2 Keys to Victory: Lakers vs. Celtics

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The 24-25 Los Angeles Lakers are in Boston tonight to face the number one ranked 37-11 Celtics.

The Celtics enter tonight’s matchup 8-2 in their last 10, off of two straight wins against the Pelicans and Pacers. The LakeShow, on the other hand, enter tonight 5-5 in their last 10, coming off two consecutive losses by 15+ to the Rockets and Hawks.

Boston took the first of the two matchups this season for these historic rivals, winning convincingly on Christmas Day in Los Angeles.

Without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, this win won’t come easy. A win tonight would ensure the Lakers can battle against championship contenders, even without their superstars on the court.

Let’s look at our two keys to victory to build momentum ahead of the month of February. 

Celtics’ Home Dominance and Lakers’ Road Struggles

The Celtics boast a home record of 22-2 this season, their only losses coming against the Nuggets and Clippers. The Lakers, however, are a mere 7-17 on the road and have looked like a completely different team when playing outside of LA.

Boston’s strong play at home this season is unusual, particularly because they haven’t been statistically better compared to the degree their record supposes.

The only true area in which the Celtics are better at home is their three-point shooting. Boston shoots a league-high 42.6 3PA per game at a fourth-best 38% clip. At home, however, this number jumps to 40% compared to 36% on the road. 

Similar to the Celtics, the Lakers don’t seemingly have the statistical discrepancies that I would expect from their road record; however, the area in which they struggle on the road compared to at home is rebounding.

While LA is in the middle of the pack when it comes to rebounding at home this season at 44.1 per game, they fall into the bottom third of the league in this category on the road at 41.5. 

When it comes to momentum, the Lakers are not at an advantage in Boston. In order to keep themselves in this game, LA will have to force the Celtics into a poor shooting night, aided by strong defense and tenacity on the defensive glass to limit second-chance three-point opportunities. 

Boston on the Boards

The Celtics are the best rebounding team in the association at 47.2 per game.

The Lakers have struggled against strong rebounding teams this year, and without Anthony Davis, LA might find themselves struggling to crash the boards tonight. 

The Lakers, however, may be saved by their FG%. If LA can focus on taking high-quality looks and emulate their 39.2 3P% and 51.3 FG% that they post in wins, they could find themselves in this game. 

It’s been a tough week for Lakers fans, and it honestly doesn’t seem too bright tonight.

If the LakeShow can muster a win here, it may be their biggest win of the season; however, with so many factors against them, it won’t come easy.

Head Coach Darvin Ham must emphasize taking high-quality shots, being aggressive on the defensive glass, and playing with heart tonight, where the Purple and Gold have practically nothing to lose.

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