Free NBA Picks for Celtics vs. Lakers

Jordan Sharp

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:47 PM GMT

The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and even though there were rumors floating around guys like Pau Gasol and Rajon Rondo being traded, nothing came of it. Tonight Gasol’s status is looking good, and the NBA Odds have the Lakers as -2 ½ favorites tonight, with a total of 203. Will LA be able to get a win even if Gasol sits, or are they dependent on his status tonight?

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Old rivalry; not so high profile

Even though these teams are still the oldest rivals in the NBA, they both are headed straight for the lottery this season. Both are in the midst of a rebuild, and even though they are on two different levels when it comes to optimism, they are both set up well for the future.

Gasol was upgraded to questionable from doubtful on Wednesday, however he still didn’t take to the court on Wednesday. He has been practicing, and although his status for tonight’s game has not been confirmed, it is looking like he will play tonight. There was a report yesterday that he is listed as probable for tonight, so as long as he doesn’t hurt anything further in shoot around or pregame warm ups, he should be back.

Even with Gasol probably on the floor, I think the Lakers are a bit overvalued tonight. Gasol might be a bit rusty from his layoff, and even though Boston has no one to defend him, the Lakers are more banged up than most are crediting.

With Steve Blake gone via a trade, and Nick Young and Steve Nash still likely out with injuries, the Lakers will have a hot mess at the guard position. Jodie Meeks is back and he will likely start alongside Kendall Marshall, but after them the guard position is slim for LA. Even though Avery Bradley is still injured for the C’s, Rajon Rondo will likely be a handful for the Lakers tonight, and if they can’t defend the paint, the C’s are going to have open shots all night due to Rondo’s penetration.

Friday's NBA Picks & Predictions

The Sharp Pick

The C’s have been somewhat undervalued on the road this season, especially as underdogs. Boston is 14-10 ATS as road dogs this season, and even with Gasol likely back in the fold, I like the Celtics to get the cover here. The Lakers are only 3-6 ATS this season as home favorites, and with their light back court, they won’t be much use on the defensive end of the floor. They could break out newly acquired guards Marshon Brooks or Kent Bazemore, but they run the risk of more defensive and offensive lapses with those two playing extended minutes.

The Lakers have lost five straight home games SU, so this game being in Staples Center means almost nothing to me. However the play of Rondo, Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger will ultimately decide the game. If those three play great on both ends of the floor, the Celtics will come away being a great value here. Gasol is going to get his, but the same could be said about Rondo tonight, and I would argue that Rondo is a worse mismatch for LA than Gasol is to the Celtics. I see Boston coming to play tonight against their old rivals for our NBA picks.

NBA Pick: Celtics +2 ½