KEY POINTS

  • Celtics and Lakers meet for the first time this season
  • Celtics look to end slide
  • Lakers will try to keep winning on road trip 

A classic NBA showcase awaits Monday as old rivals Lakers and Celtics meet for the first time this season inside the TD Garden in Boston.

The Celtics are looking to snap a three-game losing skid while the Lakers try to stay on the winning side of their current road trip. With both teams tagged as legitimate contenders for a title shot this time – an occurrence that had been sorely missed by the NBA for quite a long time prior to this season – fans are expecting nothing but a slugfest between the arch-rivals.

The Lakers are still the best team in the West, holding a 34-8 record and winners of nine of their last 10 games. The current slide, meanwhile, has dropped the Celtics to fourth place in the East with a 27-14 tally.

Celtics:

Boston suffered an upset loss against Phoenix on Saturday, but Marcus Smart had a night to remember. The blue-collar working guard lit up the stats sheet as he stepped-up in the absence of star guard Kemba Walker. He fired from all cylinders and scored 37 points on 13-of-25 shooting, including a sudden explosion from the great beyond with 11 triples, that along with eight dimes, five caroms, and four steals – all of which just went for naught.

Jayson Tatum connived with Smart and scored 26 points in the loss. He also had 10 boards, three steals, two assists and a block in 39 minutes.

The rest of the core five will have to shift a gear higher to have a chance against the Lakers as Walker and Jaylen Brown both are listed as questionable for the game.

Lakers:

The Lakers are having their fair share of bruised troops ahead of the much-awaited match. Anthony Davis, who has already missed five games due to a hip injury, is still questionable for this game. Rajon Rondo is likewise on the same status as he is still nursing a non-displaced volar plate avulsion fracture of his right ring finger.

That said, Dwight Howard will be tasked to once again provide efficient minutes. The former All-Star has not disappointed since taking the slack usually carried by Davis as he has put up the hustle stats, the needed rebounds and sometimes a scoring bonus for the Lakers.

Odds and Trends:

The Lakers are faves on the road with a -2.5 handicap. The total line is even at 226.

The Celtics are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games as an underdog and 12-3 in their last 15 games as a home underdog.

The Lakers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record and 5-1-1 in their last 7 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.

Over is 4-1 in Celtics’ last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game and 4-0 in Lakers’ last 4 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.

Under is 5-1 in Celtics’ last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record and 5-2 in Lakers last 7 Monday games.

Prediction:

Straight-up: Lakers

ATS: Lakers

Total: Over