The Lakers had just suffered their first back-to-back losses this season after the 107-92 beating administered by the Detroit Pistons on Thursday. The defeat also marked their first time losing two straight games on the road this season after a 10-0 start away from home.
Meanwhile, the Celtics aren’t exactly in good shape after having lost three of their last five contests, including their 110-106 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. However, playing at home this weekend should do wonders for the team as they prepare to give the LA akers another first this season - a three-game losing streak.
Combined Starting 5 (LA Lakers vs Boston Celtics Prediction)
For longtime basketball fans, it seems as if the LA Lakers and the Boston Celtics have been rivals since James Naismith created the game more than a century ago.
The Celtics have a legitimate shot at representing the East for a chance to dethrone the Lakers if they meet in the Finals.
Saturday will be their first meeting this season, and it could be a Finals preview for the fans. Players from both teams undoubtedly understand how important this game is to both franchises, and they will all come out determined to win this match.
Statistically, the LA Lakers have the edge in this matchup, but after several days on the road, fatigue will be a huge factor. The Celtics will look to suck the air out of the Lakers from the start and keep the pressure on defensively.
Without further ado, let’s look at our combined starting 5 for the LA Lakers-Boston Celtics game:
Point Guard - Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics)
Kemba Walker is slowly getting back on his feet after coming back from a lingering knee issue that kept him from playing almost the entire first month of the season. At only 85 percent of his usual capacity, he is still a handful for the LA Lakers.
In five games for the Boston Celtics this season, Walker is averaging 16.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. He'll be matched up against Dennis Schroder of the LA Lakers on Saturday.
Shooting Guard - Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
Jaylen Brown is enjoying his best year with career-highs in points (27.1), assists (3.5), steals (1.5), field-goal percentage (52.2), 3-point percentage (44.1), and free-throw percentage (77.4). The fifth-year swingman out of California has taken the leap from also-ran to potential All-Star player this season.
Currently leading the Boston Celtics in points per game, Brown has seen his scoring average rise to the stratosphere as the eighth-best scorer in the league this year.
Small Forward - LeBron James (LA Lakers)
LeBron James was supposed to decline physically and operationally on the court at 36 years old and counting. However, the 16-time All-Star continues to defy Father Time with one strong performance after another, including a 46-point outburst against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.
King James has been so good for so long that it’s sometimes unusual to see him look tired as he did last Thursday versus the Detroit Pistons.
However, since he’ll be facing a familiar foe on Saturday, expect the LA Lakers forward to come out firing and score beyond his current scoring average of 25.5 points a night.
Power Forward - Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
As the Boston Celtics’ franchise player, Jayson Tatum plays well with Jaylen Brown. The Celtics’ wing players complement one another as they know how to facilitate the offense, not just take shots.
After missing five games due to COVID-19, Tatum has only played two games, scoring 24 and 25 points consecutively.
The All-Star forward is so talented that he was able to play well against Cleveland and San Antonio. However, facing the LA Lakers will be a tough test for him as it will be his third game this week.
He will have to be better against the best defensive team in the league when he takes the court on Saturday.
Center - Anthony Davis (LA Lakers)
Anthony Davis has been anchoring the LA Lakers' defense since he joined the organization two summers ago. His absence was felt severely in the loss to the Pistons as his teammates couldn’t stop their opponents from entering the lane.
More than his offensive contributions, which are far from insignificant at 21.9 points per game on 52.2 percent shooting from the field, Davis is crucial to preventing the other team from making easy baskets.
It’s unsure how he’ll play after the LA Lakers rested him against the Pistons due to a quad injury, but a less than 100 percent Anthony Davis is better than the alternative especially against the Boston Celtics.