Golden St. Warriors at L.A. Lakers
Time: 9 PM CST, Wed (ESPN)
Spread: LAL -8
odds c/o 5dimes
The L.A. Lakers have won eight of 10 games this season and are currently atop the Pacific Division standings. In the second half of an ESPN doubleheader, it will host the visiting Golden State Warriors—a team that scarcely resembles the vaunted roster it had over the past five seasons. With a patchwork of fringe talents, the Warriors are struggling and it is an 8-point underdog to LeBron James and the Lakers. The over/under is set at 219.5 points according to NBA oddsmaker at bookmaker 5dimes.
Any issues the L.A. Lakers were anticipated to have in terms of chemistry and matchup issues seem pretty null at this point. The Lakers have won its last five games, and Anthony Davis and LeBron James mesh as seamlessly as one would expect two All-NBA caliber talents to do so.
Davis is averaging 26.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 4.2 blocks/steals per game while posting a team-best PER of 28.0. James has been nothing short of his usual self, at least offensively. LBJ is tallying 24 points, seven rebounds and 11 assists playing over 35 minutes a night.
The remainder of the Lakers has done its job, too, from Avery Bradley’s stifling defense to Dwight Howard’s now-infectious energy and paint clogging reserve work. The Lakers were anticipated to have some sort of issue at the 5-spot, but with Howard playing a lot more like his “old self,” and JaVale McGee doing just fine in his own right, the Lakers will only get more-loaded when DeMarcus Cousins eventually does return from injury.
Swingman and stretch-4 Kyle Kuzma finally appeared after missing the first four games, and he is on minutes-restrictions attempting to shake some rust, as it is. Kuzma has seen just 21 minutes per game in his first two appearances, and he is not really clicking at all just yet. He is shooting just 43 percent from the floor and 25 percent from three. It is not what the Lakers expect from a player billed to be one of the best shooters on its roster.
Danny Green has provided the court spacing and shooting the Lakers anticipated, and he has had some big games already this season despite being somewhat inconsistent overall.
The Lakers have a strong and deep team, the latter of which was hardly expected, but has certainly become the case with the likes of Alex Caruso, Quinn Cook, and Troy Daniels filling out the bottom of an 11-man rotation. The Lakers have had a few surprises, but contending should not really be one: This is a team with the league’s most-dominant offensive big and one of the best talents of all-time.
L.A. winds up toward these loaded lineups every so often, and if James can avoid an early falloff, this team could win multiple titles. Then again, that speech seems to be a bit eerie recalling James “Not 5, Not 6,” speech in Miami. For now, the Lakers will focus on beating the Bulls and contending in 2019-20 so as not to put the proverbial cart before the horse.
The Golden State Warriors is just 2-9 on the season and in the last place in the division. This is unfamiliar territory from a team that had boasted four All-Stars a season ago. Out is Kevin Durant, who signed with the Brooklyn Nets, while the Warriors are also without sharpshooter Klay Thompson. D’Angelo Russell is a dynamite scorer, but the Warriors are also without Stephen Curry for a long period this season due to an injured wrist. Draymond Green returned from injury last game, but he is the only one of the Warriors top-4 players from a year ago to suit up at this point.
For as good as Russell has been, it has not been enough to carry the Dubs to victories. He is averaging 26.3 points, four rebounds and 6.5 assists per game while pouting a PER of 24.38. The next on the list of active scorers though is rookie and second-round pick Eric Paschall. He has been impressive, almost like a more offensive (and of course less defensive), Draymond Green.
Former Utah Jazz swingman Alec Burks should add some more scoring, but the Warriors’ issues have been mostly on the defensive end. Golden State still averages better than 111 points per game. So, with a patched-up roster consisting of a lot of rookies, young talent, discarded reclamation projects (like Willie Cauley-Stein), the Warriors are simply not a team that stacks up to most of the other teams in the Association anymore.
How fast teams can fall!