As the Lakers and Celtics meet for the first time this season, it’s a contest between two sides with similar aspirations but vastly different paths so far. While both are hoping to contend for a title this year, the Celtics are actually doing so while the Lakers have been well off that mark so far.
The road trip the Lakers just completed offered the first signs of a team that could eventually compete for an NBA title. It’s a small step this year while also being a far cry from where the team was last season.
The Celtics, meanwhile, are one of the standard-bearers in the league. Coming off an NBA Finals appearance in the spring, the Celtics sport the best record in the NBA and look primed for a return this season. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have fully blossomed into arguably the best duo in the league, averaging 30 and 26.8 points per game, respectively.
In some senses, Tuesday will be a measuring stick for the Lakers to see where they stand in the league. They’ve already shown they can compete with the elites with their win in Milwaukee, but now they need to consistently do that and string together victories.
While Brown and Tatum will present a matchup nightmare for the Lakers, Anthony Davis will be just that on the other end. Both Al Horford (health & safety protocols) and Robert Williams (left knee surgery) are out on Monday against the Clippers and should be out on Tuesday as well.
That leaves Luke Kornet, Blake Griffin and Noah Vonleh to defend AD and that smells like barbecue chicken. We also saw last year the often lifeless Lakers get up for the home game against Boston and put together one of their best performances of the season, even including a 20-point game from Russell Westbrook.
There’s no doubt the Lakers are going to be up for this game. While this game won’t prove anything new, it could serve as a greater spark for the Lakers and help propel them to the level the Celtics are currently at by season’s end.
- The Celtics will likely be without the aforementioned Horford and Williams while Danilo Gallinari is also out for the season.
- For the Lakers, LeBron James (left ankle soreness) and Anthony Davis (lower back tightness) are probable while Juan Toscano-Anderson (right ankle sprain) and Wenyen Gabriel (left shoulder sprain) are out.
The Lakers will tip off against the Celtics at 7 p.m. PT on TNT. All nationally televised NBA games can be watched on Sling TV.