Lakers Game Day
(Anna Lupean/Los Angeles Lakers)

Lakers at Celtics: 3 Things to Know (1/20/20)

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Here is what you need to know before the latest chapter of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry.

1) It takes a village
The Lakers ran into a wall early in Saturday’s marquee matchup against Houston, trailing for the entirety of the first half. But the team refused to fold.

With Anthony Davis out, LeBron James bared the superstar burden, dropping 31 points and 12 assists in a feat of half-court and fast-break playmaking. But even legends can’t do it on their own.

Kyle Kuzma (23 points), Danny Green (20) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (20) blended inside and outside scoring, while JaVale McGee spearheaded the defense. And the Lakers won for the 10th time in their last 11 games.

2) It all starts at the point
LeBron may not be your typical point guard, but he has established himself as the game’s alpha playmaker with a league-best 10.9 assists per game. However, Boston has an all-star running its show too.

Kemba Walker is one of the NBA’s most dangerous weapons out of the pick-and-roll, and has been electrifying from deep with the fourth-most 3-pointers in the Association (3.5). But he hasn’t had much luck head-to-head with James.

LeBron has never lost in 28 career matchups against Walker. James has been brilliant in this mano-a-mano series, averaging 30.0 points, 8.3 assists and 8.2 rebounds, while shooting a sizzling 48.0% from 3-point range.

3) No better rivalry in the game
The Lakers and Celtics face off for the first time this season, in a meeting between basketball’s greatest rivals.

Each team ranks among the NBA’s top six in both offensive and defensive rating. While the Lakers are 18-3 on the road, Boston has gone 16-5 on home court.

Although the Celtics are looking to regain footing amid a 2-6 stretch, they still boast considerable talent, including Walker, Jayson Tatum (21.3 points), Jaylen Brown (20.0) and Gordon Hayward (16.3). And that’s not to mention Marcus Smart, who is coming off a career-high 37 points (including 11 3-pointers) in Saturday’s loss to Phoenix.

Injury Report
Anthony Davis (gluteus maximus contusion) and Rajon Rondo (non-displaced fracture, right ring finger) are questionable. DeMarcus Cousins (right knee rehabilitation) is out.
Celtics: Kemba Walker (left knee soreness) and Jaylen Brown (right thumb sprain) are questionable. Robert Williams (left hip bone edema) is out.

Tip-Off: 4:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet locally, TNT nationally
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 Tu Liga
Unis: Gold City
Location: TD Garden — Boston, Massachusetts

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