The Boston Celtics lost the first two games of the Kyrie Irving era. They have proceeded to win the next nine straight. So it’s a first-place 9-2 Celtics team that hosts the Los Angeles Lakers tonight in a game being show nationally on ESPN at 8pm. The 5-5 Lakers may not have what it takes just yet to reignite a classic rivalry that includes names like Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, but this is a fresh new young Lakers team that is already surprising. And it’s not just rookie Lonzo Ball (with and uneven but tantalizing start) and Brook Lopez’s 3-pointers for the Lakers– it’s a running game that head coach Luke Walton loves and players who play a little defense too. The Lakers are on a two-game win streak themselves.
Here are 5 things to know about the Lakers vs. Celtics on November 8.
- Remarkably the Celtics 9-2 record comes despite playing the majority of their games so far on the road. The Celts have compiled a 6-1 mark away from the Boston TD Garden.
- Versatile Celtics center/forward Al Horford will miss the game because he has entered concussion protocol, possibly as a result of a knock he took in Boston’s Nov. 6 in Atlanta.
- Irving enters averaging 22.3 ppg, less than his 25.2 ppg average last year in Cleveland. He wanted out of Cleveland to be “the man” but that doesn’t mean just scoring. The Cavs are off to a so-so start without him.
- Irving is averaging 2.2 steals, about double what he averaged in the last two years with the Cavs.
- If the young Lakers are going to beat the Celtics on the road, this is a good place in their trip to meet Boston. It’s the first game of a four-game road trip. Watch for Kyle Kuzma, who despite Ball’s publicity is probably the best rookie on the Lakers — with three double-doubles in ten games.
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