Although the Los Angeles Lakers had impressive wins lately over the Trail Blazers and Warriors, the players and coaches (and possibly even Lakers fans) have to be dying for this All-Star break as they have seemed mentally and physically exhausted at times in the past 10 games. With their tired legs combined with Anthony Davis being out for an extended period — as well as Dennis Schröder for a brief period — the Lakers are really limping into the break with a 4-6 record in their last 10. To top it all off, Marc Gasol was put into the health and safety protocols right before the game last night with Kyle Kuzma being a late scratch as well with a heel problem.
If there’s any team that may lose to a Lakers team without Davis, LeBron, Gasol, and Kuzma…it’d be the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers took a late-night plane last night from Phoenix to Sacramento, as the purple-and-gold could pull off an “upset” of pretty big proportions with so many players out on the road in a back-to-back. They will be playing a team with a 13-21 record, losing nine of their last 10 as many are patiently waiting for the firing of Luke Walton. There may not be any bad blood between the Lakers franchise and Walton, but fans of the Lakers may still feel some animosity towards Walton as there were much more “bad” than “good” moments during his tenure in L.A. His time with the team ended after the 2018-19 season, LeBron’s first with the Lakers as the franchise decided on a full clean slate with Davis and Frank Vogel added.
There’s not much that I feel like I should note regarding the Kings this year, but I will point out rookie Tyrese Haliburton who would have a pretty good claim to the Rookie of the Year award if it wasn’t for LaMelo Ball on the Hornets. Haliburton is currently averaging 13.2 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.6 rebounds with a very impressive 3.5x assist-to-turnover ratio as he is really showing that he could be a solid point guard in the NBA for a long time. Sadly, he will be out for tonight’s game due to a calf injury that the Kings are probably being cautious on.
Anyways, here’s the rest of my recap for this foolish game.
There still haven’t been any official updates on Gasol or Kuzma for tonight’s game, but we do know that LeBron James will not be playing. He did not even fly with the team to Sacramento (per Dave McMenamin of ESPN) as he returns home to receive treatment on the left ankle sprain he’s had nearly all season.
But let’s go ahead and call this what it actually is. It’s a load management game. It’ll be LeBron’s first missed game of the season.
As for the Kings, they may be without just as many players as the Lakers as Jabari Parker and Buddy Hield are both questionable. Hield has an ankle sprain while Parker has been in COVID protocols. Speaking of those protocols, Hassan Whiteside will be out due to protocols while I previously mentioned that Haliburton will be out due to a minor calf injury.
Kings -3.5; Over/under 223.5; Kings moneyline -152 (Lakers moneyline +128)
I went 1-2 on my picks in the Suns game last night, bringing myself to a 5-4 record in the past three games. I’m now 15-22-2 on the season.
Where do I go with this weird game? Lord, I don’t know. All I know is it is depressing to see the Kings favored against the Lakers. I’m going to only take one bet for this preposterous game instead of my usual three, with that bet being the under on 223.5 although the Kings do have the worst defense in the NBA according to Defensive Rating. The Lakers’ offense is probably still going to be pretty bad without LeBron, Davis, and possibly Kuzma. I could see this game filled with A LOT of bricks from bench-warmers towards the end, a perfect recipe for a late-game swing towards the under.
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook or Action Network as of 12:00 p.m. PST