Pacers vs. Lakers NBA Odds & Picks: Injured Los Angeles Will Still Cover (March 12)
Rocky Widner/Getty Images. Pictured: Dennis Schroder #17, Montrezl Harrell #15, Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Lakers.
- The Lakers and Pacers return to action Friday night after the NBA All-Star break.
- Half of the Lakers are on the injury report, but Indiana is still without Caris LeVert.
- Joe Dellara explains why even without Anthony Davis, Los Angeles should still cover.
Pacers vs. Lakers Odds
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday night and via BetMGM.|
The Pacers and Lakers return to action on Friday night after the NBA All-Star Break and look to rebound after tough finishes to the first half. In this matchup between two teams that are still not at full strength, who will prevail?
While T.J. Warren is still in a walking boot, the Pacers are anxious to see Caris LeVert in a Pacers uniform for the first time this season. Although LeVert will miss this game, he’s expected to make his return sometime in March.
The Pacers are currently three games below .500, and this is not at all how they expected their season to go. They’ve been maligned by injuries and just cannot get off on the right foot this season. Moreover, they’ve truly struggled when playing the premier teams in the league.
This season against teams with top-10 point differentials, the Pacers are 2-11 straight up, and they are -11.2 points per 100 possessions, seventhth worst in the league. Indiana gives up 118.4 points per 100, and it’s in large part due to their 56.8% allowed eFG%.
Despite having DPOY candidate Myles Turner patrolling the interior, they give up the second-highest frequency of shots at the rim. Indiana defends that shot well, but it’s still an easy look for opponents.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are back, and by that I mean half the roster is on the injury report. LeBron James (ankle) is probable, Jared Dudley (knee) is probable, Damian Jones (back) is probable, Kyle Kuzma (heel) is probable, Marc Gasol (Health and Safety) is out and Kostas Antetokounmpo (Health and Safety) is also out. Alex Caruso is also listed as probable, but he said that he will play.
The Lakers have feasted on teams outside of the top 10 in point differential, going a combined 21-7 against those teams with an average point differential of about +9, per Cleaning the Glass. The Pacers fall in the middle, so let’s focus on those numbers.
One of the Lakers’ biggest strengths has been their defense, and against teams in the middle 10 in point differential, they’ve limited their 3-point opportunities. As strong as the Lakers’ defense has been, they’ve sold out to protect the 3-point line this season, and it has come at the expense of a slightly higher shooting percentage at the rim.
Although the Lakers will miss Gasol’s presence more than normal because Anthony Davis remains out, they recently signed Damian Jones to a second 10-day contract to help on the interior. While he’s nothing spectacular, he’s a lengthy big man who adequately defends the paint.
The Lakers slipped a bit before the break, but it was in large part due to their offense which lagged without Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder. When Schroder returned and took some of the playmaking responsibilities from LeBron James, the Lakers looked like a much more cohesive unit.
My one concern in this game is that Damian Jones and Montrezl Harrell will not be able to contain Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis. With strong team defense, however, they should be able to limit them. I’d expect the Lakers to use more lineups with Talen Horton-Tucker to try and compensate for some of the length they are missing without AD and Gasol (THT is 6’4″ but has a wingspan of 7’1″).
Even without AD on the floor, the Lakers are a top-10 team in point differential, and they should be able to take care of the Pacers at home coming off the All-Star Break.
Pick: Lakers -4.5