It’s a Friday night showdown between two of the top teams in the Western Conference, as the Los Angeles Lakers head to Texas to face the Dallas Mavericks.
The last time these two teams squared off was late December when the Lakers were able to stall out the Mavericks offense and win the game 108-95. The Lakers were also able to cover the spread in that one as well.
Will LeBron James and company cover a 1.5-point spread this time? Or will Luka Doncic be able to hold out at home against the Lakers?
Coming Off A Close Loss
The Mavericks are coming off a close loss at home to the Denver Nuggets (107-106) after not being able to stop Nikola Jokic in the final seconds of the game. That loss to Denver marked the Mavericks’ ninth loss at home and brought them to 5-5 in their last 10.
Unfortunately for the Mavericks, they’ll be playing the Lakers without their star big man Kristaps Porzingis, who suffered a knee injury. Porzingis is the only person currently injured for the Mavericks, so it’s a good sign that the rest of the ream is healthy and ready for Friday.
Against the spread, Dallas has been disappointing, going 2-6-1 in its last nine games and an overall record of 19-17-1.
Depending on the offense’s efficiency without Porzingis, the Mavericks could be in trouble against the league’s best field-goal percentage team. Dallas’ record versus the Lakers against the spread doesn’t help its situation, going 1-2 in their last three and a record of 1-6-1 against the spread in their last eight home games.
Best In The West
The Lakers have won six games in a row, with their most recent win against the New York Knicks strengthening their position in the Western Conference. As one of the league’s best overall teams and James playing some of his best basketball, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why the Lakers have the second-best record in the NBA.
There is, unfortunately, some bad news for the Lakers, however, as Anthony Davis has been ruled out of this game against Dallas. This means that the Lakers will be without their top scorer and rebounder.
Davis leads the team in points per game (27.1) and field-goal percentage at .504, leaving the Lakers with a huge hole on offense. With the Lakers losing their big man in the paint, it’s going to be up to James to slow down the Mavericks’ fast-paced offense.
Although the Lakers have very few losses under their belt, they’ve been much worse against the spread. In their last eight games, the Lakers have gone 3-8-1, with four of their last five going under.
The better news is that Los Angeles has done well against Dallas, covering the spread in two of its last three games against the Mavericks. In all of these games, the Lakers were the favorite.
Pick and Prediction
This game is pretty tough to decide, as both teams are missing their star big man, with the Lakers missing their best scorer. This comes down to LeBron versus Luka, and although I think Luka is destined for an amazing career, it’s hard to side against King James.
Another point to take into consideration is how bad Dallas has been at home, as with a record of 11-9, it seems like Dallas should be playing more away games than home ones. Dallas’ record against the spread recently doesn’t give me enough to trust it, especially against an offense like the Lakers.
Although the Lakers haven’t played well against the spread recently, they play really well on the road (15-3). I don’t expect LeBron and Co. to win this one easy, but I do believe they will cover the spread and deal Dallas another loss at home. Take the Lakers +1.5.