The Los Angeles Lakers make the cross-country trip to TD Garden for an inter-conference road tilt with the Boston Celtics on Friday night. The Lakers (8-8) are off to an injury-riddled start to the year but can climb back above the .500 mark with a win on the road. The Celtics (7-8) have had an up-and-down start, but will try and get back on track against their historic rivals. Boston opens this game as slight home favorites.
Will the Los Angeles Lakers cover the spread on the road against their longtime rival Boston Celtics?
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics Betting Lines
Point Spread: Boston Celtics -1.5
Total: Over/Under 214.5
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics Injury Report
Anthony Davis (thigh) is probable for this matchup, so expect to see the big man out there. LeBron James (abdomen) is a game-time decision, but the Lakers will likely hold him out through the weekend. Kendrick Nunn (knee) and Austin Reaves (hamstring) remain sidelined until next week.
Jaylen Brown is questionable with a hamstring injury. Center Robert Williams is a game-time decision with a sore knee.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics Preview
Celtics Struggling at Home
The Celtics are averaging 108.3 points per game, good for 15th in the NBA. They’ve been struggling from beyond the arc (33.3%) but those numbers should trend up considering the talent in their backcourt. The troubling stat is Boston’s inability to shut down opposing teams at home. The C’s sit dead last in the NBA, allowing visiting teams to shoot a staggering 48% from the floor in addition to an 86% clip at the line.
Jayson Tatum found a rhythm Wednesday night in Atlanta, and that’s kinda important. pic.twitter.com/RgDkRKU4lp
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 18, 2021
Expect those numbers to improve as Jaylen Brown returns to game-action sometime this weekend. He remains a game-time decision for this matchup. Breakout center Robert Williams banged up his knee on Monday, but he expects to be out there for this game. He’s nearly averaging a double-double with 10 points and 9.2 rebounds through 14 games.
Lakers Injury Woes Continue
The Lakers have been playing good ball so far this year, albeit without their key centerpiece in LeBron James. Anthony Davis has been banged up as well, but he’s been playing through a lot of the soft-tissue injuries he was criticized for in the last three seasons. He’s averaging 24.2 points and 10.9 rebounds. This will be the second game of a five-game road trip, so don’t be surprised if Davis rides the pine for at least one of the back-to-back sets over the weekend.
Anthony. Marshon. Davis. pic.twitter.com/CLwOnu3z63
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 18, 2021
LeBron James remains day-to-day after missing the last seven games with an abdomen injury. James was averaging 24.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and seven assists before being sidelined. If James does in fact miss his eighth straight game, Carmelo Anthony could draw his third consecutive start. The veteran forward has been averaging 15.5 points and four rebounds this season.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics Prediction and Pick
The Los Angeles Lakers have been very tight-lipped when it comes to their star players and their injury concerns. Nearly every single night, Anthony Davis and LeBron James are given questionable tags. Davis has been able to play through some of his nagging injuries, but LeBron has missed the last nine games with an abdomen issue. AD is expected to play, but whether LeBron suits up for this game remains to be seen.
Even if he plays, coach Frank Vogel will keep his minutes very short in his first action back. For that reason, it will be hard to take the Lakers here. The Celtics are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games and 5-2 in their last seven games overall. Both teams are dealing with injuries to their key guys, so the line may fluctuate as we get closer to game-time. Take the Celtics to win here at home.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics Totals Pick
The Lakers are second in pace through the early portion of the season. A big reason why is Russel Westbrook taking control of the offense in the absence of LeBron James. We know Russ likes to run up and down the floor at a feverish pace, but the Lakers won’t be playing that way once James re-enters the lineup.
Either way, LeBron is questionable for this game, and even if he does suit up Russ and the gang should soak up the majority of the minutes handling the rock. The total number has gone over in four of LA’s last five games on their way to an average of 109 points per game. Trust this game to be a back and forth track meet, especially if Westbrook plays 30+ minutes. Take the over here with the utmost confidence.