The Philadelphia 76ers (37-24; 27-33-1 ATS) continue their west-coast journey Tuesday night when they take on the Los Angeles Lakers (46-13; 32-26-1 ATS) for the second and final time this regular season. The Sixers beat Los Angeles 108-91 as 5-point home dogs on January 25, recording their third straight victory over the Lakers. However, the Sixers will be quite shorthanded when they take the floor at Staples Center this Tuesday.
Phila misses Joel Embiid (shoulder) and Ben Simmons (back), and both these guys will be sidelined for a while. Josh Richardson (concussion) is out, too, after a hard hit in the Sixers’ previous game. On the other side, the Lakers should be at full strength. Anthony Davis (knee) and Alex Caruso (hamstring) sat out Sunday’s game in New Orleans, but they should return Tuesday against the 76ers.
The Lakers opened as heavy 11.5-point favorites with a total of 220.0 points at Betonline, BetDSI, and MyBookie. Considering the Sixers’ injury problems, I wouldn’t be surprised with some early action on the hosts, so keep on tracking the odds changes on these platforms.
What’s at Stake?
The 76ers are so banged up that they have nothing to lose in this game. They are No. 5 seed in the East, trailing 1.5 games behind the fourth-seeded Miami, while Indiana is only half a game behind the Sixers. The Lakers are topping the Western Conference, 5.5 games ahead of the Nuggets and Clippers, while they are 5.5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks in the race for the best record in the league. It seems that the Lakers will have to settle down with the best record in the West.
Phila is coming off a 136-130 loss at the LA Clippers this past Sunday, and the wounded Sixers battled bravely as 14-point underdogs. It was their third loss in the last five outings. On the other side, the Lakers are coming off a 122-114 win over New Orleans as 1.5-point road favorites on Sunday. They’ve won eight of the previous nine games overall.
With Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Josh Richardson all on the shelf, the Sixers will be in big trouble. Tobias Harris (19.2 PPG, 6.7 RPG) will get a ton of offensive usage, while Shake Milton (8.8 PPG, 2.0 APG) will continue to drive the Sixers’ offense after dropping 39 points on the Clippers last time out. Milton has been a nice replacement for Ben Simmons so far, but it’s hard to expect miracles from sophomore guard.
The Sixers have had a lot of offensive issues this season. They score only 109.6 points per 100 possessions (18th in the league) on 46.4% shooting from the field (11th), while the Sixers are surprisingly fifth in the league in assists per 100 possessions (26.0). Phila surrenders 107.5 points per 100 possessions (6th) on 45.8% shooting from the field (15th).
On the other side, the Lakers have been one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, allowing 105.8 points per 100 possessions (3rd) on 44.6% shooting from the field (6th). Furthermore, the Lakers are leading the league in blocks per game (6.9) and are third in steals per game (8.6). They score 113.1 points per 100 possessions (6th) on 48.6% shooting from the field (1st).
I don’t think the 76ers stand a chance in this game, considering they are missing a couple of best players plus one more member of the starting five. The Lakers are only 1-5 SU and ATS in their last six meetings with Philadelphia and will be fired up to get payback in front of the home fans. Therefore, I would go with the Lakers to cover. They are 3-1 ATS in the last four outings as double-digit favorites.
The Sixers average 99.0 possessions per 48 minutes (19th in the league), almost two possessions fewer than the Lakers whose pace is 11th-fastest in the NBA. The visitors will desperately need to slow down the tempo and play the toughest possible defense because they lack offensive weapons at the moment. That’s why I don’t expect to see a high-scoring affair. Betting on the under seems like a nice option, but the hosts and points are my first choice here.