The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are the two most storied teams in the National Basketball Association, and they are also bitter rivals. Both the Celtics and the Lakers have mutual respect for each other, but they also love to beat up on each other. If you are an NBA fan, odds are that you have seen these two teams battle it out in the NBA Finals, no matter how old you are. In the late 1990’s the Lakers and Celtics were everyone’s pick to win their respective conference. From Bird vs. Magic to Kobe vs. the “Big 3,” this rivalry has always produced some memorable games and NBA Finals series. This rivalry dates all the way back to the 1948 season and could be reaching another peak in the upcoming seasons. From the iconic purple and gold of the Lakers to the historic parquet floor of the Boston Garden, these two have helped shape the current NBA. Some of the game’s greatest players have been a part of this historic rivalry, and it is easy to see why it is the best rivalry in the history of the NBA.
History of Lakers and Celtics Rivalry
The first game ever played between the Boston Celtics and the then-Minneapolis Lakers took place on November 9, 1948. The Lakers would go on to win five NBA Championships while in Minneapolis before moving their team to LA. The first NBA Finals matchup between the Celtics and Lakers took place in 1959, when the Boston Celtics earned the first NBA Finals sweep in history. Boston would go on to win the next seven NBA Championships. The Lakers and Celtics have met in the NBA Finals a league-record 12 times. It was almost impossible to make a prediction as to who would win each series, and all of them featured extremely tight games. The rivals have met a total of 362 times, and the Celtics hold a 202-160 lead over the Lakers. The Celtics and Lakers have played an astonishing 74 postseason games against each other, and again Boston has the edge. The Celtics have won 43 of the 74 postseason games. Boston is the only team in NBA history that has a winning record against the Lakers. The last NBA Finals meeting between these two franchises was in 2010, but odds are that another one is coming soon.
The Lakers began in 1947, and the team had immediate success in their first few years in Minneapolis. Financial reasons forced the team to Los Angeles in 1960, and their success became even greater. The Lakers made the NBA Finals six times in the 1960’s while led by NBA legends Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul Jabbar also played most of their careers in LA, but things really took off for them when they drafted Magic Johnson. Johnson helped lead the “Showtime” to five NBA Championships in a nine-year span, and some people will pick the “Showtime” Lakers as the best team in NBA history. Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal led Los Angeles to three straight titles from 2000-02, further cementing the Lakers as one of the best franchises in league history. It’s hard to pick the greatest Laker of all time, but there are plenty of good candidates to choose from.
The Boston Celtics were one of the eight original NBA teams that began play during the 1946 seasons. The Celtics did not get off to a great start, but the hiring of Red Auerbach as head coach changed the history of the franchise. Auerbach helped to engineer the greatest run in NBA history, leading the Celtics to eight straight NBA Championships from 1959-1966. NBA legend Bill Russell took over as player coach after the 1966 season and guided the team to two more NBA Championships. Larry Bird led the Celtics to another decade of greatness in the 1980’s and ignited a fierce personal battle with Magic Johnson. After struggling in the early part of the 2000’s, the Boston odds changed with the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Those two future Hall of Famers teamed up with Celtics legend Paul Pierce to win an NBA Championship in 2008 over the Los Angeles Lakers. With another outstanding team heading into the 2018-19 season, the Celtics were many people’s pick for NBA Champion.
Head to Head Comparison of Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have combined to win 33 NBA Championships. The Celtics have a slight edge in championships, winning 17 to the Lakers’ 16. The Celtics and Lakers have met for a championship 12 different times, and Boston has won nine of those head to head meetings. There is one category that the Lakers have been more dominant in, and that is in conference titles. The Lakers have beaten the odds to win a whopping 31 conference titles, while Boston has done it just 21 times. The Lakers and Celtics have absolutely dominated the NBA, and they have the banners to prove it.
Look At the Last 20 Games Between Lakers-Celtics
Since the Lakers and Celtics only play two times a year, taking a look at the last 20 games will make us go all the way back to the 2010 season. While the past doesn’t always show what will happen in the future, it could help us make some predictions of what will come next. Boston has had the better of the Lakers in the all-time series, but the Lakers hold a slim 11-9 lead in the last 20 games. Boston has won six of the ten games played at home, but they have struggled in Los Angeles. The Lakers have gone 7-3 at the Staples Center, and they look like the pick whenever these two teams meet in LA.
Detailed Series Splits for Lakers vs. Celtics
Looking at the winner of each game doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to making betting predictions. Let’s stay focused on those last 20 games, and look a little closer at the odds and the results of these games. Looking at the results in relation to the point “total” doesn’t really clear things up. The two teams have gone “under” the total 11 times, while going “over” eight times. The Celtics and Lakers had one “push” when the total was set at 175.0. In the last 20 games in this rivalry, the Celtics have been the favorite a whopping 14 times. Boston has gone just 6-8, making the Lakers the better pick in these matchups. Of the six times that the Lakers were the favorite, the two teams split the decision at 3-3. Making a prediction in a rivalry game is always difficult, but the past history helps to make things a little more clear.