Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder Preview
The Oklahoma City Thunder could really use a win tonight if they want to avoid a first-round matchup with former Thunder forward Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors. They’ll look to pick up that win at home tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers who have shut down LeBron James and the rest of their top players for the season.
Oklahoma City is currently tied with the San Antonio Spurs for seventh in the Western Conference, with a 44-33 record. The Thunder are 3-7 in their last 10 and are on a two-game skid entering tonight’s game. The Lakers have surprisingly won their last two games. They are 10th in the West with a 35-42 record and are 4-6 in their last 10 games.
In their last matchup on January 17, Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 32 points in a 138-128 win. Paul George finished with 27 points in a losing effort for the Thunder.
Time: 8:00pm ET
Arena: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
While the Los Angeles Lakers may have shut down LeBron James for the season, he’ll still be joining them on the road as coach Luke Walton hopes the bond between James and the team’s younger players grows.
“It’s good for the guys,” Walton said. “You know part of going into this season was, ‘Look, we’re putting you with a lot of young players. There’s a lot of new guys, as far as the free agents coming in and whatnot.’ So the more time that, ideally, they’d spend together on the floor would be beneficial, but anytime they can get together off the floor, I think, helps for down the road as well.”
Without James, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and even Kyle Kuzma in their last game, the Lakers have done well, winning two straight and four of their last five games.
In their 130-102 dismantling of the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, the Lakers got some big efforts off the bench as Alex Caruso finished with 23 points, Reggie Bullock added 18 and Mike Muscala had 10 points. The team was led by Rajon Rando and JaVale McGee. Rondo finished with 24 points and 12 assists, and McGee had 23 points and 16 rebounds.
Oklahoma City Thunder Starting Lineup
At one time this season, the Oklahoma City Thunder were considered one of the league’s best defensive squads, but they’ve had trouble fitting under that identity lately. What makes matters worse is that they are having a hard time putting the ball in the basket as well.
“The ball sometimes doesn’t go in the basket,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “Even coming down the stretch, I thought our guys got some fairly decent looks to close the game out. This is why we’ve got to be a defensive team first.”
The Thunder have lost seven of their last nine games, and their most recent loss came on Sunday against a Dallas Mavericks team without Luka Doncic. Dallas didn’t look like much of an offensive threat that game, with their highest scorer coming off the bench, and although the Thunder’s starters put up the numbers, they struggled to knock down shots.
Russell Westbrook finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists, and Paul George added 27 points and 11 rebounds. Steven Adams and Jerami Grant also scored in double figures, but they only got 17 points from the six other players who received minutes.
Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder Betting Odds
The Thunder are huge 12.5-point favorites to win tonight at home. At Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Thunder are 24-14 and they are 34-25 as the favorite. The Lakers are 14-25 on the road and 12-23 as the underdog.
The over/under is 225 points and the Thunder are -1100 on the moneyline.
Bet on Matchup
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