Lakers and Thunder Both Struggling
Thursday, January 17 at 9:30 PM ET
Chesapeake Energy Arena
Coverage: TNT — Line: Thunder 10; O/U 227.
The Los Angeles Lakers visit the reeling Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. The Lakers snapped their two-game losing streak with a hard-fought 107-100 home win against the Bulls. The Thunder have lost four of their last five games, including a 142-126 road setback against the Hawks last Tuesday.
Thunder can’t stop Hawks
Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 31 points and 11 assists in the loss to the Hawks. Paul George had 24 points and Jerami Grant added 21 but it wasn’t enough scoring to match the Hawks, who made 18 of 37 3-pointers while setting a season-high in points scored.
Former Hawk Dennis Schroder scored 21 points, including 14 in the third quarter. He had the team’s final 11 points of the period, the last six on free-throws. Atlanta outscored them 45-30 in the second quarter and 45-26 in the fourth quarter.
Lakers hold on against Bulls
Lonzo Ball scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half to lead the Lakers to a much-needed 107-100 home win against the Bulls last Tuesday. Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram had 16 points each but the Lakers almost blew a 94-76 lead with 4:26 left. The Bulls rallied to make it 103-98 in the final minute.
Ball is an underrated defender. The Lakers will need him to be at his best on that side of the court in order to contain Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schroder. The Lakers also have to step up their 3-point defense if they want to keep up with the Thunder. Chicago made just 2 of 14 3-pointers in the first half against Los Angeles but they were 7 of 17 from distance in the second half.
The Over is:
6-1-1 in Los Angeles’ last eight Thursday games
4-0 in Oklahoma City’s last four overall
6-1 in Oklahoma City’s last seven home games against a team with a losing road record
This contest can be a track meet between two teams that are tied for third in the NBA in pace. They are averaging 105.8 possessions per game. The Lakers and Thunder struggle on defense and have many weapons on offense. Rebounding can be the difference tonight.
The Thunder won the first meeting 107-100 on January 2 in Los Angeles. They out-rebounding the Lakers 64-54. Oklahoma City ranks second in the league with 48.3 rebounds per game while Los Angeles is fifth with 47.1. Whichever team limits their opponent’s second chance points will prevail in what should be a high-scoring game.
NBA Pick: Over 227 at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: Jazz Sports