On March 10th, 2020, the Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Brooklyn Nets. It was a disappointing game considering the Lakers’ previous two wins that were arguably the biggest wins of the season, beating the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers after looking under matched against both teams in their previous matchups.
One night later, the game seemed even more disappointing after the NBA suspended the 2019-20 season due to COVID-19. We all know how that ended though…
The Staples Center has not had fans of any sort in the building since that Lakers game, but they will tonight! In the Lakers’ typical dramatic fashion, the first game with fans back will be a marquee matchup as the Lakers welcome their bitter rivals to town in the Boston Celtics.
This will be the second matchup of the season between these two teams, as the Lakers won the first one in January, 96-95. You can see the wild ending to that game above, as LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Lakers almost let a win slip from their grasps in the final moments. It would have been especially disappointing for the Lakers considering their past couple of games which included a 15-point blowout to the terrible Pistons as well as the game against the 76ers which ended in a Tobias Harris game-winner.
The Lakers will obviously be without LeBron and Davis for this matchup as they have been for the previous 13 games (Davis has been out even longer than that), and will try to stop a red-hot Jayson Tatum. Tatum was recently named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for his contributions to a 3-1 record for the Celtics that saw Tatum averaging 31.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. He followed up the award with a 32-point performance in a 116-115 win on Tuesday against the Trail Blazers as the Celtics come into this one winners of their last four games.
Looking at the injury report for the Celtics, they will be without Tacko Fall as well as Evan Fournier who they acquired from the Magic at the trade deadline. Fournier is out due to health and safety protocols. He played four games with the Celtics prior to being put on protocols, scoring 23 and 17 in his last two games.
As it has been many times as of late, the Lakers’ injury report is LONG. However, only Markieff Morris is questionable for tonight’s game after missing the Lakers’ last game against the Hornets (left ankle sprain). Andre Drummond, Kyle Kuzma, Dennis Schröder, Wesley Matthews, and Marc Gasol are all “probable” (although Gasol still did not play against the Hornets despite being active as he received a “DNP – Coach’s Decision”).
LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Jared Dudley all remain out.
Celtics -6; Over/under 212.5; Celtics -230 (Lakers moneyline +188)
I’m now 4-1 following the All-Star break on betting picks, on a losing streak after I FOOLISHLY thought the Nets would handily take care of the Lakers. I’m now 19-24-2 on the season.
My first thoughts were to lay some money on the over of 212.5, as I could see the fans giving the Lakers players a little emotional “oomph” to maybe make it rain in the Staples Center. However, I could also very easily see a defensive battle which was the case in these teams’ first matchup against each other. Instead, I’ll go ahead and (sadly) take the over on Jayson Tatum’s points of 26.5. He had 32 points in his most recent game, had 53 points only six days ago (albeit against the Timberwolves), and had 30 points against the Lakers in their first matchup and that was when the team had Davis to anchor the entire defense. Because of those historical factors and my fear of a -6 line seeming pretty accurate, I’ll go ahead and ride the hot hand.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook at 12:00 p.m. PST.
Where to watch
The game will be televised on TNT and Spectrum SportsNet with tip-off set for 7:00 p.m. PST.