Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Date and Time: Saturday, March 9, 2019, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Opening NBA Odds: Check Back Later
Celtics vs. Lakers TV Coverage: ABC
Since Marcus Morris came out publicly and stated the Celtics would turn the season around after dropping four straight to Milwaukee, Chicago, Toronto and Portland, the team has gone out and won three of four games while going 2-1-1 against the spread. They just won a thriller at the buzzer over Sacramento without Irving in the lineup, and will be gunning for a third straight road win versus the Lakers in hopes of clawing above the .500 mark as visitors and improve its 13-18-1 ATS record.
It’s gotten so bad in Tinseltown that offshore sportsbooks are no longer offering odds on whether King James and company actually qualify for the playoffs. Wednesday’s 115-99 home loss dropped the team 6.5-games in back of the No. 8 seed Los Angeles Clippers with only 17 games remaining on the regular season docket including this home tilt with the Celtics. Though it sits three-games over .500 as a host, the Lakers have dropped three straight in front of the hometown faithful and failed to cover the closing NBA odds in each matchup.
Brandon Ingram is currently listed as questionable with a shoulder injury. Tyson Chandler is listed as questionable with a neck injury. Kyle Kuzma is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Lonzo Ball still hasn’t recovered from the ankle injury that’s kept him out of the lineup since the end of January. Should all three players miss this game, Los Angeles would be without an average of 40.2 points, 16.3 rebound and 6.1 assists per game. If the Lakers weren’t already facing a steep uphill climb, those absences will make it all the more tough to be competitive in this rematch.
Matchup to Watch
Even with Kuzma, Chandler and Ingram available to play in the first meeting, the Lakers were still outrebounded by the Celtics 48-43. Jayson Tatum reeled in 10 loose caroms for Boston, while Irving and Al Horford each went for 7. With all three players possibly out of the mix, the questions begs to be asked as to whether Los Angeles will have the means to compete with a determined bunch of Celtics on the glass. Though these teams rank out nearly identically in rebounding rate with each club reeling in just under 50 percent of opponent’s misses, it stands to reason Boston will hold an enormous edge if the Lakers main rebounders aren’t available for this one.
Bet Celtics vs. Lakers at BookMaker.eu
I backed the Lakers plus the points and on the money line at the best sportsbooks when these teams first hooked up earlier in the season. The game was back and forth the whole way through with both sides showing an ability to get right back in the game once the other went on a run. I have a hard time buying in to the same thing playing out this time around regardless of whether the Lakers are at full strength or not.
The failure to lure Anthony Davis to Tinseltown has blown up in the franchise’s face in a big way. LA’s body language is poor to say the least right now, and it enters this tilt with more questions than answers in terms of health. After sitting Wednesday’s game out, I expect Kyrie Irving to be in uniform and ready to go for this one. His presence will only magnify Boston’s overall advantage and I fully expect them to even the series up and extend its current win streak.
NBA ATS Betting Pick: Boston at BookMaker.eu
NBA Score Prediction: Celtics 108 – Lakers 96