The shorthanded Lakers will host the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night, hoping to snap a three game losing streak.
The Lakers (28-16, 14-9 home) are currently playing without Lebron James and Anthony Davis, and will have to find a way to compete without those to for another few weeks. Since Lebron went down, LA has lost three games in a row, and the losses were quite ugly.
The Sixers (31-13, 12-9 away) are also playing without their main man Joel Embiid currently, but they do still have Simmons, and Tobias Harris has also been ballin’. The Sixers won three in a row and 9 of their last 10 – the only loss coming by just four points against the mighty Bucks. They are 6-1 since Embiid got hurt.
Injury report: The Lakers will be without James, Davis, Dudley and probably Marc Gasol as well. The Sixers won’t have Embiid, while Curry and Green are questionable.
As it always happens with Lebron’s teams, they fall completely apart when he doesn’t play. A big reason why this happens is his quality, of course, but more importantly because he is the focal point, the reference point for the entire gameplan – he demands to be that, so when you take him out, the team is lost and almost has to learn playing together from scratch. When you also take out Davis, it becomes a nightmare.
You’ve seen the Lakers since Bron went down, they have been horrible, and it isn’t likely that they will find their groove against one of the best and hottest teams in the league – especially considering Philadelphia’s aggressive defense. Even without Embid, the Sixers have been rollin, they have confidence, and you would expect them to run away with this.
I do feel a bit uneasy with both Green and Curry being questionable for the Sixers, as they would sorely lack shooting if at least one of them isn’t available. But hopefully one or both will play (we wouldn’t get these odds if there weren’t questions about their availabiliy), and I feel better knowing that the Sixers won plenty of games with a shorthanded roster this year, even when Simmons was also out besides Embiid.
I’m backing Philly to cover the -5 point (asian) handicap. Prediction: LA Lakers – Philadelphia 76ers 100 – 115.
Pick: Sixers -5
Odds: 1.90 @ Bet365
Possible profit: 7.2
Event date: 26 March