Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET (ABC & ESPN)
Free NBA Pick: Warriors ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
No question the biggest day of the NBA regular season, both from a betting and TV ratings perspective, is Christmas. Many consider if the unofficial start of the season with the college football regular season finished and the NFL about to be. I agree with those who believe the NBA should start every season on Christmas and push the end of the NBA Finals into late July.
If you are a superstar in the NBA, plan on working Christmas. There is no bigger star than LeBron James, and he plays his first game on the holiday as a member of the Lakers in Golden State on Tuesday night.
Is anyone really surprised the NBA made this the showcase game of the day? Of course, LeBron’s Cavaliers faced the Warriors each of the past four NBA Finals – with Golden State taking three of them. James’ last game as a member of the Cavaliers was June 8 in Cleveland as the Warriors completed a four-game sweep with a 108-85 rout. It’s the fourth straight year James will see the Dubs on Christmas. Last year, his Cavs lost 99-92 in Oakland.
James has played every Christmas since 2007. The Lakers, a marquee franchise even when they aren’t good (which isn’t often), have played on the holiday every year since 1999 and the second-most all-time behind the Knicks. L.A. has won just one of its past five on Christmas and this will be only the Lakers’ fourth road game on the holiday since ’99.
Finally, this will be Golden State’s last Christmas game in Oakland as the team is moving to San Francisco next season.
Lakers Slumping ATS (2-5 Past 7)
Golden State maybe was looking ahead to this game over the weekend as it barely squeaked by both Dallas on Saturday and the LA Clippers on Sunday in Oakland. In the 129-127 win over the Clips, the Dubs had a minor scare with Kevin Durant leaving briefly with an ankle issue but he may have just needed it re-taped. He finished with 35 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
Steph Curry stayed red-hot with 42 points, including the winning layup with 0.5 seconds left. It was his 33rd career 40-point regular-season game. The Clippers shot a stunning 18 of 23 from 3-point land and blew a double-digit lead. Golden State has scored at least 120 points in 14 games this season and is 13-1 in them (lost in Toronto). The Warriors have now won six games this season after trailing by 10 or more points.
The Lakers were caught in a look-ahead game Sunday in losing 107-99 at home to Memphis, which entered on a five-game skid. LeBron had 22 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers, who had won their past six at home.
Brandon Ingram returned from a seven-game absence (ankle) and had 20 points in 37 minutes. Lonzo Ball wasn’t good, hitting just 2-for-10 (0-for-7 from deep) for four points. L.A. was without its two key big men in JaVale McGee (illness) and Tyson Chandler (back). McGee is doubtful to play Tuesday against his former team, but he’ll get his 2017-18 championship ring before the game. Chandler is questionable.
- Lakers are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 road games.
- Warriors are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring at least 125 points in previous game.
Sometimes the Warriors play … bored. That’s to be expected in having reached the Finals four straight years. They won’t be bored Tuesday. Back the Dubs for an NBA bet and have a Merry Christmas.