The stars will be out Monday night as LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers (23-27) take on Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets (30-19). The Nets will host this one at the Barclays Center, with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 pm ET.
Los Angeles is reeling after a blown call forced their game against the Celtics Saturday night to go into overtime, a game that the Lakers would eventually lose 125-21. In the loss, LeBron James had a game-high 41 points to go along with nine rebounds and eight assists.
As for Brooklyn, they won their last game against the New York Knicks 122-115. Kyrie Irving led the way for Brooklyn with 32 points, nine assists, and six rebounds. Nic Claxton had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Nets are heavy favorites in this one playing at home. They are -375 to win, while the Lakers’ moneyline sits at +300. The spread features Los Angeles as nine-point underdogs (-110).
Lakers Inconsistent Play Continues
At 23-27, the Los Angeles Lakers have struggled all seasons. While they are just above .500 at 13-12 at home, they have really struggled on the road at 10-15. In their last 10 games, they are a disappointing 4-6.
Still, just four games separate the Lakers from their current position of 13th in the West and fourth place. With them being very much alive for the playoffs, the Lakers are desperately hoping to get back into the win column.
LeBron James continues to show why he is one of the best to ever play the game. In 40 games, he is currently averaging 30.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game. Anthony Davis is also a major contributor for the Lakers. In 27 games, he is averaging 26.7 points, 12 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.1 blocks per game.
Unfortunately for Lakers’ fans, both James (ankle) and Davis (foot) have been ruled out for this one.
With those two out, the next leading producer for the Lakers has been Russell Westbrook. In 47 games, he is averaging 15.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 7.5 assists.
As a team, the Lakers have the fifth-best scoring offense in the league, averaging 117.1 points per game. With James and Davis out, though, that will likely take a major hit.
On the defensive end, they have struggled. They currently rank 27th overall, allowing an average of 118.1 points per game (120.9 on the road).
Brooklyn Looks To Improve Against West
While the Nets have a great record at 30-19, they have been average at best thus far against the Western Conference. While they are 21-10 against the East, they are just 9-9 against the West. They will look to move above .500 in this area as they host the Lakers.
Brooklyn would also like to make a push in the Eastern Conference. Sitting in fourth, they sit five games out of first, but just 2.5 games back of second.
Unlike Los Angeles, the Nets have been really solid on defense. They rank sixth overall in scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of 111.7 points per game.
In terms of scoring, the Nets rank 15th overall, averaging 114.4 points per game. With Kevin Durant still out with a knee injury, Kyrie Irving has had to carry the load. In 38 games, Irving is averaging 27.3 points, 5.3 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Like the Lakers, the Nets have injury concerns. In addition to Durant, both T.J. Warren (leg) and Ben Simmons (knee) are questionable Monday.
Take The Nets To Win And Cover
Looking at the trends, the Lakers are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games and 5-0-1 against the spread in their last six road games, but this is still a tall task playing so shorthanded Monday night.
For the Nets, they are 12-4 in their last 16 home games, and they are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games.
Especially without LeBron James and Anthony Davis out of the lineup, expect the Lakers’ woes to continue Monday night. Kyrie Irving and the Nets should be able to put this one away early and should coast to an easy victory.
Take Brooklyn to both win and cover the 9-point spread (-110).