The Los Angeles Lakers will finally get a chance to avenge their embarrassing loss at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder over a week ago. But there’s a catch though: they will have to do it without LeBron James.
Thursday’s ballgame (10:30 PM E.T) at the Staples Center will pit two teams on the different end of the NBA spectrum. The Lakers are a win-now mode after adding some firepower to support James and Anthony Davis. The Thunder, meanwhile, is scrapping and clawing for hard-earned wins as they patiently build a future contender from the ground up.
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Oklahoma City Thunder vs Los Angeles Lakers betting odds and lines
ATS: Thunder +10.5,
Moneyline: Thunder +475, Lakers -650
O/U: 215 points
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Los Angeles Lakers Team News
Jackson Frank of the Dime, a segment on the pop-culture site Uproxx, explains why Josh Giddel has the tools to become another complementary piece next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for the Thunder. The writer cited great vision, high basketball I.Q, and a developing offensive game, among the things that the Australian playmaker can provide now and even more of it in the future.
“Among the crop of dazzling first-year guys is Josh Giddey, who, with passing, flexible scoring and budding defense, has quickly joined Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as a mainstay in their Southwestern digs. The Thunder have much to continue deciphering over the next few years, but initial returns suggest Giddey will help to ease the pressing nature of those questions,” Frank writes.
The Lakers took a minor blow upon learning that LeBron James will sit the next few games because of an abdominal strain. James, who is putting up his usual stats sheet-stuffing numbers for the Lakers, sustained a rectus abdominis strain – an injury that will sideline the former MVP for a week.
“League sources told ESPN, The Athletic and the Los Angeles Times that James’ ailment — a rectus abdominis strain — will sideline him for at least one week. He previously was ruled out for Thursday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder due to the abdominal issue.”
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers Injury Report
Thunder: Lu Dort – Questionable (Shoulder), Gabriel Deck – Questionable (Heel).
Lakers: Trevor Ariza – OUT (Ankle), Dwight Howard – Probable (Neck), LeBron James – OUT (Abdominal Strain), Anthony Davis – Probable (Ankle), Kendrick Nunn – OUT (Knee), Talen Horton-Tucker – OUT (Thumb).
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Los Angeles Lakers Preview
Since surprising the Lakers at Paycom Center, the Thunder struggled against the Warriors and the Clippers. Gilgeous-Alexander continues to put up encouraging numbers across the board, averaging career-high in points (22.9 PPG) and rebounds (5.1 RPG) in 34 minutes per game. Still, the search is on for the next consistent performer since there’s an obvious gap between Gilgeous-Alexander’s point production and Lu Dort’s at 11.7 PPG – the second-highest scoring average on the team.
The Lakers, meanwhile, returned to their winning ways after they manhandled the resurging Cavs and the young Rockets squads in three consecutive home games. Despite nursing a sore ankle, James played through the discomfort of the injury to pace his team in both wins. Carmelo Anthony’s shooting form also caught some attention as the veteran shot over 60 percent from deep during the Lakers’ three-game homestand.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction
Despite the absence of LeBron, the Lakers will do everything in their power to prevent another late-game collapse against the Thunder. Russell Westbrook, visibly upset in their last loss against OKC, will come out ready and motivated to ensure his team gets the vengeance overdue by a week.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers Betting Picks
Picks: The Lakers will cruise to a blowout victory, winning by at least 20 points. The total points will exceed 215 points.
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