BOSTON CELTICS (28-25)
at LOS ANGELES LAKERS (25-29)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -7, Total: 195.5
The Lakers host the Celtics on Wednesday night trying to avenge their embarrassing road loss in Boston from two weeks ago.
When these teams last met on Feb. 7, L.A. was absolutely manhandled in a 116-95 loss, and that was while Boston was without Rajon Rondo. Since that game, the Lakers are just 1-3 ATS, including a 125-101 drubbing by the rival Clippers in their most recent game last Thursday. Meanwhile, the Celtics are 8-2 (SU and ATS) in their past 10 games, even with a loss in Denver on Tuesday night.
Can the Lakers cover the hefty spread against their longtime rival? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. For NBA Best Bets, StatFox Scott is in the midst of a monster run, going 18-5 ATS (78%) since Feb. 3, and improving his record to an impressive 57.1% ATS (88-66-1) for the season. The experts are a collective 57% ATS (58-44) in the month of February. StatFox Gary is 64% ATS (7-4) since Feb. 5, and 56.3% ATS (9-7) for the month of February. StatFox Brian is 4-2 ATS (67%) since Feb. 12. For NBA Totals, the experts are a strong 47-37-1 (56%) in the past 21 days with Gary at 18-11 (62%) and StatFox Brian going 15-12-1 (56%) since Jan. 25. For the season, Scott is a whopping 56.3% (76-59) in Totals, while Gary is at 52% (69-64-4).
The Celtics are coming off of a tough loss to the Nuggets on Tuesday, in which they ended up losing 97-90, but they were able to cover the spread for the eighth time in 10 games. The team's two star, PF Kevin Garnett and SF Paul Pierce, actually werenít performing at their best for Boston. Garnett finished with only 12 points (6-of-14 FG) and nine rebounds, while Pierce managed just 10 points on 2-of-14 shooting from the field. He did, however, have six assists. But when these teams met earlier this month, Pierce had 24 points, seven rebounds, six assists and a +24 rating, while Garnett scored five points with five rebounds, four assists and three steals. The strong play for Boston actually came from PF Jeff Green, who finished with 20 points and two blocks. Green is now averaging 16.4 PPG over the past five games for the Celtics. PG Avery Bradley also had a big game against Denver, finishing with 17 points and three rebounds. Pierce is going to need to score more if Boston is going to go anywhere heading forward this season, but strong bench play from some of their younger players is definitely a bright spot for Doc Riversí bunch.
In last Thursday's 24-point loss to the Clippers, SG Kobe Bryant was one of the only players competing hard all game, finishing with 20 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. Bryant was also the lone bright spot in the loss to the Celtics this season, scoring 27 points on 9-of-15 FG and 9-of-9 FT. He also grabbed seen rebounds in that defeat. Since 2006, Bryant has averaged 30.7 PPG (47% FG, 42% threes) in 14 games versus Boston. C Dwight Howard also played pretty well for Los Angeles with 18 points (7-of-10 FG) and eight rebounds. There were concerns about Howardís health going into the All-Star break, but those should be put to rest as the center ended up starting in the game. Howard needs to keep his emotions in check though, after fouling out in the loss in Boston two weeks ago, posting just nine points, nine rebounds and four turnovers. The Lakers are going to need better play out of PG Steve Nash. Over the past five games, Nash is averaging just 11.6 PPG and 5.4 APG. He is also shooting just 27% from three during this stretch, which is way below his season average of 40.5%. Nash had nine points, five assists and zero turnovers in the loss in Boston two weeks ago.