The Los Angeles Lakers hope for a return to action by All-Star forward Anthony Davis when they take on the Brooklyn Nets in a marquee matchup on Tuesday night. The opening tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Lakers have alternated between wins and losses over their last five games, including a 113-107 setback on the road to the Miami Heat on Sunday. Los Angeles is 23-24 and in third place in the Pacific Division, 11 games behind the second-place Golden State Warriors and a half-game ahead of the fourth-place Los Angeles Clippers.
Brooklyn is coming off a road loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, snapping a two-game winning streak. The Nets fell to 29-17 but are still atop the Atlantic Division standings, leading the second-place Philadelphia 76ers by two games.
The Lakers’ lineup has been in a constant state of flux, with injuries causing a number of regulars in the rotation to miss time. Coach Frank Vogel will certainly welcome the next change in his rotation, though, as Anthony Davis is listed as probable after missing 17 games with a knee injury.
Davis is a force on both ends of the floor, averaging 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals. He’ll certainly change the way things have been running for the team, as LeBron James has played center in a number of games in Davis’ absence.
James has been on fire of late. He had 33 points in the loss to Miami on Sunday, his 17th straight game of scoring 25 points or more, which have all come with Davis sidelined.
“I don’t need to score 30 a night, but I’m in one of the best zones offensively I’ve been in, in my career,” James said of his scoring string. “And I don’t plan on stopping. That’s just how I feel. I feel fantastic. Shooting the ball extremely well. Didn’t shoot the three-ball well (Sunday), but all eight of them felt great. Shooting efficient from the free-throw line, shooting efficient from the field. Very efficient at the rim.
“So I don’t go into the game saying you got to score 30 or you guys don’t have a chance to win the game. I just play the game. The scoring has been happening organically.”
James is second in the league in scoring at 29.0 points per game. He’s also averaging 7.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists .
Guard Russell Westbrook has also been trying to adapt to his new team amid all the lineup changes. He’s averaging 18.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists, ranking seventh in the NBA in the last category.
The Brooklyn Nets will be without guard Kyrie Irving, who is unable to play in home games due to New York’s COVID-19 restrictions and his unvaccinated status. He’s averaged 23.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists in seven games but likely won’t play again until the Nets go on the road on Feb. 1.
With Kevin Durant injured, James Harden will be the only one of the team’s Big Three to face the Lakers. Harden is second in the league in assists per game with 10.1 while also averaging 22.7 points and 8.0 rebounds. He’ll be looking to get his teammates involved rather than trying to outgun the Lakers by himself.
One of those teammates is veteran forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who has been up and down in his scoring. Three games ago against Washington, he went for 27 points, but he’s scored a total of 22 over the last two contests.
Guard Patty Mills is also capable of a big offensive game. Mills is averaging 13.5 points and shooting 42.5 percent from three-point range, so he’ll be a nice outlet for Harden to look for when he drives.
Lakers Get Win
Los Angeles is starting to get healthy and it has one of the hottest players in the game right now in James. If Davis can just provide rebounding and defense, he’ll make the Lakers a better team, and the Nets don’t have the firepower right now to keep up.
When doing your NBA betting, take the Lakers to win and cover on the road.