Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#545 Boston Celtics 225.5 vs.
#546 Los Angeles Lakers -6.5
Sunday, February 23, 2020 at 3:35pm EST
Staples Center, Los Angeles
Written by Chris Kubala

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It’s an interconference battle on the parquet floor in the City of Angels. The Boston Celtics are on the road as they travel to face the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday afternoon. Boston comes in off a 127-117 road win over Minnesota in their last contest Friday night. Los Angeles beat Memphis 117-105 at home Friday night. The Celtics own a 161-130 advantage in the all-time regular season series between the longtime rivals, including a 139-107 home romp in the first matchup this season back on January 20.

Boston Celtics Go for Season Sweep

Boston won their second straight and their ninth in the last 10 games as they downed Minnesota on the road in their previous contest. The Celtics entered Saturday second in the Atlantic Division, 1.5 games behind the Raptors for the top spot. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, Boston was third, eight games behind the Bucks for the top spot in the standings. Boston led by four after the opening quarter, by eight at the half and by seven after three quarters. The Celtics saw their lead trimmed to one in the fourth quarter before going on a 13-4 run to take a 10-point lead and hung on for the victory. Boston shot 46.3 percent from the field, including 10 of 29 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 58-43. Gordon Hayward led the Celtics with 29 points and six assists in the win.

The Celtics enter this contest ranked 9th in the league in scoring offense with an average of 113.3 points per game this season. Boston is 10th in rebounding by pulling down 45.9 rebounds per contest and stands 21st in assists with 23.2 dimes per game. On the season, Boston is third in the league in scoring defense by allowing 106.4 points per contest. The Celtics are led offensively by Kemba Walker, who is second on the team as he puts up 21.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and five assists per game on the year. Jayson Tatum puts up a team-leading 22.5 points plus seven boards a night while Jaylen Brown (20.3 points, 6.4 rebounds), Gordon Hayward (17.6 points, 6.7 boards) and Marcus Smart (12.5 points, 4.8 assists) are solid contributors offensively. Boston is tied for 11th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 46.3 percent from the floor as a team on the year. The Celtics are 12th in three-pointers per game as they drain 12.3 triples per night while they rank tied for 11th by hitting 36.3 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. Walker is out for this contest with a knee injury.

Los Angeles Lakers Try to Defend Top Spot in Western Conference

Los Angeles won their fourth straight game as they took care of business against Memphis in their first game out of the All-Star break. The Lakers entered Saturday night with a six-game lead over the Clippers in the Pacific Division. In the Western Conference playoff picture, Los Angeles owned a five-game lead over the Nuggets for the top seed. The Lakers led by six after the opening quarter and by 19 at the half. Their lead was trimmed to seven after three quarters and didn’t let Memphis closer than five in the final stanza. Los Angeles shot 47.7 percent from the field, including nine of 29 from three-point range, and overcame missing 14 of 40 free-throw attempts in the contest. LeBron James led the Lakers with 32 points and seven assists in the win.

The Lakers are 7th in the league in scoring offense as they put up 114.8 points per game. Los Angeles is 7th in rebounding with 46.3 boards per contest and 5th in assists with 26.3 per game. The Lakers stand 6th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 107.3 points per night. LeBron James is second on the team with 25.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 10.7 assists per contest this season. Anthony Davis contributes a team-high 26.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a night while Kyle Kuzma chips in 12.5 points per contest. Avery Bradley, Danny Green, Dwight Howard and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are among the role players that the team is leaning on to supplement their star duo. The Lakers are 1st in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 48.8 percent as a team. Los Angeles is 19th in the league with 11.2 triples per game while standing tied for 13th in three-point shooting at 36.2 percent from downtown. The Lakers were expected to waive DeMarcus Cousins, who hasn’t played this season, in the event that Markieff Morris, who was bought out by Detroit, clears waivers.

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This is a battle of heavyweights as both of these teams are near the top of their respective conferences. Boston has won nine of 10 and they have had success with guys in and out of the lineup. Walker is missing again here but the Celtics have other guys that can step up and contribute on any given night. That’s the difference between Boston and the Lakers at this point. Los Angeles has its issues trying to find capable secondary options in their rotation as financial restrictions are a major issue for the team. The Lakers hope to add Morris but that won’t be a factor in this game. Give Boston the upper hand thanks to their depth here.

 

Prediction: Boston Celtics

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Boston is clicking offensively despite missing Walker as they continue to have different guys step up on different nights. The Celtics are in the middle of the pack in pace, ranking 17th in tempo with 99.5 possessions per game. Los Angeles is 12th in tempo with 100.6 possessions per game. Both teams are tough defensively and they are going to make things a challenge. The Celtics are fifth in field goal percentage defense (44.1 percent) and fifth in three-point field goal percentage defense (34.3 percent) this season. Los Angeles is seventh in field goal percentage defense (44.7 percent) and 11th in three-point shooting (34.8 percent) on the year. These teams play fairly solid defense and keeps this one under the number.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.