Lakers

All Lakers Expert Predictions Ahead Of Monday’s Nets Matchup

Both teams are without critical pieces.

Tonight, your Los Angeles Lakers will be missing at least their best two players, LeBron James and Anthony Davis (and possibly another nominal starter in Lonnie Walker IV, though he is probable to play) against the Brooklyn Nets, who will conversely be without their best player, Kevin Durant, plus one of his best backups in T.J. Warren. 

So who will step up for the Lake Show? Can LA beat expectations and secure a win, or at least cover a lopsided spread? Our experts tackle all that and more tonight.

1. Who’s going to score more points, Nic Claxton or Thomas Bryant?

Alex: Despite starting the last two games, with Anthony Davis back in the lineup Thomas Bryant has taken a major step back as a scorer, averaging just 5.5 points per during that span. Now that Davis is set to be sidelined once again, I’m going to predict that Bryant outscores the Nets’ starting center.

Noah: Yeah, I agree. Without Davis and James, the Lakers are going to be relying on a big scoring night from Bryant, among others. I see him eclipsing the 20-point mark for the first time in over a week, and just the sixth time all season. Claxton will score double-digits, but Bryant will outscore him.

2. How badly will LA lose the three-point battle?

Noah: I mean the only way the Lakers win this game is if they shoot a ton of threes, and hope they land. Without LeBron in the lineup, there won’t be as many open threes — so it’ll be up to the Lakers to make some contested ones. But I see the Lakers taking and making more, although their percentage will likely be worse.

Alex: Though the Nets don’t actually take many more treys than the Lakers (31.4 attempts per game vs. 31.3), they are converting them at a much higher rate (39.4% vs. 33.6%). If we extend each club’s respective attempts per game by their respective success right, we land at a disparity of 1.9 triples in Brooklyn’s favor. I’ll extend that out a bit more, and say that the Nets will make four more triples than the Lakers.

3. Which Lakers role player will step up without LeBron James or Anthony Davis available? 

Alex: Dennis Schröder has been a bit erratic for Los Angeles recently, but with the ball in his hands more tonight I think he’ll take a leap as a distributor and scorer. He’ll need to, at least, for the Lakers to have any shot.

Noah: I was also going to say Schröder, but for the sake of mixing it up (and not just talking about Bryant again who I think will score more than 20), I’ll go with Lonnie Walker IV, assuming he plays. He’s currently probably to go, but as long as he suits up, I see him having a big scoring night for LA. 

4. Will LA cover tonight’s spread?

Noah: The odds are definitely against the Lakers to win and cover, but I think the underdog mentality will be on their side tonight in Brooklyn. I see the Lakers putting up a good fight and likely not winning, but at least covering the spread.

Alex: The Lakers with at least one All-Star available have been incredibly competitive recently, though their record may not reflect that they’ve been possibly screwed out of four or so wins due to poor officiating. Without both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, LA did win a nail-biter against the Miami Heat, who to be fair do not have a power forward on their entire roster. That said, they are still going to be at a major talent disadvantage with Brooklyn All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving healthy. LA is a nine-point underdog tonight. I’d take Brooklyn to win by double digits.

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