Two bitter interconference rivals will hit the floor in Boston tonight as the 35-19 Boston Celtics host the 27-27 Los Angeles Lakers (8 p.m. ET Thursday on TNT).
These two teams are headed in opposite directions. Boston has won 10 of 11 games to move up from fifth to third in the Eastern Conference, while the Lakers have lost six games in eight contests to slide down to 10th.
Today’s 3 p.m. trade deadline could have an impact on this game. However, we can still project how this matchup might go. We’ll analyze this NBA clash and then give our final LA Lakers vs Boston Celtics predictions and hopefully part our recommended USA offshore oddsmakers from some of their cash.
What Sort of Impact Will the Trade Deadline Have On This Game?
The Lakers have already made one trade this week to acquire Reggie Bullock, but he won’t be available today.
There are other deadline-related factors that could affect the result. Several Lakers players have been mentioned in a potential trade to acquire New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis. If that deal happens by 3 p.m., that means Los Angeles will be without several players against Boston.
Even if the move doesn’t happen, the sheer fact that the Lakers were considering trading all of those players could affect the mentality of those players and the team’s chemistry.
On the Celtics’ side, they also have interest in Davis, but they are prohibited to trade for him until the offseason. But the rumors involve young Celtics wing Jayson Tatum and potentially other Boston players, so that could also have a negative effect on team chemistry.
Will the Lakers Continue to Play Lazy Perimeter Defense?
The Lakers were trending up defensively for a while after LeBron James went down with his injury. Then, suddenly, the team started to fall apart. The ankle sprain to Lonzo Ball a couple weeks ago didn’t help matters on the defensive end, and the unit remains bad even with LeBron back in the lineup.
Los Angeles is still ranked ninth defensively for the season, but the team has been 28th in the league over its past nine games. What’s the biggest problem? Opponent three-point shooting. Lakers opponents are putting up a whopping 40.6 threes per game in the aforementioned stretch and making 38.1 percent of them. The league averages in those categories are 31.4 attempted threes and 35.4 percent, respectively.
Boston is one of the NBA’s most consistently good teams from three-point range. The Celtics’ competence from outside and the Lakers’ poor perimeter defense could be an ugly combination for Los Angeles if it doesn’t bring great effort today.
Will the Celtics’ Bench Play Up to its Potential?
The Lakers have Lonzo Ball injured, plus they have just lost Svi Mykhailiuk via trade and Josh Hart is questionable to play with a knee injury. These injuries are definitely a blow to a Los Angeles squad that already has iffy depth. The remaining players on Los Angeles’ bench are all very inconsistent veterans or unproven young prospects.
The Celtics have Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Daniel Theis coming off their bench. This is certainly a formidable quartet, but the first three players have been inconsistent this year and Theis has missed 14 games due to foot issues this season.
If the Celtics’ reserves play to their potential, they can absolutely dominate the likes of JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Mo Wagner and Hart, if he plays.
Our Preview’s LA Lakers at Boston Celtics Picks & Betting Predictions
There is a lot more general upheaval with the Lakers than the Celtics right now. The chances that the trade deadline affects the Lakers for this game are definitely real, which is why I see the Celtics winning this game big.
The Celtics are 13-1 at home in 2019 with a point differential of plus-11.9. Their only loss was to the defending champion Golden State Warriors. So these are our Lakers vs Celtics predictions and picks:
- Boston is the favorite by 7.5 points. Take your best odds of the Celtics -7.5pts @ -110 with BetOnline or Bookmaker. Bovada is -8pts @ 105 and Intertops is -110 for that same spread.
- The Lakers’ reeling defense and depleted depth point to a high-scoring game where Boston will ramp up the pace and drain a lot of three-pointers. Bet the over 224.5 total points @ -110 with Bookmaker, BetOnline or Intertops. Bovada is over 225pts @ -105.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.