The Los Angeles Lakers (28-27; 25-29-1 ATS) are coming off a huge 129-128 victory at the Boston Celtics this past Thursday, upsetting the odds as 9-point underdogs thanks to Rajon Rondo’s buzzer-beater. The Lakers put an end to their two-game skid but will have another tough assignment when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center Sunday afternoon. The Sixers (35-20; 26-29 ATS) are coming off a 117-110 home victory over the Denver Nuggets, halting their two-game skid in Tobias Harris debut in a new jersey.
The Lakers will face off against the Sixers for the second time this season, and Philadelphia has beaten LeBron-less Lakers 121-105 as a 7.5-point favorite at Staples Center, while the Sixers have won three of their previous four meetings with the Lakers.
The Los Angeles Lakers will be without Lonzo Ball (ankle), while Josh Hart (knee) didn’t practice on Saturday and is listed as questionable for tonight’s matchup. The Sixers will miss Shake Milton (finger) for a while, and Jonathon Simmons will probably sit out another game, but all key guys are ready to go.
The Sixers opened as 7-point favorites with the total at 234.5 points and the Lakers at +250 money line odds. Obviously, the new Big Four in Philadelphia is forcing the bookmakers to consider them as strong favorites even though the Lakers are coming off an excellent performance at Boston with healthy LeBron James in the lineup. The Sixers are 5-3 straight up and 4-4 ATS in their last eight showings on the home court, and half of these eight contests were finished in the over. The Lakers are 4-4 straight up and 6-2 ATS in their previous eight outings on the road, and the over is 5-3 during that span.
What’s at Stake?
The Lakers are the No. 10 seed in the West 1.5 games behind the Clippers and one game behind the Sacramento Kings who are keen to end up their postseason drought. Hereof, the Lakers need every game and will play with a lot of pressure on their shoulders, Still, there is enough time ‘till the end of the season, so the eventual loss at Phila shouldn’t dishearten the Lakers. On the other side, the Sixers are chasing the No. 3 seed Indiana Pacers along with the Boston Celtics, so there’s a lot on the table for them, too.
After the matchup with the Sixers, the Los Angeles Lakers will continue their road trip with a visit to Atlanta Tuesday which will be their ultimate matchup before the All-Star break. The Sixers will have a back-to-back set prior to the All-Star game, hosting the Celtics Tuesday night and visiting the hapless Knicks Wednesday.
In their first head-to-head duel of the season on January 29, the Lakers just couldn’t cope with the Sixers without LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma. Brandon Ingram led the Lakers with 36 points on excellent 16-of-20 shooting from the field, but he didn’t have adequate support from his teammates, as just Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and JaVale McGee scored in double-digits. On the other side, five Sixers’ players scored in double-figures including Joel Embiid who posted 28 points and 11 rebounds.
Embiid will be a go-to-guy on this one, too, as the Lakers are allowing 50.1 points in the paint per game (21st in the league). Tobias Harris had 14 points and eight rebounds at his debut against Denver, showing he will be a great reinforcement for this Sixers team. The Lakers will need their best D to slow down the Sixers, while LeBron James will orchestrate his team on the offensive end. James will have a tough matchup with Jimmy Butler which will be the most interesting duel of this clash.
The Lakers are scoring 107.9 points per 100 possessions (21st in the league) on 47.3% shooting from the field (7th) and 33.9% from beyond the arc (27th), allowing 108.6 points in a return (10th) on 44.6% shooting from the field (4th) and 35.3% from downtown (14th). They are making 23.9 assists (18th) and grabbing 45.4 rebounds per 100 possessions (11th). On the other side, the Sixers are scoring 112.3 points per 100 possessions (10th in the league) on 47.2% shooting from the field (8th) and 36.0% from beyond the arc (also 8th), conceding 109.1 points in a return (12th) on 45.3% shooting from the field (8th) and 34.3% from deep (7th). Phila is making 26.6 assists (3rd) and posting 45.8 boards per 100 possessions (8th).
Both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers are playing at a fast pace, so we can expect a lot of points tonight. Phila is tallying 101.7 possessions per 48 minutes (7th in the league), while the Lakers are recording 103.1 possessions per 48 minutes (4th) which promise some up-tempo basketball. The chalk has been set sky-high, but I’m still backing the over.
I’ve got burned on the Lakers when they’ve beaten the Celtics at TD Garden, but the Sixers have met my expectations against the Nuggets, so I’m pretty hesitant about the side bet. I think the Sixers will win the game, but I’m not sure about the spread. The Lakers are quite unpredictable as we’ve seen recently, losing heavily at Indiana 136-94 and bouncing back with a victory over Boston. Still, I’ll go with the Sixers, suggesting you to pick the alternative point spread and take them as 5.5-point favorites at slightly lower wages.