Boston Celtics Gameday preview: 3 key matchups vs. Los Angeles Lakers

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 06: Al Horford /

The Boston Celtics (9-2) return home Wednesday night to take on Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers (5-5) at the TD Garden. 

A rivalry renewed?  The cast of characters are different, but Wednesday night’s matchup between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers could very well begin the next chapter of this storied rivalry.

The Celtics enter the game on a nine-game winning streak, including a three-game sweep of their recent road stops in Oklahoma City, Orlando and Atlanta.  The Lakers, on the other hand, will be playing the first of their four-game road trip that will end in Phoenix.

Led by top 3 rookie Lonzo Ball and veteran center Brook Lopez, the Lakers have won two straight and are hoping to be the team that stops the Celtics from winning 10 in a row.  If they are able to do so, they will have to do it on offense.

Through 10 games, the Lakers are giving up 107.3 points per game to opponents.  Kyrie Irving and crew should have no problem scoring.  Contrastly, the Celtics will have to come to play defensively, which they have been up until the game against the Atlanta Hawks.

This will be a challenge and one Brad Stevens will have his team up for.  In a game that will highlight the rookie matchup of Ball vs. Jayson Tatum, here are three matchups to watch Wednesday night.

Kyrie Irving vs. Lonzo Ball 

Without Al Horford, Kyrie Irving will have to step up his game offensively and he should be up for the challenge against the No. 2 overall pick, Lonzo Ball.

Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics /

Irving is coming off his best offensive performance as a member of the Celtics with a 35-point performance against the Hawks Monday night.  The four-time All-Star will likely be up for the matchup against the much talked about rookie.

So far this season, Ball is averaging just 8.8 points, but his 6.9 assists and playmaking ability could be more of a factor in this one.

Marcus Smart on Ball is another interesting matchup to watch.

Jayson Tatum & Marcus Morris vs. Brandon Ingram & Kyle Kuzma

The Lakers have a couple of young forwards the Celtics should match up well with tonight.  Coming off a 21-point performance against the Hawks, Jayson Tatum’s defense will be needed tonight.  Going up against either Brandon Ingram or Kyle Kuzma, Tatum will have his work cut out for him as both are averaging over 15 points per game.

Marcus Morris will also play a big role.  His offense could help offset any production the Lakers get out of both Ingram and Kuzma.  Rookie Semi Ojeleye should also see valuable minutes, especially if the starters have a tough time guarding both players.

Aron Baynes vs. Brook Lopez

The Celtics will depend on the muscle of Aron Baynes in this one.  Without Al Horford, the team will have to find ways to limit Brook Lopez on the offensive end.

Boston Celtics
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 2: Aron Baynes /

The veteran center is averaging 16.4 points and could take over under the basket if Boston doesn’t establish a presence defensively down low.  Lopez also has a mid-range shot that could be hard for Baynes to defend. Daniel Theis should get some big minutes I this game, especially if the Australian big man gets into early foul trouble.

How to watch Hawks vs. Celtics online

When:  Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Where:  TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Live Stream: Watch NBC Sports, fuboTV

Game Notes

The Boston Celtics will be without Al Horford against the Lakers.  The versatile forward suffered a concussion during the game against the Hawks.  He is now day-to-day after being placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol.

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Projected starting lineup

G – Kyrie Irving

G – Jaylen Brown

F- Jayson Tatum

F – Marcus Morris

C – Aron Baynes

Who’s Hot

Kyrie Irving is coming off a very explosive 35-point performance against the Atlanta Hawks. He went 14-for-22 from the field, including a key three-pointer with just over a minute to go.

He was also involved in the play that led to a corner three pointer by Jayson Tatum that helped seal the game with under a minute to go. Irving will look to continue his hot shooting Wednesday night against the Lakers.

Next: Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum already clutch in big moments


The Celtics defensive pressure will be a key in this one.  Without Al Horford, Brad Stevens will have to come up with a way to limit the Lakers front court.  If not, this could turn into a high-scoring contest that could actually benefit Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown.  It will be close for a while, but the Celtics pull this out in the fourth quarter.

Boston Celtics 112, Los Angeles Lakers 102.