The Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers both went into the All-Star break on terrible stretches. Who can break out of the slump?
Catch this game live tomorrow, Saturday, at 11:00 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Los Angeles Lakers (24-13, 11-8 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- C – Marc Gasol
- PF – Markieff Morris
- SF – LeBron James
- SG – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- PG – Dennis Schroder
The Lakers have had a bumpy past month. They’ve been struggling without their All-Star big man, Anthony Davis (achilles), and have only gone 3-6 since he got hurt. Davis is still out for tomorrow’s game as he is expected to be sidelined until late March.
Do note, however, that starting point guard Dennis Schroder was also out for four of those nine games. His absence was a considerable factor as well.
Nevertheless, as it has been following AD’s injury, LeBron James is the solo captain of the ship. He’s been putting up his usual numbers without the desired results (26.3 PPG, 8.3, RPG, 7.3 APG in his last eight), but we’ll see. Maybe the break re-charged his batteries and his drop in the MVP race will bring some motivation back.
Backing up The King are Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, and Kyle Kuzma. Like James, they’re also bringing numbers sans Davis. Schroder is scoring 20.6 PPG in his last five, Harrell is at 16.4 PPG in his last seven, while Kuzma has 14.5 PPG in his last 10.
The Lakers are only averaging 106.5 PPG in their last nine games, a stretch that began when AD got hurt.
ROAD TEAM: Indiana Pacers (16-19, 9-8 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- C – Myles Turner
- PF – Domantas Sabonis
- SF – Doug McDermott
- SG – Justin Holiday
- PG – Malcolm Brogdon
The Pacers went to the break on an ugly stretch. They’ll head back into action having lost five of their last six, where they are allowing 115.5 PPG on 52.4% shooting.
That said, though, the Pacers should be able to deliver a challenge against the Lakers, especially when you consider how shaky LA is as of late. Domantas Sabonis (20.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 6 APG) and Malcolm Brogdon (21.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.2 APG) are also both capable of putting on a show at any given night..
Sabonis will be in an interesting match-up opposite Laker bigs Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol, and Damian Jones, and he’ll have defensive stalwart Myles Turner on his side too. Turner (3.4 BPG) has always been Indy’s reliable rim protector and he’s a top Defensive Player of the Year candidate this season.
Secondary weapons Justin Holiday, Doug McDermott, and Jeremy Lamb, meanwhile, will provide support on offense. All are good-shooting swingmen that have an opportunity to challenge the Lakers, albeit being the underdog in certain match-ups.
The Pacers are averaging 113 PPG this season, which ranks them right in the middle.
Spread: I expect the Lakers to look better than they did prior to the All-Star break, but I also expect them to have issues containing Sabonis and Brogdon, which is something that has happened last season. With that, I don’t see them covering the -4.5.
Take this into consideration, though: both squads are on awful stretches against the spread as of late. The Pacers are winless in their last six while the Lakers are 3-5 in their last eight.
Over/Under: The two offenses will be eager to start their post-All-Star campaigns on a high, so we may see them be aggressive in scoring. They should be able to go over 217.
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