Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Matchup Preview
A possible Finals preview tonight? We shall see, although both teams are missing key players as Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis are ruled out for tonight. Kyrie Irving will return for this one to play alongside James Harden as they look to take down LeBron James and the Lakers. Los Angeles are slight favorites in this one and a high 232 total is set as the Nets defense has been subpar and the Lakers are missing a key defensive piece in the center of the floor. With it being Thursday, there are only three games tonight and this is the second game of the TNT doubleheader. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers Matchup Page.
Time: 10:00 PM ET
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles CA
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Nets Starting 5
Kyrie Irving returns tonight, which bodes well for the Nets and the backcourt offense. Los Angeles has a pretty strong backcourt defense, ranking 6th in defensive efficiency. But this will be a different task, and it is also a bit surprising given Dennis Schroder has stepped into the lineup this year. Brooklyn is currently second in the East and they are averaging 121 points per game but allowing 117 per game. No surprise to see this with the construction of the roster and two backcourt guards that don’t offer anything more than average defense. DeAndre Jordan is also a liability around the rim. They will be lucky Davis can’t play tonight as it would be a major mismatch. Brooklyn also ranks 29th in defense against frontcourts and 28th against centers. Wouldn’t have been surprised tonight if Davis saw more minutes at the five. Harden has averaged 24-11-8 since coming over and Irving is averaging 28 points per game. When he has played this season, he has been fantastic. He should have a little extra motivation tonight.
Lakers Starting 5
Los Angeles hasn’t missed a beat this season without Davis, who is dealing with a calf injury and will be out the next few weeks. It is likely we see him back after the all-star break and even then the Lakers will be careful the rest of the way. We expect LeBron to continue his MVP-like season but this is a great matchup for the secondary players to get some momentum on the offensive side. As mentioned the Nets defense is dreadful and the Lakers should find the form from names like Kyle Kuzma and Dennis Schroder tonight. We should also see quite a bit of Montrezl Harrell to take advantage of the Nets weak defense against centers. The absence of Durant certainly favors the Lakers, which is why they are favored in this one without Anthony Davis still.
Nets & Lakers DFS Angle
On a small slate tonight, this game isn’t going to go unnoticed, nor would it on a 13 game slate. The Nets defense is an easy attack, and James, Kuzma, and Harrell are the three options I like the most. Brooklyn ranks 23rd against power forwards where Kuzma plays and 27th against centers. I love these two in the mid-range tonight. As for the Nets side of things, the backcourt usage is always sky high as Harden and Irving will control most of the offense. Joe Harris is intriguing who can pop off from three and have a strong night. If you want to go cheap at the center, Jordan is fine, averaging 24 points in his last ten, but there are better options.
Nets vs. Lakers Betting Odds
Nets Spread: +2.5
Nets Moneyline: +114
Lakers Spread: -2.5
Lakers Moneyline: -137
Over/Under Points Total: 232
While the Lakers have been playing well without Davis this will be a test against a far better team from what they have played recently. They are slight favorites here and public money is on the over and the Lakers. I actually like the Nets here as the backcourt is just going to be too strong for what the Lakers can throw at them. The absence of Davis will be felt as well, especially with the Nets offense putting up points. While I like the matchups for Harrell and Kuzma, I am not sure it will be enough.
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