Warriors' Green Expected Back for Visit from Kuzma, Lakers

draymond green

Jay Pryce

Friday, December 22, 2017 2:24 PM GMT

Friday, Dec. 22, 2017 2:24 PM GMT

The injury-riddled Warriors get a couple of key players back with Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia expected to suit up for the Lakers' visit Friday (10:30 p.m. ET). See what difference they make with our pick. 

Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State WarriorsFree NBA Pick: OverBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Lakers (11-18 SU, 15-14 ATS)

Kuzma Emerging as Go-to, Affecting Betting Outcomes

Kyle Kuzma is emerging as a star player for the young Lakers. The rookie forward from Utah went head-to-head against MVP candidate James Harden last time out, leading L.A. to a 122-116 shock win as a 14-point underdog with a career-high 38 points along with 7 boards and 4 assists. It proved the most points by a L.A. rookie since Hall of Famer Elgin Baker dropped 41 way back in 1959.

Kuzma tops the Lakers in scoring with 17.4 points on 31.1 minutes per game. Totals bettors love the output. When the rookie drops 17 or more in a contest, the ‘over’ is 11-3, a combined score of 222.9 points edging out a 218.9 average total. Spread bettors enjoy his efficiency from the floor. When Kuzma drills better than 50 percent of his shots, L.A. is 7-4 SU and 9-2 ATS, covering a 4.4 average line by 9.6 points per game. Good news here is that Golden State ranks middle of the pack guarding power forwards, yielding 20.6 points per game on 45.9 percent shooting.

Warriors (25-6 SU, 15-16 ATS)

Curry Still Out, Green and Pachulia In

The Warriors are holding their own despite a host of first-team injuries with 10 wins in a row. They topped the lifeless Grizzlies 97-84 on Wednesday night at Oracle Arena. Two-time MVP Steph Curry has missed the last five games with a high ankle sprain and won't be back soon. The team is built around his sharp-shooting abilities. Advanced stats, fancy metrics and most all other figures find it difficult to measure the true impact of his absence. The betting market might be the best indicator. Since head coach Steve Kerr assumed the team in 2014, Golden State is 16-7 SU and 8-14-1 ATS with Curry out, failing to cover a -6.6 line by 2.4 points per game.

The good news for Golden State is Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia are expected back in the lineup Friday. The reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Green sat out five of the last six games, while Pachulia missed six of the last seven, each with sore shoulders. Green’s defense is a plus against Kuzma. The Lakers rookie dropped 25 points off the bench with Green watching on in a Monday night matchup between the two at Staples Center. Golden State eked out a 116-114 overtime win.

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🎥 Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with a team-high 25 points tonight against the Warriors. pic.twitter.com/RIOBSm7UWM

— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 19, 2017
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Kerr told reporters Green would play after a strong showing in Wednesday’s practice. Whether Green’s presence is enough to slow the streaking Kuzma is questionable. The rookie is 11 of 19 from downtown his last two games.

The Warriors average 106.9 points per night in eight games with Curry out of the lineup this year. Few games have come against defenses as porous as the Lakers. L.A. is surrendering 109.3 points per 100 possessions over its last five games, ninth most in the league. Expect Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson to fill the offensive void with Curry missing and propel the Warriors closer to their 115.1 point home scoring average against this leaky bunch. Durant is red hot, posting 32.2 points, 10 rebounds, and 6.5 assists over his last five games. Kuzma will duel and help push the final tally into the 220-point range. We have it Warriors 117-106. Bet the total accordingly.

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