• Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns
• Thursday, January 11 at 10PM ET
• Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California
With the heart of the NBA regular season here, there have been plenty of teams who have impressed. However, it’s safe to say that two teams in particular out West have been a major disappointment. We’re of course talking about the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers. These were two teams expected to push for an NBA Finals title, but it’s up in the air if they’ll even make the postseason. Having said that, the Suns should take down the Lakers in a big Thursday showdown.
Come Thursday night, the two Western Conference sides indeed will be facing off. This game will take place in Los Angeles, as the Lakers are hoping to take advantage of their home floor. However, no one can deny the fact that the Lakers have been a complete and total nightmare this year. As of this writing, the Lakers are 18-19 on the year, which no one was expecting to happen at this point in the campaign.
|LA vs. Phoenix odds
|Lakers to win
|Suns to win
|Over 195 points
|Under 195 points
With the Lakers being below .500, the frustration continues to grow for superstar forward LeBron James. Plain and simple, James is sick and tired of this team losing, especially with the Lakers currently in 10th place in the standings. James is ready for this team to try and turn the season around, but the Suns are going to do everything in their power to make sure more headaches come for head coach Darvin Ham.
According to the best-rated sportsbooks, which includes the reliable Bovada review, the Lakers hold -110 NBA betting odds to post a win. They hold these odds because they’re the home team. However, the Suns, with their +125 betting odds, should be taken seriously to pull off an upset. From our chair, we think Phoenix will be the ones to celebrate a close win on Thursday. We’re going with the Suns as our pick.
BOOK IT. pic.twitter.com/ueTW4AHKFF
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) January 8, 2024
Kevin Durant is almost out of the NBA MVP conversation
As for the Suns, they’re in the middle of a rough patch too and there’s no question that Kevin Durant is almost out of the NBA MVP conversation. Entering the new year, Durant and Devin Booker had high expectations. A lot of people thought the Suns would be pushing for a title. That’s always going to be the case when you have guys like Durant and Booker leading your offensive charge.
However, the opposite has been the case, as the Suns are 19-17 on the year and in ninth place in the Western Conference standings. They’re just barely ahead of the struggling Lakers. Come Thursday, the stadium in LA is going to be packed and the brightest stars will be on hand to see this one. There’s going to be pressure on James, Durant and Booker to all put on a show, especially KD.
Kevin Durant looking healthy pregame pic.twitter.com/nHXi4fSfSm
— Shane Young (@YoungNBA) January 8, 2024
When Durant is playing at a high level, he’s considered one of the best players in the league. Thus far this campaign, Durant is averaging nearly 30 points per game. There’s no question that he’s lighting up the scoreboard, which has Suns fans quite excited. However, as long as the Suns continue to struggle as a whole, the more of a negative impact it’s going to have on Durant’s odds to win NBA MVP.
Joel Embiid has the top Las Vegas betting odds to win NBA MVP at +300. There was once a time when Durant was high on the list too, but he’s set at +5000. Right now it feels like unless a miracle happens, Durant won’t be named MVP. The Suns as a whole need to turn the season back on the right track, but it’s up in the air if that happens or not. It will be on Durant and Booker to get that job done.
Phoenix still holds strong NBA Finals odds
While things have been a letdown for the Suns, Phoenix still holds strong NBA Finals odds. With their rough record and ninth-place standing in the Western Conference, it’d be fair to assume that not a lot of people would be taking this team seriously as a title contender. However, the Suns have the fourth-best NBA Finals betting odds, placed at +1100. Head coach Frank Vogel believes in his team, but he knows they have to perform better too.
“We didn’t play well enough for 48 minutes honestly,” Vogel said following a recent loss to Memphis. “We started the game strong and came into half saying, ‘We didn’t play our best basketball, but we were happy to have a five-point lead.’ But we didn’t deserve the win tonight.”
The Suns have a lot of things to clean up, but luckily for them, there’s still a ton of season left to get the job done. The Celtics and Nuggets feel like the major contenders to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but Phoenix is always going to be a team to keep an eye on. Vogel is an experienced coach and people are feeling confident that he’ll be able to bring out the best in both Booker and Durant. We’ll see if that happens or not.
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