The Los Angeles Lakers will look to win their fifth straight tonight as they welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder to town. The game will be the first of two games that the two teams will play against each other, with another coming on Wednesday as a part of the NBA’s MLB-style series over this season. The Thunder themselves are coming off of two series against the Timberwolves and Rockets, going 2-2 in those four games. The Lakers have already played the Thunder this season, winning 128-99 on January 13th. However, the Lakers will be without Anthony Davis in this one after he scored 18 points in 25 minutes in that first matchup against the Thunder.
With that being said, let’s dive into our preview for tonight’s game.
It sounds like Anthony Davis’ absence from this game is more than just a normal case of rest for the usually-banged-up superstar. The official injury report diagnosis is “right Achilles tendonosis” which we of course understand fully as we are all experienced doctors.
That’s a joke, but seriously, the word “Achilles” being thrown around with Anthony Davis is enough to scare the toughest Lakers fan. Luckily, Dave McMenamin of ESPN reports that Davis underwent medical imaging on the Achilles which assured that the tendon is “in good shape”. Still though, McMenamin also reports that his source said Davis has been managing the discomfort “for a while”. This may be a reason for Davis’ slow start to the season, as he has experienced declines in his points, rebounds, and blocks per game this season. At one point he even admitted that he thinks he sucks right now.
We’ll have to see if this keeps Davis out of more games and if the injury becomes more serious than what it currently is. Thankfully, the Lakers have the roster to afford these types of absences from Davis. This will be the fourth game he’s missed this season (Lakers are 2-1 in games he has missed so far).
Another item of note with the Lakers’ injury report is a new injury for Alex Caruso. He is “questionable” for tonight with a right-hand strain. Other than the continued absences of Kostas Antetokounmpo and Jared Dudley, LeBron James and his ankle sprain remain on the report with a “probable” diagnosis for him (per Dave McMenamin of ESPN).
Lakers -10.5; Over/under 218.5; Lakers moneyline -590
Yes, that’s right. Even without Anthony Davis out of the game, the Lakers are still favored by more than 10 points against the Thunder. Looking at the games that Davis has missed, the -10.5 isn’t looking that appealing. The most recent game Davis missed was the 15-point loss to the lowly Pistons, while the game before that being the Lakers’ narrow 117-115 win against the Bulls at home. I personally wouldn’t put money on either side of the spread, but for the purposes of this preview, I will take Thunder +10.5 due to the Lakers not having Davis, their recent history of playing poorly against bad opponents, as well as a little Super Bowl hangover that I’m guessing some of the Lakers players have.
I’m not messing with the over/under or either side of the moneyline, but I do see two player props that I love. LeBron James’ three-pointer total is set at 2.5, and I’ll take the over on that at favorable +110 odds. He’s made at least two threes in each of his past seven games, going over two in four of those seven games. Plus, he made five total three-pointers against the Thunder in their first matchup. While he’s nursing that Super Bowl hangover, I expect him to settle for enough three-pointers to get above that number.
I’m even more so in love with Dennis Schröder’s over on combined points, rebounds, and assists total at 23.5. He eclipsed this with 24 in the Lakers’ first game against the Thunder, and has blown it out of the water in his past two games with 34 against the Pistons and 27 against the Nuggets. He might beat 23.5 with his points alone, especially with the Lakers needing some additional offense with AD out.
I was 2-1 on bets in my last preview, bringing my terrible total record on the season to 2-6-1. My fellow writer Kyle continues to best me at 11-8.
Where to watch
Tip-off will be at 7:00 p.m. The game can be found on Spectrum SportsNet.
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