Lakers Minus LeBron Equals Solid NBA Pick Versus Thunder

Monday, April 1, 2019 8:19 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 1, 2019 8:19 PM UTC

With LeBron James out of the lineup, the Los Angeles Lakers suddenly become a viable NBA pick for Tuesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Apr. 1: 23-24-1 ATS, 0-4 ML (minus-9.35 units), 32-18 Totals

L.A. Lakers (35-42 SU, 32-43-2 ATS) at Oklahoma City (44-33 SU, 38-39 ATS)

Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. ET, TNT

Free NBA Pick: Lakers ATS

Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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We appear to have misunderestimated the Los Angeles Lakers. Or perhaps it was the marketplace; when we faded the Lakers blind for last week’s game against the Utah Jazz, we certainly didn’t expect Utah to hit the board at –16 when LeBron James was given the day off. Final score: Utah 115, Los Angeles 100. Ai ya.

At least we know ahead of time that James won’t be playing in Tuesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s been shut down for the rest of the season, and go figure, the Lakers are 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS over their past five games – all after they were officially eliminated from the playoffs. The Thunder are a mess at 2-7 SU and ATS over their last nine, so let’s sneak L.A. into our NBA picks and see what happens.

Götterdämmerung

Once again, we’re waiting for the NBA odds as we go to press, which is a bit strange in this case. Tuesday isn’t a back-to-back for either team, and the only player considered iffy for this matchup is Lakers PF Kyle Kuzma (minus-1.8 BPM), who’s day-to-day with a sore left foot. Kuzma missed Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, which the Lakers won 130-102 as 3-point road dogs.

It’s easy to see why Lakers fans have fallen in love with Kuzma, but we’re not buying it here at the ranch – especially after they traded Larry Nance Jr. (plus-4.0 BPM) to the Cleveland Cavaliers in last year’s dubious Isaiah Thomas exchange. Granted, that deal also brought Moritz Wagner (minus-4.5 BPM) to the Lakers as a draft pick, and Wagner mopped up a lot of those minutes Kuzma didn’t play on Sunday. Maybe we should be happy after all if Kuzma makes it to Oklahoma City.

Paul Maul

No injuries of note on the Thunder, who have fallen to eighth place in the Western Conference thanks to their latest slump. But we might have to walk back what we said about Paul George (plus-5.5 BPM) and his shooting form; he had his moments in that home-and-home series with the Toronto Raptors, but it’s been hit-and-miss ever since.

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This massive ice pack on Paul George’s shoulder makes it look like he just had a second head surgically removed. pic.twitter.com/wAUPMrboh5

— Grant Dowling (@GrantHDowling) March 14, 2019
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It’s that troublesome left shoulder again. George was wearing an ice pack on it during Sunday’s 106-103 loss to the Dallas Mavericks (+12.5 away); it looked like something that just broke off a glacier in Antarctica. “Throughout the game, all it takes it one hit and it gets sore,” George told reporters on Friday, “but if I don’t get hit in that spot, then we’re good.” Let’s see how many times the Lakers hit that bulls-eye on Tuesday – and let’s see how the odds come out before we place that bet.

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