The rivalry is renewed and the Lakers and Celtics meet for the second and final time this season.
We know what’s up with the Lakers. They just got Anthony Davis back. They traded for Rui Hachimura. And they were able to successfully ward off the San Antonio Spurs in a game that was more challenging than it was supposed to be. But maybe that was good for the Lakers because it keeps them on their toes.
They really better stay alert for what’s next. Lakers are starting another five-game road trip. The first stop? Their old friends at Boston where they have a date with the Celtics.
Boston still has the best record at 35-15 but they are not okay at the moment. They’ve lost three in a row after reeling off 9 straight wins. Still, with their hated rivals coming into their house, they’ll definitely be motivated to avoid a fourth straight loss.
Their first match-up felt like two different games. December 13 brought us a wacky overtime game between these two storied franchises. The Celtics were up by 19 in the third quarter and were running away. Then the Lakers made an amazing comeback and were actually up by 13 with under four minutes left. Boston then had their incredible rally and, with help from Davis missing free throws late (yes, he was still playing then), Jayson Tatum tied the game with 16 seconds left and sent the game to overtime. Celtics took care of biz in the extra five minutes. Tatum scored 44 in that game while Anthony Davis had 37 for the Lakers.
As for Saturday night, Davis will likely continue to be on a minutes restriction as this is only his second game back. Lonnie Walker IV is looking like a gametime decision. He’ll be a welcome sight for the team. And we know LeBron James is always questionable. Austin Reaves will be re-evaluated on Thursday.
For the Celtics, Marcus Smart will be out for this game. Robert Williams III was just added to the injury report so he’ll be a gametime decision as well.
We know what the Celtics are capable of. And we know how frustrating the Lakers can be. But if there’s something that I would really watch out for, it’s their three-point shooting. The Celtics made 19 threes compared to the Lakers’ 8 in their December game. And Boston will have no qualms putting them up again; they’re currently second in made threes as well as three-pointers attempted. They’re gonna let it fly. We know the Lakers are very good at running and controlling the paint. The latter will be especially advantageous if Williams ends up not playing.
Both teams get up for this rivalry game. And like I said before, every game is important for the Lakers if they want to get to that play-in (or playoff) spot. It would be a sweet start to the road trip if they can defeat their hated rivals.
The Lakers can do it. If they don’t defeat themselves first.