What’s behind the Boston Celtics’ hot start – and what could have gone better in the NBA’s Christmas classic against the Lakers?

What’s behind the Boston Celtics’ hot start – and what can get better?

The Boston Celtics are off to an impressive 25-6 start to their 2023-24 campaign, recently sweeping a homestand against tough opponents like the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic while splitting the first two games of their annual West Coast swing, dropping a game to the Golden State Warriors and blowing out the Sacramento Kings.

What’s behind the Boston Celtics’ hot start — and what can get better? Key contributors include Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, and a more productive bench than the Celtics are accustomed to, with White’s play in particular shining for Boston. While an All-Star bid is unlikely for White, his versatility and leadership have made him invaluable, his play helping “defunkify” things when the team hits a cold stretch.

But there’s still plenty to criticize, even with how well this team has played for the most part in the first quarter of the season.

The hosts behind the CLNS Media “Celtics Lab” podcast recently linked up with NBC Sports Boston’s Max Lederman to talk it over; check it out above.

Celtics vs Lakers NBA Odds: Betting Trends Make This One Tough to Gauge

Neither Boston nor the Lakers Inspire Much Confidence

A Classic Rivalry is Tough to Bet on Christmas Day
The Celtics-Lakers rivalry is a storied one and needs no introduction. It’s a solid choice for one of the five NBA Christmas Day games. But as far as betting the Celtics vs Lakers NBA odds, it is a tough cookie. The opening line had Boston favored by a point, which has now increased to two. It’s nearly a toss-up as these rivals are evenly matched. But can we mine the betting trends for an edge?

Lakers vs. Celtics prediction, odds, line, spread: 2022 NBA picks, Dec. 13  best bets from proven model - CBSSports.com
The first thing to look at here is how these teams perform on Christmas Day. The Lakers have a better record on the NBA table, though that’s not saying much. Boston is 16-20 on Christmas Day games, straight-up, while the Lakers are 24-25. Against each other, the Lakers are 3-1, and all four games were played in Laker territory.

As for LeBron James, his Lakers are 2-3 against the spread (ATS) on Christmas Day games. Overall, his teams are a combined 9-7 ATS on December 25. Over his career, he’s averaged 27.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and seven assists in 17 X-Mas day games. He scored 38 and 39 points in his last two appearances, albeit in losses.

Against Jayson Tatum and the Celtics, James is 4-5 as a member of the Lakers. Tatum’s Celtics won three of the last four games, though the previous two came in overtime. The Celtics’ superstar forward has also scored 30+ in six straight meetings against the Lakers. He should be a good NBA picks today to go over his scoring totals.

The total is set a bit high as well at 237. The Lakers have scored at least 115 points in four of their last five Christmas Day games. As for the Boston Celtics, it scored a Christmas Day-high 139 points last year against Milwaukee. The Celtics scored 113 in 2022, 95 in 2021, and 118 in 2020.

The Celtics vs Lakers NBA odds have such high totals, namely due to trends beyond these teams: the total has gone over in 12 of the last 15 Christmas Day games. Maybe it’s the holidays but teams may be likely to be more lax on defense than usual.

Celtics vs Lakers: Injury report and prediction | Marca

Celtics Have Gotten Best of Lakers Recently

As far as the Celtics-Lakers’ more recent matchup stats, Boston has the edge. The Celtics are 6-4 and 6-31 ATS in the last 10 meetings with the Lakers. The totals have also gone over in eight of these games, which also adds to the high total this Christmas Day. Boston scored 120+ points in four of their last five games, and it won all of these.

The Celtics are the best NBA team this 2023-24 with a 21-6 record. However, Boston is also just 7-6 on the road and a brutal 3-8-2 ATS. Fortunately for its backers, a spread of two gives Boston plenty of leeway to cover. All six of its most recent wins against L.A. have been by four or more points, though the last two came in OT.

As for the Lakers, they will be hard-pressed to come through as underdogs on the NBA predictions. The Lakers are 11-3 at home but only 2-6 as an underdog. And against Boston, the Lakers are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games as the dog.

Also, keep an eye on the injury status of both Tatum and James. Both recently missed games due to minor injuries. Should either not play, it could impact the Celtics vs Lakers NBA odds.

Boston is 1-0 this season without Tatum. That win came via a 144-119 blowout of Sacramento in its arena. Meanwhile, the Lakers are 2-0 without James. But in a big game this Christmas, expect both to suit up.

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