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Lakers vs Celtics

How to watch Celtics vs. Lakers: Live stream, TV channel, start time for Monday’s NBA game

A law firm representing Chandler Parsons says the Atlanta Hawks forward suffered potentially career-ending injuries in an automobile accident caused by a drunk driver last week.

The Hawks announced last Wednesday that Parsons had been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol after suffering a concussion and whiplash in the crash, but did not disclose any further details.

The law firm Morgan & Morgan, however, said Monday in a statement that Parsons “suffered multiple severe and permanent injuries including a traumatic brain injury, disc herniation and a torn labrum.”

The firm said the driver who caused the crash, who is not identified in the statement, was arrested and charged with DUI. The driver allegedly caused a three-car crash, including Parsons’ vehicle, at approximately 2 p.m. ET and admitted to drinking, according to the law firm.

“Chandler was seriously injured in this crash, which never should have occurred,” Morgan & Morgan said in its statement.

“The at-fault driver created utter chaos on the roadway, needlessly endangering the lives of countless motorists; he now stands charged with DUI, admitted drinking, had alcohol in the car with him, passed out after causing a three-car crash at 2:00PM on a Wednesday in a busy intersection, seriously injuring and potentially ending Mr. Parsons’ career as a professional athlete.”

Parsons, 31, has been plagued by chronic knee injuries since signing a four-year, $94.8 million deal with the Memphis Grizzlies in July 2016, appearing in just 100 games in four-plus seasons over that stretch.

Parsons has played in just five games this season for the rebuilding Hawks, who acquired him from the Grizzlies in a trade last summer.

“Chandler is having a difficult time accepting the consequences of the defendant’s reckless conduct on the roadway,” Morgan & Morgan said.

“Chandler was in peak physical condition at the time of the wreck. He is now working with a team of doctors to regain his health, and at this time, his ability to return to play is unclear. Our focus right now is on helping him make a full recovery, while we also work to hold any and all responsible parties fully accountable.”

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Lakers vs Celtics

Follow live: Celtics looking to end three-game skid vs. LeBron, Lakers

The first half of the 2019-20 NBA season is in the books, which means it’s time to reflect on how the season has gone so far. Grades for all 30 teams have been given out, as well as predictions for who will win every major award at the midway point, so it’s only right to take a look at some interesting facts that unfolded over the first 41 games. There’s been no shortage of record-breaking performances to start this season, from the new generation making a name for itself, to veterans continuing to climb the ranks of leaderboards.

With so much basketball to consume, it can become difficult to keep up with every interesting thing that transpires over the course of the season. So, let’s take a look at 10 interesting facts from the first half of the NBA season.

1. LeBron James became the only player in NBA history to record a triple-double against all 30 teams in the league

It was only a matter of time before LeBron set this record, and what’s actually surprising about this is that it didn’t happen sooner. LeBron completed this feat during a 112-107 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 19, when he collected 25 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a Lakers win. What’s more telling about this stat, though, is that in James’ 17 years in the league, he never registered a triple-double against the Thunder. He’s played Oklahoma City/Seattle 29 times in his career during the regular season and fell a few rebounds shy of notching the triple-double a handful of times.

James might get company on that mountain top soon, however, as Russell Westbrook just needs a triple-double against the Thunder to also check off all 30 teams from his own list. Rounding out the top five of players to come close to that feat are Magic Johnson (24), Larry Bird (25) and Jason Kidd (28).

2. Luka Doncic had more 30-point triple-doubles in the first half than all Mavericks players have combined throughout history

Doncic already leads the league in triple-doubles this season with 12, and has the most triple-doubles (20) of any player before turning 21 years old. This stat, though, is even more ridiculous considering he has only been in the league for a year and a half and has already surpassed every Mavericks player in franchise history in 30-point triple-doubles with nine — in this season alone. Jason Kidd only had two with the Mavericks, same with Michael Finley, while Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Aguirre both had one.

The long list of records that Doncic has been breaking this season is absolutely absurd, and the fact that he’s still so early in his career is a scary thought. It won’t be long before he starts showing up at the top of historic leaderboards, and at this rate he may rank in the top three of triple-doubles by the time he’s 25.

3. Giannis posted six 30/15/5 games; no one else in the league has more than one

He’s considered the front-runner for winning his second consecutive MVP this season, he’s got the Bucks sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings and he continues to show improvement in all aspects of his game with each passing day. Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most dominant well-rounded players in the league, so it’s not surprising that this stat line is becoming commonplace for him. Last season he set the record for most 30-point, 15-rebound, 5-assist games with nine. Halfway through this season he already has six, and is on pace to break that record for the second straight year.

4. The Nets have paid Kyrie Irving nearly $16 million so far this season for only 14 games of action

When the Brooklyn Nets signed Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant this past offseason, both moves were made with the future in mind. Durant is likely to miss the entire 2019-20 campaign with an Achillies injury, so this season was about Irving building chemistry with his new teammates ahead of Durant’s return. However, Irving missing a total of 25 games with a shoulder injury put a halt to any on-court chemistry building. As time went on, people wondered just how severe Irving’s shoulder injury was, considering there were scarce updates on his recovery. While it’s not fair to blame Irving for the injury he suffered, the Nets did decide to give a player who has only played in 60 games a season twice in his career a max contract.

As of Jan. 20, Irving has played in 14 games. His contract with the Nets pays him over $31.7 million this season alone. At the midway point of the season, Brooklyn has paid Irving nearly $16 million, or $400K per game, to sit on the sideline for almost half of the first 41 games of the season. Since returning from the back injury, the Nets have gone 1-3 despite Irving averaging 21 points during that span. It’s Year One of the Kyrie Irving experiment in Brooklyn, and so far he’s sat more games than he’s played and he’s recently even reverted to his old ways again of airing his grievances to the media about his teammates.  Brooklyn’s committed a lot to Irving and Durant, and while K.D. will surely be worth it, Brooklyn has to wonder if the injuries and headaches Irving brings will be worth the amount of money they’re paying him.

5. James Harden is the only player who has made a 3-pointer in every game of the season’s first half

Say what you want about Harden’s style of play, but one thing we can all agree upon is he is an absolute marksman from beyond the arc. Every team in the league continues to increase the number of 3-pointers they’re taking in a game, and even still, Harden is the only player in the league who has drilled a 3 in the first 41 games this season. In fact, Harden is on a streak where he’s made a 3-pointer in 62 straight games, starting back in February of last season. Since joining the Rockets, Harden’s 3-point attempts have only increased, and it’s hard to believe that in his first year in Houston he was only attempting 6.2 a game. Now, he’s up to 13.3, which isn’t only a career high but the highest per game in NBA history.

6. Nikola Jokic moved into the top 10 list of career triple-doubles in just five seasons

File this under “facts likely no one knew.” Over a five-day span in mid-December, Jokic tied Bob Cousy for 33 triple-doubles, then two days later passed him after posting 22 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. That triple-double moved Jokic into the top 10 in NBA history, and he now sits just eight behind Fat Lever for moving into the No. 8 spot. What’s more impressive about this stat is that he’s tallied 35 triple-doubles in just five seasons in the league, while Cousy took 14 seasons to get to 33.

Jokic joins Wilt Chamberlain as the only two centers on the top 10 list, and when it’s all said and done he could pass Chamberlain’s 78 triple-doubles. As one of the more under-appreciated stars in the league, Jokic has been the best passing big in the league, and has the court vision of a guard that allows him sling no-look passes to his teammates on the wing that rival what some of the best guards in the NBA can do.

7. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander became the youngest player in NBA history to notch a 20-rebound triple-double

Continuing the trend of unlikely triple-doubles, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander not only notched his first triple-double this season, but he did it while putting up a 20-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist stat line. That’s unheard of for guards to put up 20 rebounds in a triple-double, and he’s actually just the fifth guard to do so alongside Oscar Robertson, Russell Westbrook, Fat Lever and Guy Rodgers. If that wasn’t crazy enough, at just 21 years old he became the youngest player to post a 20-rebound triple-double in NBA history, passing Shaquille O’Neal, who was 74 days older than Gilgeous-Alexander when he did it in 1993.

8. The Warriors have already lost more games this season than they have in any other season during Steve Kerr’s tenure

It’s no secret that the Golden State Warriors have struggled mightily this season without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but their downfall has been historic. They’ve won just nine games at the midway point of the season while racking up 32 losses, including a 10-game losing streak that was the franchise’s first since 2002. Nothing is more telling about this season, though, than the fact that the Warriors have already surpassed the number of losses than any other season while Steve Kerr has been the head coach.

Last season Golden State lost 25 games, which was previously the most the franchise has lost during Kerr’s tenure. The Warriors have blown that out of the water with 41 games left in the season. If anything, it puts into perspective just how dominant the Warriors have been for the past five seasons. Injuries have played a role, but it’s still astonishing to see a team that was likely two injuries away from winning its third straight Finals stumble into having the worst record in the league a season later.

9. Boban Marjanovic became the second player in NBA history to record a double-double in 10 minutes or less

Marjanovic is averaging 6.1 points and 4.5 rebounds in 10 minutes of action a game for the Mavericks, but for one night against the Lakers, he made history in the most useful 10 minutes he’s played this season. He put up a double-double in just 10 minutes and 19 seconds, which made him the second player in NBA history to record a double-double in 10 minutes or less. As the tallest player in the league, it’s surprising that he hasn’t done this before as he rarely needs to leave his feet to grab a rebound or score, but having Boban in the record books for one of the most obscure stats is very fitting for him.

10. The Utah Jazz had the best starting lineup in the league with Mike Conley sidelined

Adding Conley was supposed to elevate the Jazz to another level this season, as he was supposed to ease some of the ball-handling duties for Donovan Mitchell. So far, it’s been a far different story as he’s been averaging career-lows this season. When he went down with a hamstring strain, the Jazz actually began playing significantly better, and strung together a 16-3 record. Utah’s performance brought about the conversation of bringing Conley off the bench, and the numbers definitely suggest it should.

In the 19 games the Jazz played without Conley, their starting lineup posted the best net rating per 100 possessions (21.2) of any in the league who have played a minimum of 150 minutes together this season. Having Conley at his best is obviously most beneficial for Utah, but if the Jazz are simply better with him coming off the bench then that’s a move they’ll have to consider long term.

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Lakers vs Celtics

Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown injury updates: Celtics guards will play vs. Lakers

UPDATE: Jan. 20, 8:06 p.m. — A sigh of relief. After a brief trip to the locker room, Walker appears okay to return to the game. This injury is something to keep an eye on and it might impact his performance against the Lakers.

UPDATE: Jan. 20, 8:01 p.m. — Some bad news for the Celtics. Walker was forced to go to the locker room with what appeared to be a knee injury. He seemed to be favoring his left knee, which is the same one that forced him to miss Saturday’s game.

UPDATE: Jan. 20, 11:56 a.m. — Both Walker and Brown will be available to play vs. the Lakers. Walker has been dealing with a sore knee, while Brown has a thumb sprain that has kept him out. For now, it sounds like both will play but we’d like official confirmation on Walker (though I think we’re safe to use both in lineups).

Fantasy basketball analysis: Celtics Gs Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown

With both expected to be back, Marcus Smart gets a big downgrade in DFS. He was on track to be a trendy chalk play in the starting lineup after dropping 37 in Saturday’s loss to the Suns. Now he’ll go back to the bench and shouldn’t see nearly as much usage as over the weekend. Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward are also less appealing in DFS, particularly when you account for the Lakers getting AD back and L.A. being a top 10 defense.

Boston Celtics starting guards Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown are both questionable to play on Martin Luther King Jr. Day against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.

Walker and Brown were both missing from Saturday’s game vs. the Suns — it was Brown’s second game out and Kemba’s first with these particular injuries. Brown’s thumb didn’t have any tears after he received an MRI, but it’s still swollen enough to hold him out. Walker popped up as questionable Saturday and was later ruled out.

Fantasy basketball analysis: Boston Celtics G Marcus Smart

The Celtics may be reeling a bit and coming off a bad loss to the Suns at home, but damn was it fun to watch Smart chuck all game, right? With Walker and Brown out, Smart led the Celtics with 27 points, taking an absurd 22 three-point attempts, draining 11 of them somehow.

Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum were less effective, but both played over 39 minutes. Smart finished with 33 minutes and the rest of the rotation was very spread out. That was something Brad Stevens could get away with against Phoenix, but against LeBron James and the Lakers? I don’t know. If Walker and Brown are out again, Smart is probably an OK chalk play again, but L.A. plays much better defense than the Suns. We’ve got a lot of games on the MLK Day slate, so perhaps it’d be better looking elsewhere for DFS than the Celts.

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Lakers vs Celtics

Boston Celtics Basketball News, Schedule, Roster, Stats

October @ Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday, October 23 2019 loss 93-107 coverageToronto Raptors Friday, October 25 2019 win 112-106 coverage — @ New York Knicks Saturday, October 26 2019 win 118-95 coverageMilwaukee Bucks Wednesday, October 30 2019 win 116-105 coverageNovember New York Knicks Friday, November 01 2019 win 104-102 coverage — @ Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday, November 05 2019 win 119-113 coverage — @ Charlotte Hornets Thursday, November 07 2019 win 108-87 coverage — @ San Antonio Spurs Saturday, November 09 2019 win 135-115 coverageDallas Mavericks Monday, November 11 2019 win 116-106 coverageWashington Wizards Wednesday, November 13 2019 win 140-133 coverage — @ Golden State Warriors Friday, November 15 2019 win 105-100 coverage — @ Sacramento Kings Sunday, November 17 2019 loss 99-100 coverage — @ Phoenix Suns Monday, November 18 2019 win 99-85 coverage — @ Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, November 20 2019 loss 104-107 coverage — @ Denver Nuggets Friday, November 22 2019 loss 92-96 coverageSacramento Kings Monday, November 25 2019 win 103-102 coverageBrooklyn Nets Wednesday, November 27 2019 win 121-110 coverage — @ Brooklyn Nets Friday, November 29 2019 loss 107-112 coverageDecember @ New York Knicks Sunday, December 01 2019 win 113-104 coverageMiami Heat Wednesday, December 04 2019 win 112-93 coverageDenver Nuggets Friday, December 06 2019 win 108-95 coverageCleveland Cavaliers Monday, December 09 2019 win 110-88 coverage — @ Indiana Pacers Wednesday, December 11 2019 loss 117-122 coveragePhiladelphia 76ers Thursday, December 12 2019 loss 109-115 coverage — @ Dallas Mavericks Wednesday, December 18 2019 win 109-103 coverageDetroit Pistons Friday, December 20 2019 win 114-93 coverageCharlotte Hornets Sunday, December 22 2019 win 119-93 coverage — @ Toronto Raptors Wednesday, December 25 2019 win 118-102 coverageCleveland Cavaliers Friday, December 27 2019 win 129-117 coverageToronto Raptors Saturday, December 28 2019 loss 97-113 coverage — @ Charlotte Hornets Tuesday, December 31 2019 win 109-92 coverageJanuary Atlanta Hawks Friday, January 03 2020 win 109-106 coverage — @ Chicago Bulls Saturday, January 04 2020 win 111-104 coverage — @ Washington Wizards Monday, January 06 2020 loss 94-99 coverageSan Antonio Spurs Wednesday, January 08 2020 loss 114-129 coverage — @ Philadelphia 76ers Thursday, January 09 2020 loss 98-109 coverageNew Orleans Pelicans Saturday, January 11 2020 win 140-105 coverageChicago Bulls Monday, January 13 2020 win 113-101 coverageDetroit Pistons Wednesday, January 15 2020 loss 103-116 coverage — @ Milwaukee Bucks Thursday, January 16 2020 loss 123-128 coveragePhoenix Suns Saturday, January 18 2020 loss 119-123 coverageLos Angeles Lakers Monday, January 20 2020 win 139-107 coverageMemphis Grizzlies Wednesday, January 22 2020 7:30 PM EST coverage 3,071 tickets available from $33 @ Orlando Magic Friday, January 24 2020 7:00 PM EST coverage 1,718 tickets available from $58 @ New Orleans Pelicans Sunday, January 26 2020 6:00 PM EST coverage 253 tickets available from $49 @ Miami Heat Tuesday, January 28 2020 7:30 PM EST coverage 3,055 tickets available from $61 Golden State Warriors Thursday, January 30 2020 8:00 PM EST coverage 4,112 tickets available from $52 February Philadelphia 76ers Saturday, February 01 2020 8:30 PM EST coverage 2,971 tickets available from $114 @ Atlanta Hawks Monday, February 03 2020 7:30 PM EST coverage 1,116 tickets available from $33 Orlando Magic Wednesday, February 05 2020 7:30 PM EST coverage 3,318 tickets available from $43 Atlanta Hawks Friday, February 07 2020 7:30 PM EST coverage 2,964 tickets available from $80 @ Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday, February 09 2020 3:30 PM EST coverage 1,284 tickets available from $27 @ Houston Rockets Tuesday, February 11 2020 9:30 PM EST coverage 1,588 tickets available from $50 Los Angeles Clippers Thursday, February 13 2020 8:00 PM EST coverage 4,127 tickets available from $98 @ Minnesota Timberwolves Friday, February 21 2020 8:00 PM EST coverage 282 tickets available from $39 @ Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, February 23 2020 3:30 PM EST coverage 2,943 tickets available from $281 @ Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday, February 25 2020 10:00 PM EST coverage 1,920 tickets available from $39 @ Utah Jazz Wednesday, February 26 2020 10:00 PM EST coverage 1,509 tickets available from $44 Houston Rockets Saturday, February 29 2020 8:30 PM EST coverage 3,638 tickets available from $138 March Brooklyn Nets Tuesday, March 03 2020 7:30 PM EST coverage 3,989 tickets available from $76 @ Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday, March 04 2020 7:00 PM EST coverage 733 tickets available from $28 Utah Jazz Friday, March 06 2020 8:00 PM EST coverage 3,650 tickets available from $78 Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday, March 08 2020 6:00 PM EDT coverage 3,075 tickets available from $64 @ Indiana Pacers Tuesday, March 10 2020 7:00 PM EDT coverage 1,662 tickets available from $28 @ Milwaukee Bucks Thursday, March 12 2020 8:00 PM EDT coverage 2,061 tickets available from $69 Washington Wizards Friday, March 13 2020 7:30 PM EDT coverage 3,668 tickets available from $67 @ Chicago Bulls Sunday, March 15 2020 8:00 PM EDT coverage 2,559 tickets available from $55 New York Knicks Wednesday, March 18 2020 7:30 PM EDT coverage 3,657 tickets available from $48 @ Toronto Raptors Friday, March 20 2020 7:30 PM EDT coverage 2,646 tickets available from $88 @ Brooklyn Nets Saturday, March 21 2020 6:00 PM EDT coverage 3,013 tickets available from $181 @ Washington Wizards Monday, March 23 2020 7:00 PM EDT coverage 2,924 tickets available from $24 @ Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday, March 25 2020 8:00 PM EDT coverage 1,572 tickets available from $15 Portland Trail Blazers Friday, March 27 2020 7:30 PM EDT coverage 3,548 tickets available from $76 Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday, March 29 2020 6:00 PM EDT coverage 3,506 tickets available from $59 April Miami Heat Wednesday, April 01 2020 7:30 PM EDT coverage 3,664 tickets available from $51 Orlando Magic Friday, April 03 2020 7:30 PM EDT coverage 3,972 tickets available from $59 Milwaukee Bucks Sunday, April 05 2020 3:30 PM EDT coverage 2,596 tickets available from $137 Indiana Pacers Wednesday, April 08 2020 7:00 PM EDT coverage 4,035 tickets available from $40 @ Orlando Magic Friday, April 10 2020 7:00 PM EDT coverage 1,438 tickets available from $58 @ Miami Heat Saturday, April 11 2020 8:00 PM EDT coverage 3,544 tickets available from $72 @ Detroit Pistons Monday, April 13 2020 7:00 PM EDT coverage 2,087 tickets available from $17 Chicago Bulls Wednesday, April 15 2020 7:30 PM EDT coverage 3,843 tickets available from $38

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Lakers vs Celtics

Preview: Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics Game #42

The Celtics and Lakers renew one of the most storied rivalries in NBA history. These two teams have met 12 times in the Finals: first in 1959 and last in 2010. The Celtics have won 17 championships while the Lakers have won 16 championships, 11 in Los Angeles and 5 in Minneapolis. The Celtics last title in 2008 came against the Lakers and the Lakers last title in 2010 was over the Celtics.

The Celtics have dropped to 4th in the East, half a game behind Toronto and 1.5 games behind Miami. They are also just half a game ahead of Philadelphia in 6th. They are 16-5 at home and 4-6 in their last 10 games and have lost their last 3 games. They are in the middle of a 3 game home stand. They are 8-5 against Western Conference teams.

The Lakers are first in the West and behind just the Bucks in the whole NBA. They are 4.5 games ahead of 2nd place Denver. They are 18-3 on the road and won their last game after a loss in the previous game but they have won 10 out of their last 11 games. This is the 2nd of a 5 game road trip that will take them through the Knicks, Nets and Sixers after this one. They are 11-4 vs Eastern Conference teams.

The last game between these two teams was in Boston in February of 2019. The Celtics lost that game as LeBron James had a triple double and Rajon Rondo hit the game winner at the buzzer to give the Lakers the win. The Celtics avenged that loss on March 9 when they beat the Lakers at the Staples Center 120-107. This is the first of 2 games between them this season. They will meet again in LA on February 23.

Jaylen Brown has missed the last 2 games with a sprained thumb. His MRI came back clear of serious injury and he is listed as questionable for this game. Kemba Walker missed the last game with knee soreness. His MRI also came back clear of structural damage. It appears that both Kemba and Jaylen will be playing in this game. Robert Williams remains out with a hip injury.

The Lakers are also dealing with some injuries. DeMarcus Cousins is out with a torn ACL and is not expected back until possibly the playoffs. Anthony Davis landed hard on his back and has missed the last 5 games. He did not participate in the Lakers’ Sunday workout but he is not on the morning injury list and so will likely play. Rajon Rondo has missed the last 3 games with a finger injury and is still listed as questionable. He will be a game time decision. Knowing Rondo, if he can possibly play against his old team, he will.

Probable Celtics Starters

http://www.celticsblog.com/

  • Kemba Walker Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images
  • Jaylen Brown Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
  • Gordon Hayward Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images
  • Jayson Tatum Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
  • Daniel Theis Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Celtics Reserves

Romeo LangfordJavonte Green

Semi OjeleyeVincent Poirier

Brad WanamakerGrant Williams

Romeo Langford
Enes Kanter
Marcus Smart

Injuries/NWT
Carsen Edwards (g-league assignment) out
Robert Williams (hip) out
Jaylen Brown (thumb) probable
Kemba Walker (knee) probable

Two Way Players

Tremont WatersTacko Fall

Head Coach

Brad StevensProbable Lakers Starters

http://www.celticsblog.com/

  • Avery Bradley Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images
  • Danny Green Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images
  • LeBron James Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
  • Anthony Davis Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
  • JaVale McGee Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

Lakers Reserves

Kentavious Caldwell-PopeAlex CarusoQuinn Cook

Troy Daniels
Jared Dudley

Talen Horton-TuckerDwight Howard

Kyle Kuzma

Injuries
DeMarcus Cousins (knee) out
Anthony Davis (back) probable
Rajon Rondo (finger) questionable

Two Way Players
Kostas Antetokounmpo
Devontae Cacok

Head Coach

Frank VogelKey Matchups

http://www.celticsblog.com/

  • Gordon Hayward Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
  • LeBron James Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Gordon Hayward vs LeBron James
LeBron is definitely a key matchup. He is averaging 25.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 10.9 assists per game. He is shooting 49.2% from the field and 34.4% from beyond the arc. LeBron is the focal point of their offense and is next to impossible to stop. We will likely see Marcus Smart and maybe Semi Ojeleye along with Hayward trying to slow him down.

http://www.celticsblog.com/

  • Jayson Tatum Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
  • Anthony Davis Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Jayson Tatum vs Anthony Davis
With the expectation that Davis will return from his injury for this game, Jayson Tatum’s job just got a lot tougher. Davis is averaging 27.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.6 blocks per game. He is shooting 50.4% from the field and 29.7% from beyond the arc. As with LeBron, it will likely take more than one person to slow him down. Hopefully he will be a step slow coming back from the injury, but I wouldn’t count on it. Jayson absolutely must be at his best defensively to keep Davis from having a huge game.

Honorable Mention

Celtics Centers vs Lakers Centers The Lakers have two big and imposing centers in JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard. Both are playing very well this season. JaVale McGee is averaging 7.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks. He is shooting 64.2% from the field and 66.7% from beyond the arc. Howard is averaging 7.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. He is shooting 72% from the field and 60% from beyond the arc. Theis and Kanter have to try to keep them out of the paint if at all possible and they also have to guard them all the way out to the 3 point line.

Keys to the Game
Defense – Defense wins games. The Celtics are 5th in the league with a defensive rating of 105.6. The Lakers 3rd with a defensive rating of 104.7. Over their last 10 games, the Celtics have let their defense slip and they rank just 14th in defensive rating over those games. The Celtics need to get back to making defense a priority. The Lakers will bring their defense and so the Celtics have to match their defensive intensity.

Rebound – Rebounding takes effort and energy and the Celtics will need both to out-rebound the Lakers. They need to crash the boards and keep the Lakers from getting second chance points and fast breaks. The Celtics are averaging 45.6 rebounds per game while the Lakers are averaging 45.8 rebounds per game. The Lakers are 2nd in points in the paint with 53.7 per game and 4th with 14.6 second chance points per game. The Celtics have to crash the boards to limit their put backs and second chance baskets.

Be Aggressive – The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to be aggressive in going to the basket, in diving for loose balls, and on defense. They have to aggressively crash the boards. They have to be the team that wants it more. Over their 3 game losing streak, they have allowed their opponents to play harder and be more aggressive. They absolutely can’t let the Lakers be more aggressive than them if they want to have a chance to win.

Take Care of the Ball – The Celtics need to share the ball and make the extra pass to find the best shot possible. When they over dribble and don’t play team ball, they never play very well. They have to move the ball. But, they also must take care of the ball because the Lakers are 2nd in fast break points with 18.0 points per game. If the Celtics get sloppy and turn the ball over, the Lakers will certainly make them pay.

Start Strong and Finish Strong – The Celtics have been coming out slow and getting down by double digits in the first quarter and although they seem to focus and play harder later in the game, they have struggled to get back in the game after the slow starts. They absolutely have to come out ready to play right from the opening tip. And then, they have to play hard right up until the final buzzer. They need consistent effort, especially against a team as good as the Lakers.

X-Factors
Home Court – The Celtics are home with the Garden crowd behind them. They should get a lift from the crowd and from playing on the familiar parquet floor. Hopefully the Garden faithful will be loud and rattle the Lakers enough for the Celtics to have the advantage.

Celtic Pride – “Beat LA” is one of the most iconic chants in sports. This is a storied rivalry and no matter the circumstances, the Celtics always want to beat the Lakers. The Celtics have to focus on the game and on playing the right way. It’s a matter of pride and the Celtics need to get the job done and “Beat LA”.

Officiating – The officiating is always an x-factor. Every crew calls the game differently and the Celtics have to adapt to how the game is being called and not allow bad calls and no calls to take away their focus. If you doubt that officiating is an x-factor, just think back to the last Finals between these two teams. In game 7, the Celtics were up 6 going into the 4th quarter. The refs had called the game evenly up until then. But in the 4th quarter, the referees took over and it cost the Celtics that game. The Lakers took 21 free throws in the 4th quarter alone while the Celtics took 6. The Lakers took more free throws in the 4th quarter than they did in the first 3 quarters combined. Hopefully they call it fair in this game and let both teams play.

BAD REF ALERT:Tony Brothers brings angst to every team’s fan base and he is the lead ref for this game. He was voted the worst ref in the league by 24.5% of the players in their recent survey. With Brothers, you never know what you will get. Sometimes he calls everything on both teams. Sometimes he lets both teams play. And, sometimes he calls a game one sided for one of the teams. Basically, he is just bad. Hopefully we get the Tony Brothers that lets them play both ways in this game. Usually when fans of any team sees Brothers calling their games, they cringe.

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