Home Floor: Los Angeles Lakers
COVID-19 has left its widespread mark once again all over the association and we are left to contemplate if there will be a postponement again, but then, with the ten-day deals and relaxed quarantine rules around, the landscape has been favourable for fielding games. And some players like LeBron James continue to leave their impression all over the world whether there is COVID-19 or not. Remember, James won his first championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in the COVID-19 induced bubble. However, this Lakers season is nowhere near the same and they are struggling to string together long game-winning streaks. On the other hand, the Minnesota Timberwolves have not been an exquisite team either and record-wise are not that far away from the Lakers. The Lakers have 18 wins and 19 losses while the Timberwolves have 16 wins and 19 losses as their starting Center Towns and starting guard Russell are both in the COVID-19 protocols at the time of writing. To know my game total and result prediction, jump to “Expert Betting Tips”.Get Your Welcome Bonus!
Lakers have a lot of offensive options, Timberwolves have potential
Lakers should aid LeBron: LeBron is showing the NBA that for him, the current era is like an open book. Players have come and gone, made All-Star teams, have retired after stellar careers but the great Point Forward has remained an All-Star and more than that actually, scoring 30 or more for more than 10 days or so. On the other hand, Russell Westbrook can run a fastbreak or help the team to score in the half-court situations whereas Monk and Carmelo have contributed around 40 or more in tandem time and time again. Yes, it is not the offensive end but the defensive end where the team needs to be better, this is where Lakers are getting hurt especially against high-profile units. They get out hustled, outrebounded, and their defense is lackluster during most nights, if not all. If the Lakers fix their defense, then they can gain a 60%+ win record.
Timberwolves’ options: Timberwolves role players and bench options have done well to hold the fort in absence Edwards, Towns, and Russell. Malik Beasley has raised his scoring by around 10-15 points around late December, Jaylen Nowell has scored more often in double-digits, including a 29 points outing. Meanwhile, Patrick Beverley has given premier playmaking but still, with Russell out, the long-range shooting hasn’t been as efficient and reliable as before. The frontline of Reid, Vanderbilt, and McDaniels has been encouraging too. While Vanderbilt is a big-time rebounder, McDaniels has raised his scoring level significantly to aid the matters. Overall, the Timberwolves are far from full-strength but they have Edwards back now who can dip in 20 or more. Overall, the Timberwolves can still deploy more than decent weapons in terms of rebounding, playmaking, and scoring but yes, their scoring has struggled a bit.
Expert Betting tips
Points Range: LA Lakers have had no trouble putting up 110 or more points during all of the season. They love to score points and they have surrounded LeBron and Westbrook with two high-yielding perimeter shooters like Monk and Anthony, whereas Talen Horton-Tucker and Avery Bradley have been impressive offensively in parts. With Stanley Johnson, they get a slashing and aggressive option too. On the other hand, the Timberwolves is not as reliable without Towns and Russell, but still if Edwards is back they have a 20+ points scorer. But then, I doubt they have as many options as the Lakers and for them, getting to 110 is tougher than the Lakers. If LeBron continues his current run of 30+ points games then I believe the Lakers can go past 110 or so. I think the Timberwolves will at least get past 104 here. The overall points range here is 218-230.
Prediction: With LeBron around, the Lakers have somehow dragged them close to a 50% win record. I believe even if the Lakers are not the elite defensive unit, it isn’t like they are facing an offensive team like the Warriors, Suns, Hornets, Grizzlies, etc. Still, it is the same Lakers team that has allowed teams like the Rockets to score 120+ and there are numerous examples of teams breaking free against them. I give the Lakers an edge here since they are playing at home and against a weakened Timberwolves unit. I believe the Lakers can take this one 116:106.
- Alternate Total Points: Over 225.5 for 2.05;
- European Handicap 0:7 for 1.93;
- Player Props: Player Points: Malik Monk: Over 14.5 for 1.80.