Lakers-Celtics Christmas Day Preview

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Coming off dominant performances by LeBron James and Anthony Davis in their win on the road in Oklahoma City, the 16-14 Lakers are back at home in Los Angeles to face the 22-6 Boston Celtics in what’s shaping up to be an exciting Christmas matchup.

This is the first of two meetings this year between these historic rivals, and the LakeShow has a tall task ahead of them, with the Celtics sitting as the number one seed in the East.

As LA looks to continue building momentum into the new year, let’s dive into two keys to a Christmas Day victory.

Celtics’ Road Shooting Dip

The Celtics live and die by the three-pointer. At a league-high 48.1%, nearly half of Boston’s field goal attempts per game come from beyond the arc.

Not only do they shoot the most three-pointers, but they do so efficiently, as 40.1% of all Boston’s made field goal attempts are also three-pointers. 

While the Celtics rank in the top third of the league in 3P% at 37.1% on the year, it’s easy to see that they are a completely different team on the road compared to home.

Boston is an undefeated 14-0 at home, shooting 50.0% from the field and a league-best 40.9% from three; however, the Celtics are 8-6 in away games, dropping to 46.0% from the field and a mere 34.8% from three. In wins, Boston shoots 40.1% from three compared to a league-worst 29.5% in losses.

Boston has simply had shooting struggles on the road all season long.

This bodes well for a Lakers team that sports an opposing 3P% of 35.4% in wins compared to 39.5% in losses.

With a new and improved starting lineup geared toward strong perimeter defense, LA should have the ability to capitalize on the Celtics’ apparent sole Achilles heel. 

Forcing Turnovers

We’ve emphasized the importance of strong defense all year, and we’re starting to notice a pattern from this team of forcing high numbers of turnovers in wins.

They average 9.2 steals in games they win, the highest of any team in the league, but only 5.8 in games they lose, the second-lowest of any team.

Drawing steals and forcing turnovers has proven to be a recipe for success for the Lakers this season. 

Not only have the Lakers been strong in games in which they force high numbers of turnovers, but the Celtics have been particularly weak in games where they give up high numbers of turnovers.

In losses, Boston ranks in the bottom third of the league in turnovers at 14.5 compared to their 12.9 in wins.

If the Lakers can prey on the Celtics’ inability to take care of the basketball, they will find themselves on the path to victory today.

The All-Star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will be hard to stop. But if anybody can do it, it’s the LakeShow.

Expect the Lakers’ stars to come out ready to battle and make a statement at home in what should be a merry Christmas for the Lakers faithful.

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