A pair of beat-up teams are set to square off at the Staples Center on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Lakers are trying to stay in the playoff hunt in the Western Conference without their leader, while the Sixers are one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference. This is the first meeting of the season between two of the NBA’s legendary franchises.
The Lakers have struggled to win games of late, having won just one time in their last four outings. Los Angeles brings a 26-24 record into this game, and sit in third place in the Pacific division. Philadelphia has gone 5-2 in their last seven games, and are near the top of the Eastern Conference with a 32-18 record. The Sixers are 6.0 point favorites over the Lakers in this game.
Lakers Battling Injuries
The Los Angeles Lakers have been dealt a ton of injuries of late, and they are struggling to win games. LeBron James is expected to miss at least another two weeks with a groin injury, and Lonzo Ball is also on the shelf at this point. The Lakers have struggled on defense without their leader, allowing close to 112 points per game. Without Ball and LeBron, the Los Angeles offense hasn’t been as smooth either.
Young stars Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram have stepped up their game in the absence of LeBron. Kuzma is scoring better than 19 points per game this season and is shooting better than 57 percent from two-point range. Ingram has chipped in with 16.6 points per game and has shown the ability to knock down a three-point shot of late. If the Lakers are going to stay in the playoff race, Kuzma and Ingram have to keep playing great.
Embiid Should Be Refreshed
Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid should be refreshed for this game after getting six days off. The Sixers held Embiid out in their most recent game against the Denver Nuggets, but he will suit up for this game. The All-Star center is leading the team with 27.2 points and 13.3 rebounds this season, and he makes sure that his opponents know all about it. Philadelphia has plenty of swagger, and they get most of it from Embiid.
Jimmy Butler is also expected back for this game after missing a game with a wrist injury. Butler has provided better than 18 points per game since his arrival in Philly, but he also leads them on the defensive end of the floor. The Sixers still give up over 112 points per game, but Butler has the ability to lock down the top player from the other team. Philadelphia looks like one of the top teams in the league when fully healthy like they will be in this game.
Sixers Win at Staples Center
The Los Angeles Lakers simply aren’t a very good team without LeBron James, and they don’t have enough talent to hang with a team like Philadelphia. The Sixers can score points in bunches, and they have plenty of star power on the floor. Kuzma and Ingram have played well for LA, but they don’t have enough help to beat the Sixers. Bet the Philadelphia 76ers -6.0 over the Los Angeles Lakers.