Follow Lakers-Celtics Game Monday On The Nate Duncan NBACast
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The battered, bruised and recently oft-beaten Boston Celtics look to turn things around with a Monday night primetime game at home against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Celtics hope to be close to full strength when they tip off against their historic rivals. In Boston’s 123-119 loss Saturday night to Phoenix, the Celtics played without offensive firestarter Kemba Walker (knee) and Jalyen Brown (thumb). Both hope to play Monday night. Marcus Smart hit a team-record 11 three-pointers in the defeat.
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While the Celtics have lost three straight and six of eight, LeBron and Co. return to Boston on a 10-1 run. Boston has not lost four consecutive games this season.
NBA fans and bettors can follow the action via the NBACast, co-hosted by NBA experts Nate Duncan and Danny Leroux, starting at 7:30 p.m. The #NBACast offers live, in-game analysis, up-to-the second breakout stats and — as always — will take your questions. The NBACast is sponsored by Bookies.com.
The game is part of a full Martin Luther King. Jr. Day holiday tripleheader on TNT. The Pelicans and Grizzlies tip off at 5 p.m. and the Warriors and Trail Blazers follow at 10 p.m.
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The game Monday will be the 365th meeting all-time between the clubs in the regular season and NBA postseason. Boston holds an overall edge of 203-161 and has won five of the last seven games between the teams.
The Celtics and Lakers have met 12 times in the NBA Finals, with the most-recent showdown going to the Lakers in seven games back in 2010.
Both teams were solid favorites to reach the NBA Finals before the season began. Now, the Celtics are +165 to win the Atlantic Division at Bet365, while daring bettors can get +2000 odds on the Celtics to win the NBA Finals and Banner 18 this upcoming June at DraftKings. Meanwhile, Bet365 has he Lakers at +300 to win the NBA title and SugarHouse has the Lakers at -175 to take the Pacific Division.
The Lakers sit atop the NBA with a 34-8 overall record and also lead the league on the road at 18-3. Los Angeles has been without Anthony Davis (back) the past five games. After having a nine-game winning streak halted by the Orlando Magic Wednesday, the Lakers snapped back with a 124-115 win at Houston Saturday.
James had 31 points and 12 assists Saturday and is averaging 25.5 points and 10.9 assists this season. He was lauded with chants of “MVP” during the win against the Rockets Saturday.
“It’s so humbling. I’m still making my fans proud,” he told ESPN’s Lisa Salters. “Much appreciation to the Laker faithful.”
It’s unlikely James will get a similar reaction in Boston on Monday — no matter how many points he scores.
The Celtics were the last franchise to beat a James-led team in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The 2010 Celtics — led by Paul Pierce — knocked out MVP James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games during the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Celtics would eventually lose to the Lakers in the NBA Finals.