Boston Celtics (33-18 SU 19-31-1 ATS) vs. L.A. Lakers (42-13 SU 25-29-1 ATS) STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA 10:30 PM EST Thursday February 18, 2010 on TNT
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Celtics +3.5/Lakers -3.5
The defending champion L.A. Lakers host the Boston Celtics in what is still the biggest rivalry in the NBA. Many teams have made headlines recently for making big trades, but each of these teams have not pulled the trigger on any deals. However, the Celtics have been talking with the Knicks about trading for PG Nate Robinson.
The Lakers have the best record, and best home record, in the Western Conference and they have won 4 straight games and all of those games were without Kobe Bryant. This shows how deep the Lakers are, as in their last game reserve Shannon Brown had career highs scoring 27 points and grabbing 10 boards and in the 3 previous games the high scorers were Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom.
The Celtics are coming off a win, but they are still only 5-5 in their last 10 games and they are now in 4th place in the Eastern Conference. Boston has lost 8 of their last 12 games on the road, but did win in Sacramento on Tuesday night.
Defense is key for the Celtics and while they have a legit D allowing the fewest points per game this season, but they will be facing a Lakers’ offense that ranks 5th in the league in scoring.
Kevin Garnett (14.2 ppg 7.4 rpg) and Kendrick Perkins (11 ppg 8 rpg) have to play solid defense on the Lakers’ frontcourt of Gasol (17.1 ppg 11.2 rpg) and Andrew Bynum (15.2 ppg 8.2 rpg) and now let these 2 have big scoring games and dominate the boards.
The Celtics beat the Sacramento Kings 95-92 on Tuesday night. Paul Pierce and Rahseed Wallace were the high scorers for Boston each going for 17 points. For the game the Celtics did not shoot well only going 30/80 from the floor for a FG% of 37.5%. Luckily the defense saved Boston, as they held the Kings to 32/84 shooting for a FG% of 38.1%.
In their last game the Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors 104-94 also on Tuesday night. Reserve Shannon Brown was the high scorer for L.A. going for 27 points on 11/19 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot 38/85 for a FG% of 44.7%. The Lakers played solid defense holding the Warriors to 35/84 for a FG% of 41.7%.
This season the Lakers rank 5th in the league in scoring (103.2 ppg) and while the Celtics only rank 18th (98.7 ppg). On defense the Celtics rank 1st in points allowed (93.7 ppg) and the Lakers rank a respectable 9th (96.4 ppg). The Lakers have been better on the boards this season with a rebounding differential of +2.3 rpg while the Celtics are in the negative at -0.7 rpg.
According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Lakers rank 2nd (96.68) and the Celtics rank 7th (94.01).
Boston is 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 games, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games against teams with a winning home record, and 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games following a win.
Boston has an Under record of 4-0 in their last 4 games and an Under record of 5-0 in their last 5 games following an ATS win.
L.A. is 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 home games, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following an ATS loss, and 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games against teams in the Atlantic Division.
L.A. has an Under record of 4-0 in their last 4 games, an Over record of 4-1 in their last 5 games following an ATS loss, and has an Under record of 8-3 in their last 11 home games against teams that have a road winning percentage above 60%.
Boston is 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 meetings against the Lakers including going 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in L.A.
On the injury front SF Paul Pierce is day-to-day for Boston and SG Kobe Bryant and C Andrew Bynum are day-to-day for L.A.
Jason’s Pick: The Lakers have proved that they can win without Kobe in the lineup, but I find it hard to believe that Bryant will not play in this huge rivalry game. With or without Kobe the Lakers are simply too strong and they will win this game, which will mean they will sweep the season series between these 2 teams.