Boston at L.A. Lakers
When: 10:30 PM ET, Friday, March 3, 2017
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES – (Special Preview for Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – The Boston Celtics will try to build off perhaps their best win of the season when they begin a challenging five-game road trip at the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. After losing three of four, and looking very sluggish in a 16-point home loss to Atlanta on Monday, the Celtics made a dramatic turnaround with a 103-99 win over Cleveland two nights later.
“We just played to win,” guard Isaiah Thomas – who scored 31 points – told reporters. “They’re the No. 1 team in the East. One of the best teams in the NBA, and we just wanted to protect home court and get a win. We did that tonight.” Boston enters Friday three games behind the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference and it hopes to stay close while navigating a trip that includes games against the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Clippers and an improving Denver Nuggets squad. Fortunately for the Celtics, they get to start the voyage against the two worst teams in the West – the Lakers and the Phoenix Suns. Los Angeles has dropped five in a row and Tuesday’s 109-104 loss to Charlotte clinched its fourth consecutive losing season.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, CSN New England (Boston), Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (39-22): Guard Avery Bradley, who returned from a lengthy absence due to an Achilles issue two games ago, made the most of his 22 minutes Wednesday with 11 points and several big defensive possessions against Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving. “It’s a good feeling. That’s what I play this game for, to go up against the best players,” Bradley told reporters. “I know I haven’t been out there in a while, but hopefully I can still be mentioned for first-team all-defense. It’s something I take pride in.” Thomas scored 38 points in a 113-107 win over the Lakers at home last month.
ABOUT THE LAKERS (19-42): Julius Randle was a bright spot in the loss to the Hornets with 23 points, 18 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocked shots, and coach Luke Walton is urging the talented forward to bring that effort more often. “That’s the longest period of time he’s played that hard all season long,” Walton told the media. Randle, who missed the loss to Boston in February, has tied a career high with four straight double-digit rebounding efforts.
1. Celtics C Al Horford had 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Cleveland but scored in single digits for the fifth straight time, his longest such stretch since the 2008-09 season.
2. Lakers PG D’Angelo Russell is averaging 22.8 points over his last four games.
3. Boston G Gerald Green (heel) has missed four games in a row and is day-to-day.