Christmas day NBA brings us an interesting matchup between the Nets and Lakers. The showdown will take place in LA, and with many players sidelined, it won’t be what many expected, but it will feature LeBron, and it should feature Kevin Durant, so there is enough.
Brooklyn Nets Betting Preview:
The Brooklyn Nets have not played for a while due to a large number of players being in health and safety protocols. It got so bad that the Nets activated Kyrie Irving back to the active roster. Irving won’t play in this match, but even without him, the Nets have the 3rd best record in the League, mostly thanks to Kevin Durant, who is one of the candidates for MVP this year. Durant missed some time with an ankle injury, but he should suit up for this one. Who will help him remain to be seen as half the roster is a GTD pending a negative test? Some will get back, but some won’t. The defense has suffered the most for the Nets, who are simply not playing it with a depleted roster.
The focus is mainly on scoring to keep the game open, and if they shoot better than their opponents, they win; if not, they lose. There is not much to be calculated here when it comes to the Nets. They are underdogs heading into this matchup and depending on who plays, that might or might not change. For now, I would be looking more towards La La land.
Los Angeles Lakers Betting Preview:
Where does one start with the Lakers, who are seemingly falling apart? While that seems to be true on the surface, the numbers tell a bit of a different story. When the Lakers are fully healthy with their best players on the court, advanced stats say they are one of the better teams in the League. Unfortunately, that has rarely happened this season, with many players being injured. It’s not a surprise when you have a really old roster, but it’s less than ideal. Davis is out for over a month, James missed time, Monk is injured, Ariza missed time, and Westbrook played most of the matches. His numbers have been rather bad, but it is what it is.
Horton-Tucker, a huge issue for the Lakers, who can’t hit anything. They are just underperforming across the board, and it’s reflected in their .500 record. A good chance to avoid falling below .500 is against a depleted Nets team that has many issues of their own.
Durant – James
If Durant plays, and I presume he will despite being listed as out currently, then he and James are absolutely the matchup to watch. I think they will pick up each other on both sides of the ball, and it should be a proper Christmas Day classic. Who will have the edge remains to be seen as James rolled his ankle a bit against the Suns. Whether it impacts his game remains to be seen, but it will give him some pain, that’s for sure.
Westbrook – Mills
One interesting matchup could be Mills against Westbrook, where the American would have a clear physical advantage. The Nets don’t have a rim protector either, so he could drive a bit more than usual instead of hoisting up midrange jumpers that rarely fall. On the other hand, Mills will need to attack Westbrook because scoring will need to come from somewhere.
Nets vs. Lakers betting lines
The Lakers are favored by one and with good reason. Their better players will play this match, and they have a deeper bench. The -1 line is not terrible, and it might swing depending on the news before the game.
The points are at 236, and once again, for a good reason. There won’t be much defense played in this one, if at all. Neither team has committed to that, and with the short benches, expect players to dial it back. Still, it’s a huge line, so be aware of that.
Free Betting Pick
I’m taking the Lakers at home to win against the Nets. There is just too much in favor of the Lakers in this matchup. The only thing giving me pause would be Harden and Aldridge playing. Another thing would be if James misses the game, but as things stand now, the Lakers are the only play for me. For the more cautious ones, definitely wait for the lineups.
It seems like a high-scoring affair is expected when it comes to the points. I agree, but I’m not sure they crack the 236. They might, don’t get me wrong, but I would rather play the Lakers in this spot.