Lakers vs. Celtics NBA Preview

Kemba Walker. Lakers vs. Celtics NBA Preview

Kemba Walker #8 of the Boston Celtics. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

The Los Angeles Lakers continue their seven-game road trip with a visit to the Boston Celtics on Saturday. Here’s a complete preview for the game, including betting odds and our NBA picks.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics

Saturday, January 30, 2021 – 08:30 PM EST at TD Garden

The Lakers opened as 3.5-point favorites and over at FiveThirtyEight, they have them at +1. This leaves a 4.5-point gap between the projections and the actual NBA odds. FiveThirtyEight gives the Celtics a 55 percent chance to win. The equivalent moneyline is -122.

USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin has the Lakers at -1.75 using his Rating numbers, and at -7.31 using his eigenvector analysis, so there’s some room to grab potential betting value with the Celtics +3.5 at FanDuel.

Celtics Look to Bounce Back at Home

At 10-7, the Celtics are just two games behind the 76ers for first place in the Eastern Conference, which is admirable considering that they’ve dealt with postponed games and many players coming in and out of the lineup all season long.

Boston’s projected starting lineup of Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis played together for the first time this season and they had balance on offense, led by Tatum with 25 points, Brown’s 24 points and Walker and Smart’s 14 points apiece but it was not enough and the Spurs ended their two-game winning streak with a 110-106 home victory.

The Celtics forced 19 turnovers but DeRozan (21 points), Aldridge (20 points) and Keldon Johnson (18 points) all shined for the Spurs, who were outscored 37-21 in third quarter but still found a way to win. “It’s been an interesting season,” Jaylen Brown said after the game. “We’ve had guys out, guys hurt. We are just trying to put everything together. Tonight wasn’t our best night.”

AD Will be Rested for the Lakers

Anthony Davis (plus-4.4 Offensive Box Plus/Minus, plus-2.4 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) didn’t play against the Pistons on Thursday because of a bruised right quad and the Lakers lost 107-92. LeBron started the game 7-for-7 from the field but he missed 11 of his next 12 shots. He finished the game with 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds while Kyle Kuzma, who replaced AD in the starting lineup, added 22 points of his own.

With Davis out, Blake Griffin was unstoppable, scoring a game-high 23 points with six assists and he was 5-for-10 from beyond the arc. The Lakers also had no answer for Mason Plumlee, who added 17 points and 10 rebounds and shot 7-for-8 from the field. The Pistons outscored the Lakers 51-34 in the second half. The Lakers went almost seven minutes without scoring in the fourth quarter, which sealed their fate.

Prediction

It will be interesting to see if the Celtics go back to the Walker, Tatum, Brown, Smart and Theis lineup or turn to Tristan Thompson (minus-1.9 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) so he can help Theis contain Anthony Davis.

The player to watch in this game is Kemba Walker (plus-2.4 Offensive Box Plus/Minus). Tatum makes the Celtics extra-difficult to beat but having Walker helps tremendously, especially now that he has played five games this season and gotten the chance to shake off some of that rust. Walker’s matchup against Dennis Schroder (minus-0.9 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) can be the difference in this game.

NBA Pick: Celtics +3.5 (-114) at FanDuel

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