Lakers-Pacers: The marathon becomes a sprint

Image: Ron Hoskins – NBA Entertainment via Getty Images

Here we are, ladies and gentlemen. The second half of the Lakers’ season will be kicking off tonight as they are set to welcome NBA All-Star Domontas Sabonis and the Indiana Pacers to town.

We’ll have to see where each team is after both haven’t played in more than a week. The Pacers’ last game was a loss to the Nuggets on Thursday, March 4th while the Lakers dropped one to the Kings (in a game where the Lakers were without 5-6 players) on Wednesday, March 3rd. Both teams definitely were in dire need of the All-Star break, as the Pacers lost four of five heading into the break with the Lakers struggling for the better part of February with only three wins in their last 10 games.

The Pacers are currently 10th in the East with a 16-19 record while the Lakers are 3rd in the West with a 24-13 record.

Let’s dive into the preview, which includes plenty of important injury news.

Injury news

Here are all the players on the Lakers’ injury report, courtesy of our friends over at Silver Screen & Roll.

  • Marc Gasol (health and safety protocols) OUT
  • Anthony Davis (calf sprain) OUT
  • Kostas Antetokounmpo (health and safety protocols) OUT
  • LeBron James (ankle sprain) Probable
  • Alex Caruso (neck spasms) Probable
  • Jared Dudley (right knee contusion) Probable
  • Kyle Kuzma (right heel contusion) Probable
  • Damian Jones (lower back pain) Probable

Hmm. Yeah. That’s a lot of people! Obviously, Gasol, Davis, and Antetokounmpo seem to be the only players who will miss the game, but it’s definitely not a good sign to see so many names on the injury report after the only break that the Lakers are going to get for the rest of the season.

We have no clue how long Gasol and Antetokounmpo will be out (Gasol was put on the health and safety protocols right before the break), but Davis we know will probably be out for around this first week of games at least. Past that, we’ll have to see if the Lakers will continue to be abundantly cautious with him. Frank Vogel previously estimated that he’d be out four weeks, which would put him on pace for a return late next week.

As for the Pacers, Caris Levert was possibly going to return tonight, but will instead make his season debut for the Pacers on Saturday against the Suns. Other than that, Lakers fans will not be seeing T.J. Warren (foot surgery) who was one of the best players in the Orlando bubble a few months ago.

Betting central

Lakers -4.5; Over/under 216.5; Lakers moneyline -186

Let’s retire my first-half record RIGHT HERE and RIGHT NOW. I went 15-23-2, as I received the terrible duty of trying to predict what the Lakers were going to do in February, one of their worst months from this and last season combined.

To be honest, I want to see the Lakers play a couple of games before I start dropping three betting predictions a game for you all. With that being said, I do like the Lakers to win tonight. That -4.5 spread scares me though, especially with my opinion that the low total of 216.5 is probably pretty accurate for these two teams coming out of the break. There won’t be enough points scored for me to be comfortable with taking the Lakers winning by five or more, so instead, I’ll just take the safe (but less valuable) Lakers moneyline at -186.

Where to watch

The game will be televised on Spectrum SportsNet but will also be on NBA TV. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. PST.

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