Lakers, again, come in short-handed against Nets

Image from, Photo album credit belonging to Andrew D. Bernstein, Adam Pantozzi, Josh Williams, Katelyn Mulcahy

Tonight could be an ugly one, folks. The Los Angeles Lakers will play the Brooklyn Nets for the second time this season with the potential for this one being more miserable than the first game. The Nets won 109-98 in that one, although that 11-point win doesn’t really reflect the Nets’ steady dominance of the Lakers in that February game. Anthony Davis was already out at that point while the Nets were without Kevin Durant, with the result pretty disappointing considering LeBron James did play.

A lot has changed for both teams since that first game against each other. Both were active in the buyout markets, as the Lakers signed Andre Drummond and Ben McLemore while the Nets made headline-catching acquisitions of LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin. As I previously stated, Durant was out in February with a strained hamstring that kept him out all the way until his first game back three days ago. He came off the bench in limited minutes (which he will again have tonight), but in typical Durant fashion, he made all five of his field-goal attempts. He ended with 17 points in 19 minutes.

Speaking of injuries, let’s dive into this extensive list.

Injury news

James Harden will be out for this game (right hamstring strain) after dropping 23 points and 11 assists against the Lakers on February 18th. Tyler Johnson will also be out for the Nets, while Spencer Dinwiddie continues to be out for this season due to tearing his ACL earlier in the season.

The rest of the Nets will be in, while the Lakers could be absolutely decimated for tonight’s game (h/t Silver Screen & Roll). LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Jared Dudley will continue to be out as they have been for a while now. However, the Lakers have three additional names that are “questionable” in Marc Gasol, Kyle Kuzma, and Alex Caruso. Kuzma is on the report with the Grade 1 calf strain that kept him out of the Lakers’ last game against the Heat while Gasol (left hamstring strain) and Caruso (left knee soreness) have popped up with new injuries.

Caruso came out of the Heat game momentarily after banging his knee on the floor, but he did return. It’s interesting that he received a “questionable” designation coming into this one as Frank Vogel seemed to dismiss the severity of it afterward. It must have swelled up between then and now.

Talen Horton-Tucker missed the game against the Heat due to the foolish suspension from the Raptors scuffle. He will return tonight.

Betting central

Nets -10.5; Over/under 222.5; Nets moneyline -590 (Lakers moneyline +430)

I’m now 4-0 following the All-Star break, most recently hitting on Jimmy Butler’s over on points of 20.5 (ended with 28 points). I’m now 19-23-2 on the season (won or pushed on 47.7% of bets).

Sorry to say, Lakers nation, I will not be picking the Lakers to cover that +10.5 spread. I wouldn’t be surprised if Frank Vogel and the staff sit all three of Gasol, Kuzma, and Caruso to give them an extra game off in a matchup that is just insurmountable even if they all played. I’d honestly probably take the Nets -10.5 spread all the way up until -13.5 if Kuzma and Caruso are both out (would still take it if they played), as this seems like the makings of a nationally televised 2020-21 NBA season game that will be a dud.

Where to watch

No Spectrum SportsNet broadcast tonight. You can still catch the pre-game and post-game shows there, but the game will only be (nationally) televised on ABC. Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m. PST.

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