Jordan’s NBA picks record: 32-16
Monday, 10:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
Free NBA Pick: Warriors ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
The Warriors got back DeMarcus Cousins on Friday night and they predictably took their offense to another level. With LeBron James out and Lonzo Ball looking doubtful for Monday night’s game, there isn’t much stopping the Dubs from blowing out the Lakers in Staples Center.
Warriors Trending Up; Lakers, Not So Much
The Dubs have won seven straight games SU. With Cousins in the lineup, this team is head and shoulders above where the Lakers are. Cousins not only adds another layer of offense in case the Dubs can’t push the pace, but if he is focused on defense this Warriors team has little to no weaknesses.
Before Cousins came back, the Warriors had been dealing with playing small and not having a choice about it. Since Damian Jones went down the Warriors have been awful on defense, and if Cousins beings his A-game on that end of the floor, the rest of the league needs to watch out.
The Lakers, on the flip side of things, could be without two starters against the league’s two-time defending champs. James has been ramping up his workouts, but Coach Luke Walton said on Saturday that he doubts James will be available to play Monday night after missing the last 13 games. However, both he and Rajon Rondo might be able to practice on Sunday, which is good news for the Lakers during their stretch run. However, the Lakers might be down their three best ball-handlers on Monday if Ball can’t play.
Ball was carried off the court on Saturday night after going down with an ankle injury. He is set to undergo an MRI to see what the damage is, but if I had to guess, he will probably have to miss some time.
Without any of their main distributors against Golden State, this team is dead on arrival. Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart will likely have to take over as the two main ball-handlers for the Lakers on Monday, which means if the Warriors pressure either guy, they may be able to force a ton of turnovers.
The Sharp Pick
The Dubs have been far from a good bet this season ATS, but that much is changing over the last few weeks. The return of Cousins may make them overvalued once again, but considering Golden State has covered six of their last 10 games overall, I’m feeling pretty confident in their ability to knock out this banged-up Lakers squad early in this game.
The Warriors have been outstanding offensively when playing on the road this year, averaging nearly 116 points per 100 possessions. If you add up all their games since December 31, the Warriors are posting 127 points per 100 possessions as well.
The Lakers may be able to hang in with Golden State for a while, but they will ultimately lose this one by double figures. I usually hate laying big spreads with road teams, but there is little chance the Lakers keep this one from being a blowout.
Final score prediction: Warriors 124, Lakers 110