Lakers-Mavs: The possible return of Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis
(Image: Associated Press)

Lakers fans may have the first reason in a while to be extremely excited for a Lakers game, as tonight may be the night that Anthony Davis returns to the lineup since suffering a terrifying calf strain a little over two months ago. Davis spoke to the media yesterday, stating that he will be playing tonight against the Dallas Mavericks if he feels good going through some work today. All signs point towards him playing tonight, despite Davis leaving some room for doubt as well as the fact that the injury report lists him as “questionable” at the present time (has been listed as “out” since the injury). Head coach Frank Vogel stated that if he plays, he will start and will be on a 15-minute playing time restriction.

The Lakers are 7-8 in their last 15 games, as they’ve been fighting for wins any way they can get them to stay afloat within the Western Conference standings as they play without Davis and LeBron James (Vogel stated that there is still no timeline on his return although he is reportedly going to return in a couple of weeks). They’re coming off a blowout loss to the Jazz on Monday after beating them on Saturday. The Jazz without Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley Jr., and Derrick Favors on Saturday with those three players’ returns tipping the scales on Monday.

The Lakers are currently the 5th seed in the West, as they’ve really only dropped one spot with the combined absences of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The teams right below them — the Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks — have done little on their end to try and catch the Lakers in the standings. Doing so would distance themselves from the play-in tournament, a tournament that the Mavs would have to play in if the season ended today as they are the 7th seed. The Trail Blazers and Mavs are 3-7 and 5-5 in their past 10 games, respectively (Lakers are 5-5).

Injury news

As stated previously, Anthony Davis will technically be “questionable” for this game. That may be the most promising “questionable” designation ever when looking at Davis and Vogel’s comments from yesterday.

Marc Gasol will also be “questionable” with his finger injury, while LeBron James and Jared Dudley will remain “out”. Andre Drummond, Markieff Morris, and Dennis Schröder will be “probable” with assorted injuries.

The Mavericks have no injuries on their report (can you imagine being so lucky).

Betting central

Mavericks -3; Over/under 216; Mavericks moneyline -148 (Lakers moneyline +123)

I’m 5-2 now following the All-Star break, winning my most recent betting pick to move my season overall to 20-25-2.

The Lakers are coming off a loss, and have quietly made a habit of not losing two-in-a-row lately while playing without LeBron and Davis. In their past 12 games, they’ve alternated on wins and losses each night with their last losing streak happening in the week of 3/20 – 3/25 with a four-game losing streak against the Hawks, Suns, Pelicans, and 76ers. With a loss coming in the last game and the Lakers probably receiving 15 minutes of Anthony Davis to at least bolster the defense, give me the Lakers moneyline at great +123 odds.

I’ve been sticking with one bet per game lately, but I’ll throw another one in there. I do think Davis’ insertion into the lineup will help the defense even if he’s a little rusty on the offensive end. That tends to happen with any 7-footer being added to your team, let alone a 7-footer with the defensive instincts that Davis has. Because of that, I’ll take the Mavericks’ team total under on 109.5 at -116 odds.

Where to watch

Tip-off will be at 6:30 p.m. PST with the game being televised on TNT and Spectrum SportsNet.

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