NBA Odds, Picks & Predictions: Matt Moore’s Bets for Lakers vs Warriors Game 5
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors, LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
- The Warriors enter Game 5 on the brink of elimination.
- Despite being favorites, their prospects in the series look bleak.
- Matt Moore has several angles for Wednesday's matchup, including the spread, total and a player prop. Check out his picks and predictions for Lakers vs. Warriors Game 5.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are searching. The Los Angeles Lakers are comfortable and up 3-1. Darvin Ham has had the answers. Draymond Green is mortal. It’s gut check time for a dynasty that has reigned supreme for nearly 10 years. Let’s dive into the angles and takeaways for Lakers vs. Warriors, including by bets for Game 5.
Hammed If You Do, Hammed If You Don’t
If you want a good sense for who has the upper hand in a series, pay attention to who blinks first. (This is advice I should listen to.)
The Warriors shifted their starting lineup in Game 2, adding JaMychal Green to provide another big who could space the floor next to Draymond Green. The Lakers countered by putting Anthony Davis on Green to prevent the Warriors from putting Davis the in pick-and-roll vs. Stephen Curry (which subsequently let Davis roam and shut down the paint).
So, the Warriors shifted again, putting Gary Payton II into the starting lineup in Game 4. It worked. Payton was a +10 through three quarters and the Warriors had a seven-point lead. He took away D’Angelo Russell’s offensive impact and turned him from a positive to a negative.
But then the Lakers adjusted mid-game, putting in Lonnie Walker IV for more offense, benching Russell and playing Dennis Schröder.
NBA coaches will say they don’t want to be the first to make an adjustment. It sets them on a chain of counters to counter-adjustments that move them further from the team they tried to be all season.
Steve Kerr has had to make multiple changes first in two series. Only in this series, Ham has had all the answers and the adjustments haven’t had a big enough impact to get the Lakers out of their comfort zone.
Forget About Dray
Some stats, without context:
Stephen Curry with Draymond Green in this series: -21
Stephen Curry without Draymond Green in this series: +17
Draymond Green without Stephen Curry in this series: -7
Anthony Davis when defended by Draymond Green in this series, via NBA.com’s admittedly wonky matchup stats: 38 points on 14-of-24 shooting (58%), 11 free throws drawn.
Now, with Kevon Looney guarding him, Davis is 12-of-22 (54%) for 27 points, but only 3-of-3 from the line.
Draymond Green and Stephen Curry when Anthony Davis is on the floor: -14.
Kevon Looney and Stephen Curry when Anthony Davis is on the floor: +2.
That data’s messy, but it tells a story. This is not Green’s series. Davis has always been a tough cover for Green — he’s a tough cover for anyone. But specifically, the things other bigs can’t do vs. Green (score inside, shoot jumpers consistently well over his contest) are things Davis does at an elite level with his combination of skill and size.
The Warriors are trying to get smaller, but the key is to keep Looney on the floor. Green was willing to be benched against the Kings, even if he later returned after Golden State had righted the ship.
Can the Warriors push that button again?
Playing Looney more, not less, is probably the big adjustment left on the board for Kerr. Shooters and Looney is a better combo against what the Lakers bring to the table.
I’m going to bet Green points and assist unders in Game 5. Either the Warriors play Green less and he goes under, or they play him more, he struggles, and it goes under. I don’t think Green will be able to make plays or score like he did in Game 2.
The End of History
The Warriors have never lost a Western Conference playoff series under Kerr. That can end Wednesday night with a loss in San Francisco.
Not to wax poetic, but the Roman Empire didn’t fall overnight. There wasn’t a singular defeat by a competing horde. It was a slow series of small events.
The loss of veterans like Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica.
The small decline of Klay Thompson’s defense and shooting.
The whiff in the draft of James Wiseman.
The lack of a leap by Jonathan Kuminga. (Moses Moody has been good in this series and should play more.)
The move from a rabid and passionate Oracle Arena to a more sterile and corporate Chase Center.
These things contributed to the Warriors slowly shifting to a team that resembles the mighty dynasty — they still look like it for moments — but isn’t.
I’ve compared this team to the 2012 Celtics, a team stopped by one of LeBron Jame’s greatest performances. This Warriors team is more accomplished than that Celtics team, but that Celtics felt like it had more in the tank.
This is it. Can the Warriors come back on James from down 3-1 with a lesser team like he did seven years ago? Or does it end here?
In most sports, you shouldn’t bet the narrative, but the NBA has been a narrative sport, played by legends and won by stars. So in some ways, your bet on this game (from a side perspective) should be built on how you see that narrative falling.
Ask yourself one question: Does the Dynasty end here?
How I’m Betting Lakers vs. Warriors Game 5
Lakers Moneyline (+250): The Lakers have been a better team since the All-Star Break. The Lakers have been a better team in the playoffs. The Lakers have been a better team in the series.
They have the matchup advantage with Anthony Davis, who was predictably quieter in Game 4, but based on the trend, that sets him up to have a monster Game 5.
The odds are unlikely that Kerr moves away from Green without foul trouble.
There’s a chance Game 6 Klay shows up one game early. There’s a chance Curry is magical in front of the home crowd one more time this season. There’s a chance the Lakers play passive, conserve energy (no, they will not rest starters, as ESPN asked Tuesday morning) and live to win in six like they did in the Memphis series. But I think these things can happen and the Lakers could still win.
Pick: Lakers Moneyline +250
Under 226.5: My favorite play, as it has been in this series, is the under. The under is 2-2, but Game 2 went over by a half-point. This series has trended more and more into the muck. The Lakers will have to play more defensive players with the Warriors focusing on D’Angelo Russell and the Warriors cannot, in any capacity, score inside.
The total dropped two points from the Game 4 total, and then dropped another half-point as 99% of the money is on the under in Game 5. I simultaneously trust the defenses and don’t trust the offenses. I’m going back to the under again.
Pick: Under 226.5
Draymond Green under 15.5 Points and Assists: Green either plays less or continues to struggle. Foul trouble is also a possible factor.
Pick: Draymond Green Under 15.5 PTS + AST
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