Los Angeles Lakers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Preview
Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James won’t be playing as the Lakers (23-20) host his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers (8-35). James will be missing his 11th consecutive game after he became injured during a Christmas Day win over the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers enter tonight’s game having lost their last game, but the Cavs have the NBA’s longest current losing streak, losing their last 12. It has not gone well all season either, with the league’s worst record.
In their last game, in James’ return to Quicken Loans Arena, James had 32 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists in a 109-105 win on November 21. LeBron’s former teammate Cedi Osman led the Cavs with 21 points.
Time: 9:30pm ET
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Channel: NBA TV
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
The Lakers have won just three of their last 10 games without James. They have largely struggled without their leading scorer and team leader, and the loss of Rajon Rondo has taken another veteran leader out of the lineup.
Michael Beasley, who had been doing well lately, is also day-to-day.
The Lakers were working on a nice two-game streak with wins over the Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons, but they struggled mightily in a 95-113 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday.
With James out, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram have been the Lakers’ main offensive weapons, but they were limited offensively against the Jazz, and the other three starters, JaVale McGee, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart managed just 17 combined points.
It was Beasley and Kentavious Caldwell-Pop who played well again, but Beasley might not be there to bail his teammates out tonight.
The Lakers’ defense was also an issue. They allowed Donovan Mitchell to score 33 points, and all five starters reached double digits.
The Lakers will be glad to be home tonight and against a team that shouldn’t pose a major threat.
Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup
Let’s just be honest. The Cleveland Cavaliers have been a hot mess this season. First, they fired Tyronn Lue hoping that would bring some change, but things haven’t been much better under Larry Drew.
The fact that Larry Drew said he didn’t know what they have right now and that hopefully, they can come up with better numbers after their last game isn’t encouraging. It sounded like one of those AT&T just ok commercials.
The Cavs have been blown out in their last two games, which were also Western Conference games, including a 124-140 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans and a 113-141 loss to the Houston Rockets.
They were able to get scoring help against the Rockets, but they allowed a 42-point first quarter from Houston and they started off very slow in the second half. Aside from that, the Cavs had no clue how to stop the James Harden buzzsaw. Harden finished with yet another triple-double, this time with 42 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Betting Odds
Even without James, the Lakers are favorited by -9.5 points. The over/under is 218 points. The moneyline has seen only minimal change and the Lakers are live at -500 after opening at -550.
Los Angeles is 14-8 at home and 17-10 as the favorite. Cleveland is 3-18 on the road and 7-32 as the underdog.
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DraftKings & FanDuel Fantasy Picks
The standout player for tonight’s game is Lakers forward Brandon Ingram ($6.9k). Ingram is expected to bounce back from his last performance and finish with 36.16 points on FanDuel.
Josh Hart ($5.4k) and Cedi Osman ($4.5k) are both fantasy values. Hart has a projection of 25.08 points, and Osman is projected for 23.27 points. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Collin Sexton are also good low-risk options for tonight’s game.
Find all of our Fanduel and Draftkings projections here: https://www.lineups.com/nba/nba-fantasy-basketball-projections.