Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Predictions, Starting Lineups (3/4/24)

The Oklahoma City Thunder (42-18) meet the Los Angeles Lakers (33-29) this Monday (3/4/24). Get Thunder vs. Lakers moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction

Although OKC is on the second night of a back-to-back and on the road, it shouldn’t be a major issue for them. They boast a youthful, energetic squad and appear rejuvenated post All-Star break. This season, the Thunder are 7-3 against the spread on no rest and 17-12-1 against the spread as the away team – those marks rank third and seventh, respectively (per TeamRankings).

Since January 1st, the Lakers sit 24th in Defensive Rating. D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves are being torched by on-ball creators, which opens up the paint for drivers. It’s a massive reason behind why Los Angeles has surrendered the most wide open three-point attempts per game this season – they must frequently collapse inside, thus leading to kick-outs.

That’s extremely worrisome against OKC, who possess the players to savagely exploit this fatal flaw. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams form one of the top driving duos in the NBA, and their size will be key against a Los Angeles squad that can play big. Across three matchups this season against the Lakers, they have combined to average 55 points and 12 assists per game on an impossibly good 67 true shooting percentage.

Meanwhile, the Thunder lead the league in catch-and-shoot 3PT% and boast a deadly stretch five in Chet Holmgren. It will be a pick-your-poison situation for Los Angeles’ defense: either allow Gilgeous-Alexander and Williams to individually cook or help and give up wide open looks to elite shooters.

On the other end, the Lakers ruthlessly attack the rim via LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, OKC allows the ninth fewest field goal attempts and second lowest field goal percentage inside the paint. Although Los Angeles’ stars will still feast, look for the Thunder to at least limit the others and routinely force them to settle for jumpers, which is definitely not their strength.

Los Angeles can also get sloppy at times and rattle off careless mistakes. OKC’s defense owns the largest opponent turnover percentage, the most deflections, and the most contested shots. This area may be a massive X Factor here.

Overall, the Thunder’s offense should be scorching hot against the Lakers, especially Jalen Williams. He has produced 33, 37, and 34 PRAs versus Los Angeles this year.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction:

  • Thunder Moneyline (-104 FD)
  • Jalen Williams Over 30.5 Points+Rebounds+Assists (-110 DK)
  • Thunder To Record 100+ Points In First 3 Quarters (+500 FD, 0.2u)

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Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers Best Odds

The Lakers are slight one point favorites, so the books are expecting a tight game. They possess a 2-1 record versus the Thunder this season, but it’s worth noting that OKC is +7 in total point differential in those matchups.

For the Thunder’s -102 moneyline to be profitable in the long run, they must win at least 51 percent of the time.

Oklahoma City Thunder Starting Lineup

PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
SG: Luguentz Dort
SF: Josh Giddey
PF: Jalen Williams
C: Chet Holmgren

Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Austin Reaves
SF: Rui Hachimura
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers Injuries

Thunder backup center Jaylin Williams is questionable with a knee sprain after missing yesterday’s contest. If he cannot suit up, then veteran Bismack Biyombo will see a minutes increase.

Los Angeles lacks Jarred Vanderbilt, Gabe Vincent, Christian Wood, Colin Castleton. Additionally, LeBron James and Cam Reddish are questionable, while Anthony Davis is probable.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers Key Matchups

Rebounding

Jusuf Nurkic just snagged an astonishing 31 rebounds last night against the Thunder, and it’s been a problem all year – they rank 28th in offensive rebound rate and 29th in opponent offensive rebound rate. Enter Anthony Davis, who has notched 14, 11, and 15 rebounds versus OKC. If he consistently provides second chance opportunities, then Los Angeles’ offense stands a far better chance of keeping pace.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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