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Boston Celtics

Friday Game Previews: LeBron faces Kyrie in historic Lakers-Celtics clash; Blazers host the Spurs

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving
(Getty Images)

Los Angeles Lakers (27-27) vs Boston Celtics (35-19)

Where to Watch

Date: Friday, Feb. 8

Time: 6:30 AM IST

TV: Sony Ten 1

Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA

Game Preview

After missing 17 games due to a strained groin that he suffered against the Warriors on Christmas Day, James returned last Friday against the LA Clippers and played 40 minutes in a much-needed win. James nearly recorded a triple-double, finishing with 24 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists.

He missed Sunday's game against the Warriors due to 'load management' and when he suited up again in Indiana, the Lakers suffered a beatdown, losing by 42 points despite the Pacers missing their best player in Victor Oladipo.

Without the King in 17 straight games, the shorthanded Lakers went 6-11 and this will be their fourth away game of a six-game road trip. They are currently the 10th seed in the West, 2.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Clippers in the Western Conference standings.

With 28 games left in the season, James' return couldn't have come at a better time as the Lakers need to win as many games as possible to make the postseason for the first time since 2013.

Other than the loss to the Warriors, the Celtics have been red-hot since mid-January.

They have won 13 of their last 14 games at the TD Garden and 10 of their last 11 overall, tied for the best record in the league since Jan. 15. During this time span, they have the sixth-best offensive rating (116.3) and fourth-best defensive rating (106.0).

As things stand right now, the Celtics are tied for the third seed in the Eastern Conference with the Indiana Pacers. Boston plays three out of the next four games at home before the All-Star break, a favourable schedule that should allow them to strengthen their hold on the third seed.

Game Notes

  • The Boston Celtics have a home record of 22-6. They have won 13 of their last 14 games at the TD Garden.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers have a road record of 11-15. This is the fourth contest of their six-game long road trip.
  • The Celtics will reportedly be without the duo of Aron Baynes (Foot) and Jabari Bird (Personal) while Robert Williams (Back) is said to be a game-time decision.
  • On the other hand, the Lakers will surely be without Lonzo Ball (Ankle) and Reggie Bullock (Not Injury related). They have four players who will be game-time decisions - LeBron James (Rest), Kyle Kuzma (Hip), Josh Hart (Kneecap) and Ivica Zubac (Finger).

Last Time They Played

Date: Jan. 24, 2018

Score: Celtics 107-108 Lakers

Celtics: Kyrie Irving - 33 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds on 54.2% shooting.

Lakers: Kyle Kuzma - 28 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists on 62.5% shooting.


San Antonio Spurs (32-24) vs Portland Trail Blazers (32-21)

Where to Watch

Date: Friday, Feb. 8

Time: 9:00 AM IST

TV: Sony Ten 1

Location: Moda Center, Portland, OR

Game Preview

After a slow start in their first 25 games (11-14), the Spurs have bounced back to a strong sixth seed in the West.

Since Dec. 8, the Spurs won 21 of their 31 games, tied for the third-best winning percentage over this time span with an offensive rating ranked 3rd (115.6) and a defensive rating ranked 7th (108.1) in the league.

Quite often in the NBA, momentum is key but the Spurs began their road trip with losses in Sacramento and Oakland.

This is San Antonio's third contest of a monster 8-game long road trip.

Meanwhile, the new year has treated the Portland Trail Blazers very well.

In 2019, the Blazers have gone 11-5 with an offensive rating of 116.4 (4th-best) and a defensive rating of 108.6 (8th-best).

The team's backcourt fuels their offense and from the season so far, there's a reason to be optimistic about the campaign ahead. Damian Lillard has been quietly rankings among the league's best offensive stars this season and has deserved his All-Star selection but the team's other two stars (CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic) are struggling to be consistent with their production.

CJ McCollum did record his first career triple-double (28-10-10) in the team's recent win against the Atlanta Hawks but he's shooting a career-low 36.5% on 3-point shooting (one of his biggest strengths) and his assists average of 2.7 is lowest in four years.

Imagine how well Portland would start playing if he finds his shooting stroke.

Game Notes

  • The Blazers have a home record of 22-8 and prior to their loss to the Heat on Wednesday, they had won eight straight at the Moda Center.
  • The Spurs have a 10-17 road record in the league and this contest in Portland will be their third game of this 8-game rodeo road trip.
  • This is a back-to-back for the Spurs, their ninth of the season. So far, they have gone 3-5 on the second night of six previous back-to-backs.
  • For the Blazers, Rodney Hood (Not Injury related) is expected to be a game-time decision.
  • Meanwhile, for the Spurs, Derrick White (Knee) and Dejounte Murray (Heel). The duo of LaMarcus Aldridge (Rest) and DeMar DeRozan (Rest) are reportedly game-time decisions.

Last Time They Played

Date: Dec. 3, 2018

Score: Blazers 118-131 Spurs

Blazers: Damian Lillard - 37 points, 10 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals

Spurs: DeMar DeRozan - 36 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals.

Box Score

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