The daily preview it to the rim with NBA tips for a clash between injury-hit heavyweights Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers.
11:30 (AEDT), Wed 26th Jan @ Barclays Center, Brooklyn
History: Played 98: Lakers 70 V Nets 28
Last meeting: December 25, 2021: Nets 122 d Lakers 115 at Crypto.com Arena
Final Thoughts: Two of the NBA’s highest-profile teams lock horns for the second time this season. But Brooklyn Nets and LA Lakers have both been struggling to find consistency with marquee men missing.
With Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis sidelined, the Nets won their Christmas Day duel with the Lakers in LA 122-115. James Harden (36 pts, 10 reb, 10 ast) racked up a triple-double and Aussie veteran Patty Mills (34 pts, 7 ast) starred for Brooklyn, while LeBron James (39 pts, 9 reb, 7 ast) carried the Lakers with support off the bench from Malik Monk (20 pts) and Carmelo Anthony (17 pts, 11 reb).
Nets talisman Durant returned from a short lay-off but is expected to be out for 4-6 weeks after suffering a knee injury on January 15. Davis, though, is tipped to play his first game in more than five weeks, listed as probable for the Lakers.
It’s a timely boost for the 23-24 Lakers, who have slipped to eighth in the West with five losses in their last seven games. The went down 113-107 in Miami on Monday (AEDT), despite another monster showing from LeBron (33 pts, 11 reb) and a busy performances from Russell Westbrook (24 pts, 9 reb, 9 ast).
The 29-17 Nets are second in the East and within touching distance of the conference-leading Heat. But they have won only six of their last 14. After banking consecutive wins for the first time in 2022 last week against the Wizards (119-118) and Spurs (117-102), they went down 136-125 away to the Timberwolves. Kyrie Irving’s return has helped ease the load with KD out, but the vaccine-hesitant superstar is not permitted to play in the Nets’ home games due to New York’s COVID laws.
That leaves Harden to carry a huge chunk of the load, especially with the likes of Joe Harris and Nic Claxton still out.
The Nets are a modest 12-11 at home this season (an NBA-worst 5-17-1 against the line) and have won only two of their last seven at Barclays Center. The Lakers are a poor 8-12 on the road (9-11 ATS) and have won just two of their last eight away games.
The Lakers will take time to adjust to having Davis back in the line-up. But it’s undoubtedly a plus ahead of this road trip. The visitors are $1.62 favourites and I expect them to cover against the depleted Nets.
Best Bet: Handicap – Lakers -3.5 @ $1.90