The West Coast nightcap of ESPN’s doubleheader will be the first NBA game that tips under the Trump administration. Indiana comes into Los Angeles having won two straight and seven of its last eight. The Lakers have lost five in a row and will be without Larry Nance Jr. for at least one more game as he continues to recover from a deep bone bruise in his knee.
The Lakers were in an offensive funk before putting up 121 the last time out in a loss to the Nuggets. They had failed to score 100 in each of their first four losses of the current five-game skid, putting up 97, 97, 84, 87. Nance’s absence has the Lakers’ bench a little sluggish, but otherwise the rest of LA’s weapons are available and just have not been shooting the ball particularly well. Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson were both efficient off the bench the last time out for the first time in a while against the Nuggets. Their production will be important if the Lakers want to score with an Indiana bench that has some pop with Al Jefferson, who is off of a 20-point game, and a healthy Monta Ellis.
Meanwhile, the Pacers have been scoring in bunches on their recent hot stretch. Indiana put up 117, 121, 121 and 123, in four straight wins. And although their last two games have been relatively low-scoring, the Pacers could be poised for another big offensive game tonight in Los Angeles. Both teams have lots of offensive weapons and are not particularly defensive minded. If the pace is as fast as I think it could be, this one could end up in the 230 range, or even higher if both teams shoot the way they are capable of. With a posted total of 220 flat, I’m willing to take a shot here with a rare over play. Enjoy the late night play folks.
Free Pick: Over 220