Well…here we go, Lakers fans. It’s time to see what Rob Pelinka’s roster is made out of as they will now play the rest of the first half of their schedule without Anthony Davis. He re-aggravated his right Achilles in Sunday’s loss to the Nuggets, with an MRI on Monday ruling out a tear or rupture. The Los Angeles Lakers will play the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight, with this being the sixth game this season that the Lakers have played without Davis. They are 4-1 in those games, however, it should be pointed out that three of those four victories were tight games against inferior opponents (one against the Bulls and two recent wins against the Thunder). Still, the other victory was a 36-point drumming of the T’Wolves way back on December 28th. If there’s any opponent in the NBA that the Lakers could use to figure out how they’re going to play without AD…it’s the T’Wolves.
Here’s our preview of tonight’s game.
Let’s start with the obvious. Anthony Davis will be out as he is reportedly going to be held out until after the All-Star break (ends March 10th). Other than that, the only other injury for the Lakers will be Kostas Antetokounmpo as he continues to be held out as he has been for the past few weeks.
On the other side, Lakers fans won’t be able to get to see their long, lost buddy D’Angelo Russell as he will miss his fourth straight game with some “left leg soreness”. Jarrett Culver — the Timberwolves’ high draft pick from the 2019 NBA Draft — will also be out as he is in the middle of a two-week absence due to a left ankle sprain. Karl Anthony-Towns is slated to start for the Timberwolves after missing many games due to contracting COVID-19. He’s played three games so far since returning on February 10th, tallying 20 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks in the Timberwolves’ recent win against the Raptors on Sunday.
Lakers -6.5; Over/Under 222.5; Lakers moneyline -265
If you’re actually taking my bets, I’m sorry. I’m now 6-11-1 after going 1-2 in our last preview for the Grizzlies game. You’re stuck with my terrible bets while Kyle and his 11-8 record remain on the sidelines. With that being said, I think I have some winners for you tonight.
I’m going to do the unfathomable here and pick the Timberwolves to cover at +6.5. I don’t have much statistical analysis for you to back that up, but the Timberwolves are 7-2-1 against-the-spread in their last 10 games while the Lakers are 3-7. The Timberwolves are also 2-1 ATS in their past three games with Karl Anthony-Towns (including a 4-point win over the Raptors on Sunday after coming in as +7.5 underdogs), who I foresee having a big night against the Lakers as AD will not be there to stop him. Mix in the overall uncomfortableness that the Lakers are expected to experience while adapting to not having AD in the middle of a road trip, and the +6.5 spread doesn’t seem crazy to me.
Other than that, I’ll back KAT scoring over 21.5 points tonight due to what I said above. I’ll also take Kyle Kuzma scoring over 14.5 points tonight as he may start in place of Davis. Last year he was a much different player when starting, averaging 20.9 points per game when compared to 11.4 points per game while coming off the bench. He’s only averaging 14.3 points per game this year as a starter compared to 10.0 points per game off the bench, but he scored 20 points in the Lakers’ win against the T’Wolves this season without AD and ended with 19 points on Sunday with AD missing the second half.
Where to watch
The game will be an early one, tipping off at 5:00 p.m. PST. It’ll be broadcasted on Spectrum SportsNet (as well as NBA League Pass if you have it).
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