The basketball world turns its attention to the Staples Center on Thursday, when the Los Angeles Lakers (22-7) host the Brooklyn Nets (18-12) in a 2020-21 NBA season game (1 p.m. ET on TNT). It’s time to continue our series of NBA odds and give the Nets-Lakers some prediction and advice.
Despite the fact that 40% of the superstars will be absent from this potential preview of the finals – Anthony Davis (Achilles) and Kevin Durant (hamstring) – there will be plenty of star power, intrigue and goals to see on the national TV show.
In fact, the game will pit the strongest offense in the league against the most tenacious defense. The Lakers are number one in defense, while the Nets have the best offense in basketball since taking over from Harden.
These teams last met on the 10th. In March, a day before the NBA suspended the 2019-20 season after Rudy Gobert tested positive for VIDOC-19. Brooklyn escaped from Staples Stadium with a win after Davis missed a three-point shot on a basket by Spencer Dinwiddie.
After 11 months, a lot has changed. Steve Nash is now the head coach in Brooklyn, while both teams have gone through significant changes and developments – titles, star signings, injuries, viruses and more.
Let’s go back to tonight: Los Angeles returns home after its defeat against Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday at Target Center, where LeBron James recorded 30 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
The Nets recorded a thrilling victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. Brooklyn erased a 24-point deficit, thanks largely to James Harden’s 38 points and 11 assists.
The Lakers have won eight of their last ten games, while the Nets have won four.
Let’s look at the odds and see if there’s a match.
Paris NBA: Filet Lakers Bets
Brooklyn Nets +3 (-111)
Los Angeles Lakers -3 (-109)
More than 230 points (-110)
less than 230 points (-110)
Why networks can cover distribution
The Lakers have a record of 5-1 without Davis, but those wins were against the Minnesota Timberwolves (twice), Oklahoma City Thunder (twice), Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons, and only one of those wins was in double digits. They needed two EOs to defeat the Thunder, and two EOs to destroy Detroit.
Even without Durant, the Nets are a much more serious threat than these lottery teams.
KD leads Brooklyn in points (29 PPG), but Irving is not far behind (28.3), while Harden is averaging 24.3 points and 11.8 championship points.
Brooklyn leads the NBA in points per game (121.7) and points per game (50.2). They are third by three percentage points (40.7) and fourth for support (27.4). They scored 136 and 128 points in their last two games without KD.
Irving missed Wednesday’s game against Phoenix because of a sprain in his lower back, but is likely considered for Thursday. He chipped in 40 points on Monday against the Sacramento Kings and is just over the 50/40/90 (.534/.442/.918 splits) mark in 20 games.
On Monday, the Nets had to go far against Sacramento and used Jeff Green as a starter, while DeAndre Jordan came off the bench. Against the Suns, they returned to the traditional starting five. We know that Nash and assistant coach Mike D’Antoni are ready to play the game, that they can play against Los Angeles without Davis.
Additionally, the Lakers have struggled to defend the rim this season, and Davis’ absence only makes the problem worse. Harden and Irving are two of the best forwards in the league, and they could play in the paint Thursday.
As a team, Brooklyn ranks fifth in the NBA in terms of three points per game, while the Lakers rank 26th. Joe Harris, in particular, choked. In his last ten games, Harris has made 53.6% of his 6.9 attempts to three points per game.
Why the Lakers can close the gap.
In all likelihood, Kyle Kuzma will begin replacing AD. Kuzma, Dennis Schroeder, Mark Gasol, Montrezul Harrell and Talen Horton-Tucker will once again have to share the scoring load in place of Davis.
High school did great against the Timberwolves, and the Nets don’t really win games because of their defense. In other words: The Lakers will have no problem scoring.
The Nets aren’t actually keeping anyone, as their fifth place ranking of top defensemen proves. They are giving up 117.9 points per game, third highest.
For Thursday, they don’t seem to have a clear candidate to test James. Andre Roberson was just contracted, and Bruce Brown is good, but is six feet tall. The Nets will likely throw a combination of Harris, Harden and Green at LeBron. Chicken alert on the grill.
If the Nets throw a double-double to James, expect Harrell to eat him again tonight, especially with DeAndre Jordan coming off the floor. In 2019-20, the Man of the Year dominates the minor subdivisions.
The Lakers have limited Harden to 36 points on 12 of 30 shooting in two games against the Houston Rockets this season with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Wesley Matthews and THT. But given Harden’s efforts (or lack thereof) in these games, it may suck.
No one on this planet can stop Irving, but the hard-nosed Lakers duo of Schroeder and Alex Caruso can at least try. It will be essential to avoid dribbling (as much as possible) since Davis will not be on the defensive line.
Final network forecast and selection
The Nets will miss Durant’s defense, and that offense will outlast his offense in this highly anticipated affair. The Lakers’ big players will play well, and the aggressive new Schroder will score at least 20 points, which will have a somewhat negative effect on Irving’s impact. Brooklyn’s talented players will keep the game exciting, but their inability to beat James will cost them dearly in a time of crisis. Overall, the baskets won’t be hard to find, but the defending champions will struggle just enough to close out the win and cover.
HELP: ON THIS PAGE YOU WILL FIND : GCK ANALYSIS, SCORE REPORT AND OUR RECOMMENDATION, SCORE AND RESULTS DISPLAY :
117 LCN, LAL 122 (-3.3)
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