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Charlotte Hornets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Betting Preview

Thursday evening will feature an East versus West battle of playoff contenders as the Charlotte Hornets (20-19) take on the Los Angeles Lakers (27-13). The Lakers will host this one from the Staples Center, with tipoff scheduled for 10:30 pm ET.

At 20-19 overall, the Hornets sit in fifth in the Eastern Conference, just a single game behind the fourth-place Miami Heat. This will actually be the second game of a back-to-back for the Hornets after they dropped Wednesday’s game 129-104 against the Denver Nuggets. That loss snapped a four-game winning streak.

The Lakers come in rested and playing at home, where they are 13-8 on the season. They currently sit in third place in a loaded Western Conference, just percentage points behind the Phoenix Suns. They bring a three-game winning streak into the contest Thursday.

The Lakers are the favorite playing at home. They are -350 to win while the Hornets’ moneyline sits at +275. The spread features Charlotte +8, and the over/under for total points is 227.5.

By The Numbers

Offensively, Charlotte holds a slight edge on the season. They rank 15th in scoring averaging 112.8 points per game. Los Angeles comes in 18th averaging 112.3 points per game, although they have averaged 123.3 over their last three games.

Defensively, it is Los Angeles with the big advantage. They rank 2nd in the NBA in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 106.3 points per game. Charlotte falls to 21st overall, allowing 112.7 points per game.

Charlotte Out To Prove They Are For Real

While the Eastern Conference may not have near as much depth as the West, there is no denying that Charlotte has been impressive and shown glimpses of what may still be to come for the young team. As they have had a taste of success, they will face a true benchmark test Thursday as they face the defending champions.

Leading the way for Charlotte this season is forward Gordon Hayward and guard Terry Rozier. On the season, Hayward has averaged 21.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.4 steals. Not to be outdone, Rozier has averaged 20.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.4 steals.

One of the most impressive players has been rookie guard LaMelo Ball. He has acclimated himself well to the NBA thus far, averaging 15.8 points, six rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.

Lakers Trying To Prevail Despite Injuries

While the Lakers have several players out right now, the biggest absence is superstar Anthony Davis. Prior to his Achilles injury, he was averaging 22.5 points on 53.3% shooting. He also was pulling down 8.4 rebounds and dishing out three assists per game.

With Davis out, future Hall-of-Famer LeBron James has to step up his game even more. This season, James has averaged 25.5 points on 51% shooting. He is averaging 8.1 rebounds, eight assists, and 1.1 steals per game.

Other notable contributors include Dennis Schroder (14.6 points, 4.6 assists), Montrezl Harrell (14.5 points, 6.3 rebounds), and Kyle Kuzma (12.1 points, 6.7 rebounds).

Taking Lakers To Win And Cover

On the one hand, the Hornets are catching the Lakers at a good point in the schedule, given that Los Angeles is not at full health. Without Anthony Davis, that leaves a big hole in the middle that the Lakers have to fill.

On the other hand, Charlotte still has to go into the Staples Center and beat LeBron James, and they have to do so after just getting their tails kicked the night before.

While the eight points seem a little lofty on the spread, I still like Los Angeles to both win and cover in this one.

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