Boston Celtics vs. L.A. Lakers Wednesday NBA Preview & Free Pick

Celtics vs Lakers NBA Handicapping

Four games under .500, 3½ games out of a playoff spot. Twenty-eight games to go in the regular season.

Boston Celtics (28-25) at Los Angeles Lakers (25-29)
Wednesday, Feb. 20
Staples Center, Los Angeles
10:30 p.m. EST
Spread – Lakers -7.5 at Bovada
O/U – 196

Matchup | Preview

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Can the Lakers once and for all put aside the bickering between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, work through whatever issues they have with Mike D’Antoni’s offense and suck it up for the next month and a half and find a way into the postseason?

Perhaps the death of Lakers owner Jerry Buss a few days ago will force the Lakers to focus a bit on the season and set aside the infighting. For a team that dug itself into a deep hole, it’s time stop digging.

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And time to start digging in if it wants to avoid the embarrassment of Mitch Kupchak on the stage when the NBA Draft Lottery holds its drawing come this June.

With the Lakers it’s always about Kobe Bryant, who will be dragging his 34-year-old legs up and down the court over the home stretch and playing big minutes (perhaps even more than the 38:23 he averages now) to will the team past Houston and into the eighth and final playoff position.

Laker Watchers will be keeping a close eye on the Kobe-Dwight Howard relationship as the team marches on. Bryant clearly doesn’t think much of Howard, who has none of Kobe’s intensity and looks on his livelihood as one big 14-and-under AAU tournament. [ad-6571516]

Beating the Celtics tonight is imperative for the Lakers, who desperately need to set a positive tone for the home stretch portion of the season.

A loss at home to a Celtics team that was forced to play deep into the fourth period last night in Denver would be a morale-crusher for LA and only serve to fuel speculation that it would be trading Howard before Thursday afternoon’s deadline.

This is a game the Lakers need. For a lot of reasons.


Injuries have thinned Boston’s rotation to seven, and Doc Rivers may be forced to add to the workload of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

Pierce’s play has been erratic of late. In two games sandwiched around the All-Star break he shot 2 for 12 (Chicago) and 2 for 14 (Denver).

He lacks the explosiveness to get to the rim and defenses are tightening perimeter pressure to take away his outside game. Tough one here for the Celtics. LA to cover the 7.5. The under deserves consideration here, too, with the Celtics shooting so poorly (Garnett was 6 for 14 vs. Denver).

The Celtics could be spooked by trade rumors, which continue to fly in Boston despite the best efforts of President Danny Ainge to tamp them down.

By Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!