The Los Angeles Lakers are the first NBA In-Season Tournament champs but they also are probably the first proof of the NBA IST curse (sort of like the Home Run Derby curse in baseball). But will the Lakers finally end their losing skid this Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves? Or, will Minnesota get back on track and hand the Lakers yet another loss? 

Catch this game live on Friday, December 22, 2023 at 10 AM, Manila time

Away: Los Angeles Lakers (15-13/5-10 Away)

Projected Starting Five:

  • D’Angelo Russell
  • Cam Reddish
  • Taurean Prince
  • LeBron James
  • Anthony Davis

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Year 21 of LeBron James has been phenomenal. But even another age-defying performance by The King (25 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists) on Thursday was not enough to keep the Lakers from tumbling into a loss again, as they faltered against the Chicago Bulls on the road, 124-108. Since the In-Season Tournament title game, the Lakers have gone just 1-4 straight up. 

They have covered in none of those contests, too. At some point, the suffering will have to end for the Lakers, and the game against the Timberwolves presents that opportunity for the Purple & Gold. Speaking of which, D’Angelo Russell can seize the moment for a revenge game this Friday after scoring just two points on a salty 1/6 shooting versus the Bulls. 


Home: Minnesota Timberwolves (20-6/9-5 Home)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Mike Conley
  • Anthony Edwards
  • Jaden McDaniels
  • Karl-Anthony Towns
  • Rudy Gobert

The Timberwolves got ambushed in the City of Brotherly Love by Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers, who handed the No. 1 team in the Western Conference with a 127-113 loss on Thursday. That’s hardly alarming for the T’wolves, though, as that’s just their sixth loss of the season and first in four games. 

A game against the slumping Lakers could just be what the doctor ordered for Minnesota to recover right away from a loss. For one, the Lakers are one of the worst road performers this season with five wins to date in enemy territories. That’s also how many times they’ve covered the spread in 14 road contests. Conversely, the Timberwolves are 15-10 ATS overall with nine of those successful covers coming from home games.


Spread: The Timberwolves (-5.0) cover the spread.

Over/Under: The total (224.5) hits the Under.