The Celtics are playing pretty well right now. They only have lost once since the All-Star Break, and though that loss was a brutal 103-71 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers, that is now an outlier in a stretch of some pretty big games. A 104-86 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night was great for the team, though this is going to be a lot different, knowing that this is the start of a big time road trip on the West Coast. This is the first of two games at Staples Center, as the team is playing against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. The problem with this run that Boston has had is that all of these teams have come at home. The Celtics are just 0-8 ATS on the road in their last eight games. Chris Wilcox, Mickael Pietrus, and Jermaine O’Neal are all expected to be out of the lineup on Sunday, and if that turns out to be the case, the C’s could be in a lot of trouble trying to guard all of the LA big men that have the potential to dominate on the glass.
The Lakers still feel like they need to make a move at some point before the trade deadline, and that might be getting rid of Pau Gasol and/or Andrew Bynum. For now, they are the only ones that are really tradable on this team, as the rest of the roster is just chock full of players that no one would want to take back on their roster. A bad road trip with losses to the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards was at least capped off with a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Though it was a lot more embarrassing to lose to those first two teams, if there was a game to win, the one over Minnesota, another fellow playoff contender in the Western Conference, was the one to do so. Kobe Bryant is starting to catch some fire once again. He had 34 against the T’Wolves, and he has had five 30+ point games since breaking his nose at the All-Star Game. He is averaging 28.9 points per game this year, and he is clearly the alpha dog of this team and of the league.
The Final Word: In the end, we just aren’t sure that the Celtics are going to be able to get the job done on the road in a situation like this. Boston will win some games, but this might not be one of them. LA is a team that wants to make a run to prove that it should stay together, and that win over Minnesota could be what sparks the team in the right direction again.
Boston Celtics @ Los Angeles Lakers Free Pick: Los Angeles Lakers
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.