN||LA Lakers 138 – 128 Thunder|
The Money Line
Here are how the odds to win the match look from the bookies ahead of the game.
Odds taken at 11:00 GMT 07/02/2019
Key Matchup To Watch
Jayson Tatum v. LeBron James
Second year forward Jayson Tatum is likely to matchup with LeBron, creating for a must-watch showdown. The young Tatum has been underwhelming for a majority of the season, but has been instrumental in the Celtics offense lately. Tatum led the Celtics in scoring last game with 24 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James will be looking to slow down Tatum on Thursday. James is averaging 1.7 steals per game this season, and will be in attack mode on Thursday as he tries to get his Lakers back on track. Look for these two to go back and forth at each other all night Thursday, with the winner of this matchup deciding the winner of the game.
Our Verdict and Best Bets
These are two teams that are in two totally different places in their season. The Lakers have found their season in a freefall, dropping down the Western Conference standings each week with poor performances. Boston, on the other hand, has found a balance that was lacking earlier this season. The Celtics have played well at home this season, and are likely do so again on Thursday night against the Lakers. Expect a low scoring contest in this one, with the Celtics looking more than capable of getting the win over LA, stretching the Boston win streak to six games.
Point Spread, Boston Celtics -6.5 @ 1.85 (17/20) with William Hill.