The Lakers finally play at home after a grueling seven-game road trip, where they won four out of seven games. That stretch can still be considered a success for the defending champions, given the obstacles that they’ve had to go through since the beginning of March. Still playing without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers were able to scrape together some big wins, including one over the red-hot Brooklyn Nets. Give a lot of credit to new acquisition Andre Drummond, who is set to make his home debut for his new squad.
Los Angeles has a lot of reasons to be pumped for the contest. First, the Staples Center will play in front of fans once again, with 2,000 spectators allowed to watch in the arena. Second, the Lakers’ championship banner will finally be raised, and the Florida Bubble chapter in the Lakers’ history will finally be put to a close. Look for the weary Lakers to feed off this energy and the memory of last season’s dominant finish.
"The mystique of being in that building with our great fans is a big part of why it's so cool to be a Laker,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “It's just been absent this year, and it's been missed. We're excited to have our fans back, for sure."
With all the pomp and circumstances of the upcoming game, there’s no better matchup for the Lakers than their decades-old rival, the Boston Celtics. The Beantown Boys have been rolling as of late, winners of their last four games including a thrilling 116-115 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Jayson Tatum has been red-hot during this winning streak with averages of 31.6 points and 8.6 rebounds over the last eight games. What makes it even more impressive for the youngster is that he’s still dealing with the effects of COVID-19.
According to Tatum, it’s just one in a long list of challenges Boston has faced all season long. “We've had to battle a lot of things with COVID, and guys being injured,” Tatum said. “We're just trying to build momentum. We're trying to get to where we want to be.”
The Celtics are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference and ready to put together more wins to finish the regular season strong. Find out if they can spoil the Lakers’ party this Friday morning live at 10:00 AM on One Sports.