The Boston Celtics are in a serious funk, and they'll need to upset one of the NBA's best teams to snap out of it.
The Celtics have lost three straight games and six of their last eight, most recently falling 123-119 to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.
The Los Angeles Lakers, meanwhile, boast the best record in the Western Conference (34-8) and have won 10 of their last 11 despite being without Anthony Davis for their last five contests.
Injuries could sway this one either way -- Davis and Rajon Rondo are questionable for L.A., while Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown are questionable for Boston -- but the C's still face a tall task in shutting down LeBron James at TD Garden on Monday night.
Here are our betting predictions for Celtics-Lakers, as well as two NBA locks against the spread.
(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)
Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics, 7:30 p.m. ET
Moneyline: The Lakers have lost just three games on the road all season, and you know James will relish the chance to beat the Celtics in Boston. Even without Davis, I like the Lakers (-130) winning this one outright.
Point Spread: The Celtics will have some pride and keep this one close. Having Brown and Tatum in the same lineup also would jolt this struggling offense. But Boston's issue of late has been its defense, and L.A.'s offense is rolling right now. The Lakers (-2) cover this thin spread.
Point Total: The Celtics have allowed 116 points or more in three straight games. The Lakers have scored more than 116 points in six straight games. That's all the evidence I need to take the OVER on a 223.5 point total.
Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 57-32-1 (63.3% success rate)
NBA Locks of the Night
Denver Nuggets (+2.5) at Minnesota Timberwolves: You could argue this is a scheduled loss for Denver, which just played Sunday night and doesn't have Jamal Murray. But the Timberwolves have lost five in a row and are the vastly inferior team.
Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers (-6.5): The Warriors should have Draymond Green back and just beat the Orlando Magic by 14. They've also lost seven straight on the road and are primed for a let-down game.
Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 31-28-1 (51.7% success rate)
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Lakers, which begins Monday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.