Warriors vs. Lakers Odds
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Warriors are clinging to a half-game lead over the Grizzlies for the two seed in the Western Conference while the Lakers are just two games from falling out of the Play-In Tournament altogether.
Both teams have been on recent slides, but which one is worth backing in primetime on Saturday night?
Warriors Defense Missing Draymond Green
The Warriors have several key defenders on the injury report heading into this matchup. Draymond Green (back) remains out along withAndre Iguodala (back) and Gary Payton II (knee). The Warriors have struggled of late and have dropped seven of their last 10 games, so they need to secure this victory and right the ship.
Over the last two weeks, they have struggled immensely on the defensive side of the ball. They’re allowing 118.7 points per 100 possessions and are just 1-3 across those games with their sole victory coming against the Blazers, who basically have sold off their entire roster. However, their three losses are to the Mavericks and the Timberwolves, two teams on the rise.
They really are missing Green though. They are 28-6 with him but just 15-14 without him. This is not a knock on Curry not being able to raise them to that elite level, rather; it’s a comment about the symbiotic relationship between Green and Curry and how they bring the best out of each other.
Without Draymond on the floor, the Warriors have a Point Differential of +3.9, which is still solid, but it’s a far cry from their +9.2 Point Differential when he’s on the floor, per Cleaning the Glass.
Despite missing Green, they’ve taken care of business against the bad teams. Since he went out on January sixth, the Warriors are 7-2 straight up with a +8.2 Point Differential against teams with bottom-10 Point Differentials, per Cleaning the Glass. The Lakers rank 23rd, so this sets up as a favorable spot for the Warriors. While their offense has not been the best over this stretch, their defense carries them against these teams.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have an extensive injury report for Saturday’s contest. They’re still missing Anthony Davis, but LeBron James (knee) is questionable, Talen Horton-Tucker (ankle) is questionable, and Avery Bradley (knee) is probable. LeBron’s status is obviously the most significant, and if he’s unable to play, this spread will likely rocket into double digits.
Despite the roster surrounding him, LeBron has been incredible this season. He’s one of the few positives on this roster, and the Lakers are just 6-11 without him as they have a Point Differential of -4.2 without him on the floor. Subtract Anthony Davis as well and this number falls again to -6.5 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass.
The issue is this team just is not very good, and they’ve struggled to consistently generate points and stop opponents. Oddly enough, they’re not the worst against the league’s best teams. On the season, the Lakers have the 14th-ranked Point Differential (-3.8) against the top-10 teams, but this has not translated into wins as they are just 7-13.
We are at the point of the season where you pretty much are what your record says you are: the Lakers are a fringe play-in team while the Warriors have remained a top team in the league (even without Green).
The Lakers just lost to the Warriors on February 12th, and that was with Anthony Davis. I don’t know why we should expect a different result here without Davis.
This line is short at 5.5, and this is a buy-low spot for the Warriors more so than for the Lakers. The Warriors have been the better team all season, and we are getting a discount here due to their three-game slide to the Mavericks and Timberwolves, both of whom are worthy opponents.
Pick: Warriors -5.5