Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBA TV)
Free NBA Pick: Nets ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Look, I don’t pretend to know the complexities of creating the NBA schedule each season. But if you are a West Coast team like the Los Angeles Lakers, wouldn’t it make sense to play both New York teams, the Knicks and Nets, on the same road trip? I mean, you are in the city and wouldn’t even have to travel.
Alas, the NBA didn’t give the Lakers that option this year as they conclude a four-game road trip on Tuesday night in Brooklyn. L.A. doesn’t visit Madison Square Garden (LeBron’s favorite arena) and the Knicks until March 17.
It’s the first meeting of the season between the Lakers and Nets. L.A. won both last year, but, again, didn’t have LeBron then. The Lakers have alternated wins and losses in Brooklyn the past five years. Of course, one tie these franchises have is former Lakers No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell. He was traded to L.A. to Brooklyn in June 2017 in what essentially was a salary dump for L.A. That helped eventually open up cap space for the Lakers to sign LeBron.
Russell’s a good player but not a franchise-type guy. In that 2015 draft, Los Angeles should have taken Kristaps Porzingis, who went No. 4 to the Knicks. Karl-Anthony Towns was No. 1 that year to Minnesota.
Lakers Could Be Tired
It’s the Lakers’ third game in four nights after losing ugly in Washington on Sunday, 128-110 in the second of a back-to-back. LeBron looked rather tired, hitting just 5-for-16 for a season-low 13 points. L.A. was flat from the get go as the Wizards jumped out to a 26-8 lead and never looked back. JaVale McGee missed with flu-like symptoms, and L.A. remains without Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo due to injuries.
It concludes a three-game homestand for Brooklyn, which does have to play again Wednesday in Chicago. The Nets have somehow followed an eight-game losing streak with five straight wins. They blasted the sorry Hawks on Sunday, 144-127. That was a season high in points scored and the most at home in regulation in franchise history.
Look, I follow the NBA for a living but I barely had heard Rodions Kurucs. He started a second game in a row Sunday with Allen Crabbe out (knee) and Kurucs had 11 points, six rebounds and four assists. The Latvian was a second-round pick in this year’s draft. Maybe the Nets found something. Russell led Brooklyn with 32 points. It’s a fun team to watch because Brooklyn plays really fast but also little defense.
- Lakers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games.
- Nets are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
Brooklyn already has impressive home wins this year over Toronto and Philadelphia and played the Warriors very tough at the Barclays Center. Bet the Nets.