• Los Angeles Lakers vs. Brooklyn Nets
• Friday, Jan. 19 at 10:30 PM ET
• Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California
Whenever the Los Angeles Lakers are in action, you can fully expect countless eyes to be on future Hall of Famer LeBron James. This will surely be the case later in the week when Los Angeles plays host to Brooklyn. These two teams have been a bit of a disappointment this year, but this could end up being a close one. Having said that, the Lakers are expected to top the Nets on Friday night in what should be a packed house. Will they be able to get the job done?
As of this writing, the Lakers are 20-21 on the season and they’re coming off a needed win against the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis has also been a disappointment this year, but with how inconsistent the Lakers have looked at times this campaign, plenty of people were worried that Memphis would hand them yet another rough loss. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and now the Lakers are only one game back of improving their season record to .500.
|Lakers vs. Nets odds
|Lakers to win
|Nets to win
|Over 195 points
|Under 195 points
On Friday evening, Brooklyn is also going to want to surprise a lot of people with a head-turning result. The Nets are on the outside looking in for the postseason, as they’re 16-23 and in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings. Things haven’t been the same for them since Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and others left town. The young talent on the roster will need to step up if they want to try and post an upset.
According to the best-rated sportsbooks, which includes the reliable Bovada review, the Lakers hold -110 NBA betting odds to take down Brooklyn. The Nets aren’t playing with a ton of swagger and they hold +125 betting odds. The Lakers need to get hot soon and send a statement to the rest of the Western Conference. James can’t afford to miss out on the postseason. Luckily for him, we think the Lakers will take care of business vs. Brooklyn. We’re going with LA as our pick.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 16, 2024
Lakers know the pressure is on to start winning
While things haven’t quite gone according to plan for LA, the Lakers know the pressure is on to start winning more consistently. With them under .500 after the win over Memphis, head coach Darwin Ham also understands that his job could be on the line if the team continues to tank. The Lakers have made some adjustments on offense, which recently featured D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reeves in the starting lineup.
D’Angelo Russell since return from injury; 5 GAMES —
40% 3P (on 8 3PA/g)
— UNO (@nowxuno) January 16, 2024
We should be seeing more of this, as the two were able to find a rhythm against Memphis. In the showdown against the Nets, our expectation is that the two will continue to be in the starting lineup. Luckily for the Lakers, they have a deep enough bench where more subs could be made if need be. However, seeing Russell and Reeves play so well in extended minutes sure impressed Ham against the Grizzlies.
“Just wanted to put as much skill and shot-making on the floor around our two captains,” Ham said. “And those five, they’ve been pretty much our most consistent guys throughout the season so far. So, just put them together and, for the foreseeable future, that’s going to be our lineup barring any kind of injury. I thought it went well. It was a hell of a night. Lots of contributions. Talked about everyone pouring into one another, covering one another, helping each other be great on both sides of the ball.”
Against the Nets, with the over/under set for 195 points, Reeves and Russell will need to play strong, but James is going to have to be at his best too. While the Lakers are riding high after taking down Memphis at home, they haven’t been good enough to overlook a team like the Nets. From the opening tip, the Lakers need to play with a lot of energy and urgency. The hope is that the team will be able to answer the call here in primetime.
LeBron James is nowhere near the top of the NBA MVP odds
While he’s getting close to 40, it’s quite disappointing that LeBron James is nowhere near the top of the NBA MVP odds. While things could change late in the campaign, James holds +20000 NBA MVP odds, which is rough. This basically confirms that Las Vegas doesn’t think he has a prayer in taking home the honor. The same could be said for the Lakers NBA Finals betting odds, as no one thinks this team will be able to make noise in the postseason – if they advance to that stage.
James is still one of the best players in the game, but betting on him to win MVP doesn’t make too much sense. He could flip the entire script during the second half of the season, but we just don’t see it happening. The Lakers have been a letdown as a whole, with James being a big reason why. Stay away from him for the MVP race this year.
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