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Lakers, Celtics All About the Defense

Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics are favorites hosting the LA Lakers.

A top-three seed in the Eastern Conference might be out of reach, but home-court advantage to open the playoffs is not as the Boston Celtics look to continue their rise up the standings Thursday vs the host Los Angeles Lakers. Boston (29-26 SU, 27-28 ATS) has won four in a row and is comfortably favored against the still-undermanned Lakers (34-21 SU, 27-28 ATS).

Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers
  • Date/Time: April 15, 10 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Staples Center
  • TV Coverage: TNT
  • Opening Odds: Celtics -4.5 | O/U 211.5 (Line History)
  • Celtics vs Lakers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Boston began the betting cycle as a 4.5-point favorite, but that line was quickly pushed to -6 and has stayed there. The total has risen ever so slightly from 211.5 to 212 at the majority of sportsbooks.

Boston News & Notes

The Celtics have reeled off wins in six of their last seven games to move into fifth place in the East, one game back of the fourth-place Atlanta Hawks. Stout defense has been the story of their resurgence – aside from a wild 145-136 overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Celtics have limited foes to an average of 99.2 points over the course of their hot stretch.

The key to Boston’s success in Los Angeles on Thursday night will be how the pairing of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum fares against a strong Lakers defense. Tatum told reporters he’s close to feeling like his old self after contracting COVID-19 three months ago, and comes in averaging 34.5 points over the course of Boston’s four-game winning streak.

Los Angeles News & Notes

While Lakers fans and bettors patiently await the return of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Los Angeles appears to have at least steadied the ship in their absence. Los Angeles has won six of its past 10 following a four-game losing streak and continues to be one of the stingiest teams in the league, allowing 105.6 points per game for the year (second only to the Knicks).

Things are far from perfect in Tinseltown, however. Newly acquired center Andre Drummond was expected to provide steady scoring and rebounding – and while he has come through with the latter, he has struggled with the former. Drummond has averaged just 9.2 points in five games with the Lakers and has just seven total points over his past two games.

Betting Pick: UNDER 212 (-110)

With both teams playing sensational defense of late, don’t be surprised to see only one of these clubs reach double digits in what should be a Thursday night slog.

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Shark Bites
  • The Celtics are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games.
  • The Lakers are 4-1 ATS in their past 5 games.
  • The UNDER is 6-0 in the Lakers’ last 6 home games.