Lakers at Celtics Expert Pick and Prediction - January 28, 2023
LAKERS AT CELTICS EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION - JANUARY 28, 2023 - One of our marquee games from Saturday’s slate of NBA games features two teams that need no introduction: The Los Angeles Lakers (23-26) will be taking on the Boston Celtics (35-15).
If you are a genuine basketball head, you are already aware that the Lakers-Celtics matchup is the biggest rivalry in the NBA. Each franchise has won 17, that's right, 17 titles. The Celtics were the toast of the league during a stretch in the 1950s and 1960s. They won an unprecedented eight straight championships en route to 11 titles in 13 years. And during that stretch, the Celtics bested the Lakers for six of those titles. This is true dominance, to say the least.
While the two teams did not face off in a Finals series during the 1970s, the rivalry would again take center stage the following decade. During the 1980s, the Lakers won five NBA championships. Even more important, two of those titles came at the expense of the Celtics. This was significant because the Lakers had been winless against the Celtics (0-8). The two teams produced two more Finals series in 2008 and 2010.
In 2008, the Celtics outlasted the Lakers, defeating them in six games. Two years later, the Lakers emerged victorious in seven games.
A decade would pass before either team advanced to the NBA Finals. The Lakers did so during the 2019-20 campaign, besting the Miami Heat in six games.
After a 12-year absence, the Celtics returned to the Finals in 2022, but they fell to the Golden State Warriors in six games. Now that you know a little bit about the history between the two teams, it is time to dive into this marquee matchup.
Lakers vs. Celtics Season Trends
The Lakers have won three of their last four games, including a 113-104 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.
Anthony Davis led the way with 21 points and 12 boards. But do not be fooled by the team’s recent success. If the playoffs started today, Los Angeles would be on the outside looking in. L.A. is currently 13th in the conference playoff race.
Sure, LeBron James is chasing history in his 20th season, but it appears that the Lakers are on the verge of missing the playoffs. A reality that the fan base will have a difficult time digesting.
Meanwhile, the Celtics are in a bit of a slump. They have posted L's in each of their last three outings, including a 120-117 overtime loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday night. Jason Tatum led the way, contributing 35 points along with 14 rebounds. While the Celtics are amid a three-game skid, there is a lot to like about this ball club.
The C's have the fourth-best scoring average in the association (117.6) points and they have the third-best offensive rating (117.5 points per possession).
It is also worth mentioning that Boston has the best point differential in the league as well (plus-5.5). Boston is getting the job done on the defensive end of the court as well.
The team is ranked ninth in points allowed (112.1) and seventh in defensive efficiency, giving up 112 points per 100 possessions. With that in mind, the Lakers are going to have their hands full against a team looking to snap a three-game losing streak.
Lakers vs. Celtics Head-to-Head and Betting Trends
Given the history between these two franchises, it should not be much of a surprise that the teams have split the season series over the past few seasons. The last time either side swept the season series was 2016-17. The Celtics won on the Lakers’ home floor earlier this season, and if history is an indicator, the Lakers are due for a win there.
In 50 games played this season, the Celtics have posted 25 wins against the spread. Boston has been the favorite 47 times. They have come out on top in 33 of those contests.
On the flip side of the narrative, the Lakers have posted 23 wins ATS and they have won 15 of the 36 games in which they were the underdog.
Although the Celtics have not played well as of late, they have the best record in the eastern conference. Not only that, but they get the job done at both ends of the floor.
That said, I am going to keep this one short and sweet. The game will be within five to seven points for most of the night. However, look for Boston to win this game and cover the seven-point spread.