Game: Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Nets +1, Lakers -1
Brooklyn heads to L.A. for a Christmas night game with the reeling Lakers. Los Angeles has lost four straight dropping them to sixth in the Western Conference standings at 16-17. Despite their recent woes, the Lakers are a slim 1-point home favorite over the NBA’s leading scorer Kevin Durant and the Nets.
Durant is listed as questionable for this game as is most of the Nets roster. The COVID-19 crisis left the Nets without enough players to field a team forcing the postponement of three games. Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, James Johnson, Deandre Bembry, Bruce Brown, and Kessler Edwards are all listed as questionable due to COVID. James Harden, Paul Millsap, and Jevon Carter have all been upgraded to probable after spending time on the injured list due to COVID.
One look at the Lakers’ injury report and you can see why they have lost four straight games. They have been without star Anthony Davis who has a knee injury and will miss significant time. Trevor Ariza is listed as questionable as is Avery Bradley, Kent Bazemore, Malik Monk, and Austin Reaves. All of those players were on the injury report due to COVID.
Neither team is one that bettors can trust against the spread. The Nets are 12-17-1 ATS for the season. The Lakers are 12-20 ATS and at home, they are 6-12 ATS. Plus, the Lakers have only covered one time in their last five games. Brooklyn has covered four times in the last six games against the Lakers. The Christmas Day matchup is the first meeting of the season between the two teams.
With Davis on the bench, LeBron James has had to pick up the slack. James is playing 37 minutes per game, his highest since the 2016-17 season. L.A. has also relied on new signee Isaiah Thomas who has averaged 11.7 points in his three games with the Lakers. The bottom line is the Lakers’ offense is fading. They are now 10th in the NBA in points per game (109.8) and the defense…well, the defense is awful.
The Lakers, one of the better defensive teams in the league last season, are not even close in 2021-22. Los Angeles gives up 112 points per game this season. That ranks 27th out of the 30 NBA teams. That’s not good. Consider their last game. The Lakers were a 1.5-point favorite over San Antonio. L.A. gave up 138 points to the Spurs – not an offensive power – and got blown out by 28 points.
The Under trends for the Lakers despite their fast-paced offense and inability to defend. The total has gone Under in seven of the Lakers’ last nine games. That has also been the trend when playing the Nets. The total has gone Under in five of the last seven Nets-Lakers games. The total has gone Under in six of Brooklyn’s last nine games as well.