A night after getting another big win without the services of Rajon Rondo, the Celtics host their arch rival the Lakers tonight in primetime. Find out why we are adding a play on the total to our NBA picks in this showdown.

The NBA Odds favor the Celtics by -2 ½ even though they played on the road last night. Will Boston have enough to beat the Lakers, even though they are coming off a back to back, or will the shorthanded Lakers get a much needed road win?

Let's breakdown this matchup and decide there we are best suited to place our NBA picks tonight.

Celtics cruise without Rondo

Image previewIt looked like Boston was done without Rondo in their lineup, and while I still think they are doomed, they have won five straight games since Rondo’s injury, and whether it’s just a honeymoon period or not, it took their best player getting hurt to start playing with urgency.

Last night, Boston won a big road game against the Raptors, a team on the uphill, and even though the games they are winning are close, a win is a win for this Boston team.

So is it just a matter of the sportsbooks compensating too much for Rondo’s absence, or is this a new team without Rondo? The Celtics seem to be scoring more, but they are giving up a bunch of points as well. Normally a solid defensive unit, the Celtics have started giving up some more points over their last two games. 

If Boston can’t buckle down on defense, then this five game winning streak SU is going to end and this team is going to look like a lottery team. Sure they have won five in a row, but three of them were against really bad teams, while the Clippers were without their best player. I don’t think this is going to keep going at all.

Lakers’ infirmary is full

Dwight Howard is still out nursing his shoulder injury, and Pau Gasol has a tear in his plantar fascia, so both big men will miss tonight’s game. That means the Lakers are going to have to play tiny tonight, starting a frontcourt of likely Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark.

Against a team like the Celtics who have trouble rebounding the ball anyways, this is not good for the Lakers. Boston will likely dominate on the boards tonight, leaving Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash to try and win the game from the perimeter.

Even though they beat the Nets on Tuesday, I can’t see the Lakers playing as well against the Celtics in Boston. However, I’m not siding with the spread today, as I believe that the best value lies in betting the total.

The Sharp Pick 

Even though the Under is trending between these two in their recent history, I see no way this isn’t a higher scoring affair tonight. Without the defensive presence of both Howard and Gasol, the C’s will be able to rebound and Kevin Garnett should have a great game.

Plus, Boston played last night, which means their defense is going to struggle some against Kobe and company. Even though the under has cashed five out of the last five trips the Lakers have made to TD Garden, that streak will end tonight. Both teams will try and run to floor, as the Lakers are without their big men, and the Celtics don’t have many choices without Rondo. Take the over. 

NBA Pick: OVER 194.5