The Lakers have one path left to avoiding the play-ins, which is to win both of their final games and hope the Blazers lose to the Nuggets. They take on the Indiana Pacers to try to get the first of those two wins.
Catch this game on Sunday, May 16, at 1 AM Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Indiana Pacers (33-37, 13-22 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: TJ McConnel
- SG: Justin Holiday
- SF: Doug McDermott
- PF: Oshae Brissett
- C: Domantas Sabonis (questionable)
The Pacers are battling injuries at a crucial point in the season, where they are still fighting for eighth place. Their injury list is just as jarring, and the biggest question will be whether or not All-Star Domantas Sabonis will play. He left yesterday’s game with a knee injury and is listed as questionable.
Caris Levert is also questionable for the game, and Malcolm Brogdon remains out with a hamstring problem. They may just not have enough firepower to take out the Lakers, even though their opponents have plenty of injury problems of their own.
The Pacers are 4-6 over their last 10 games and are pretty atrocious at home with a 13-22 record, compared to a 20-15 road record. Surpisingly, though, they’re 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a road underdog. They’ve hit the over 4 out of 5 times.
ROAD TEAM: Los Angeles Lakers (40-30, 19-15 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Talen Horton-Tucker
- SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- SF: Kyle Kuzma / LeBron James (questionable)
- PF: Markieff Morris / Anthony Davis (questionable)
- C: Andre Drummond
The Lakers are in a bit of a bind, considering that they’ve got so many players listed as questionable. LeBron James, who’s teased a return in the last few games but ultimately sat, took part in team practice. Anthony Davis was also downgraded from probable to questionable. Alex Caruso is listed the same with a foot injury, and while Dennis Schroder can come back, there’s no guarantee that he takes to the court either.
However, this is a huge game for LA. If they lose agains the Pacers, then they’ve got zero chance of avoiding the play-ins. They need to win their last two contests and hope the Blazers falter against the Nuggets to avoid the play-ins.
Because of that situation, it feels like there’s a good chance that at either Davis or James plays. The Lakers play a back-to-back to finish the season so it’s possible that they split time between their two stars to bolster their chances at winning both games.
If both stars rest, then eyes will be on Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker. Kuzma’s played two games out of the three in their winning streak and is averaging 21 PPG, 6.5 RPG and 3.5 APG. THT is putting up 14.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 7.7 APG. Andre Drummond has also been averaging 14 PPG and 12.7 RPG in that span.
The Lakers are currently riding a three-game winning streak and are 5-5 in their last 10 games. They’re 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games as a road favorite. They’re 2-1-2 on the over/under.
The Lakers will be playing like there’s a fire lit under them. I expect them to win and cover the -6.5 spread.
With all of the injuries and uncertainty, I think the game has a decent chance of becoming more of a grind-fest instead of fast-paced. Take the under 226.5.