It’s not like the Los Angeles Lakers need a big time game right now, but that’s what they’re getting, coming to play the very hot Boston Celtics in the TD Garden without their two big men.
Pau Gasol is out for six weeks, Dwight Howard at the moment is currently out, without an exact date of return. This means more pressure on Kobe Bryant, and less opportunities for him to pass the ball around. That usually means bad new for the Lakers, who have won three consecutive games on the road, with three more left for them on their road trip. He’s averaging 17.4 points and 9.3 assists over the last seven games, compared to 29.2 points and 4.7 assists prior. But… he did take 24 shots, scoring 21 points, in the 92-83 win against the Brooklyn Nets.
It’s the first time the two teams are meeting this season, both coming backed by winning streaks. For Bryant not to try and win the game on his own is going to take Steve Nash having a big night, enjoying the fact he doesn’t have to face and guard Rajon Rondo. Nash is averaging 15 points and 8.3 assists per game in February, and it’s probably going to take that kind of basketball, if not better, for the Lakers to come out with a win against the Celtics.
Boston are simply scorching since losing Rajon Rondo to injury, winning five consecutive games in what has mostly been a comfortable stretch. Kevin Garnett struggled earlier this season, but with added responsibility he’s actually playing better, averaging 18 points and 9 rebounds per game over their last five games, recording four double doubles in their last six. Paul Pierce, who isn’t exactly consistent with his shooting, has taken over the role of Rondo in running the point, averaging 6.2 assists to go with his 10 rebounds and 16.2 points per game.
Predictions – The Lakers don’t have a bench to contribute. It’s going to take a great game from Steve Nash and the rest of the supporting crew to come out with a win, not having both Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. If the Celtics continue to play at a high pace with good spreading and spacing, they should come out with the win in this one.