Los Angeles Lakers Pickem, 190 at Boston Celtics, 9 pm Eastern Sunday, ABC
by Zman of Predictem.com
The Boston Celtics may have been the underdogs coming into the NBA Championship Series, even with home-court advantage. But after taking the opener of this best-of-seven affair from the Los Angeles Lakers at home Thursday night, Boston will try to go up 2-0 when the teams meet for game 2 Sunday night in Beantown.
Basketball Bookies are listing Sunday’s game at right around a pick ’em, with a total of 190.
The Celtics won game 1 Thursday 98-88 as three-point home favorites. And the game stayed under its total of 192, as the two teams combined to shoot 42% from the field.
Boston trailed by five points at halftime Thursday night, but outscored LA 52-37 in the second half, and held Kobe Bryant to 9-for-26 shooting from the floor. And the Celtics outrebounded the Lakers 46-33.
Boston swept two games from Los Angeles during the regular season, and in the process held Bryant to 15-of-46 FG shooting. So in three games vs. the Celtics this season, Bryant is 24-for-72 from the floor, and the Lakers are 0-3.
Statistically speaking, these two teams were very similar during the regular season, outside, maybe, of the pace of play. LA shot 48% from the field as a team, 38% from 3-point range and 77% from the free-throw line, while Boston shot 47.5% from the floor, 38% from beyond the arc and 77% from the stripe. The Celtics led the league in FG defense at 42%, while the Lakers ranked 6th at 44.5%, and Boston ranked 4th in rebounding at +3.1 per game, while LA ranked 8th at +1.4 per game. And while the Celtics averaged a 22/14 per-game assist-to-turnover ratio, the Lakers averaged a 24/14 A/TO ratio.
But Boston games, most played within the lower-tempo Eastern Conference, averaged 191 total points, while LA games, played in the wild West, averaged 210 points.
Los Angeles went 27-14 on the road during the regular season, and is now 4-4 straight up and 4-3-1 against the spread on the road this playoff season.
Boston went 35-6 at home during the regular season, and is now 11-1 SU and 7-5 ATS at TD Banknorth this playoff season.
Overall, the Lakers are now 12-4 straight up and 10-5-1 this playoff season, while the Celtics are 13-8 SU and 9-12 ATS in these playoffs.
Boston, as mentioned above, swept two games from LA during the regular season, by scores of 107-94 and 110-91. But both those games were played before the Lakers picked up C Pau Gasol in a trade with Memphis in early February. In game 1 Thursday night, Gasol went 6-of-11 from the field, scored 15 points, and grabbed eight rebounds.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks Boston #1 at 98.91, Los Angeles #2 at 98.16. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 4.03.
The totals went 40-41 in Lakers games during the regular season, 36-45 in Celtics games. This playoff season, the totals are 5-11 in LA games, 9-12 in Boston games.
Zman’s Pick: I like the Celtics to win again at home tonight.
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