- The Los Angeles Lakers are 6.5-point favorites against Indiana on Saturday (1 pm ET)
- Key players on both sides are dealing with injuries, and it’s unknown if players like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Caris LeVert or Domantas Sabonis will play
- Read below for a look at the matchup and a pick on the game
The Los Angeles Lakers still have an opportunity to improve their playoff positioning with two games to go in the regular season. In order for that to happen, they must start with a win on Saturday afternoon at Indiana.
The Lakers appear to be the healthier team heading into the game, but they aren’t without injury concerns of their own. Still, LA is a 6.5-point favorite against a team they beat earlier this year, 105-100. Indiana has two games left to play as well, but appears destined for a play-in tournament matchup with either Charlotte or Washington.
Lakers vs Pacers Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-6.5 (-110)||-290||OFF|
|Indiana Pacers||+6.5 (-110)||+235||OFF|
Odds as of May 14th.
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Finding the Motivation to Win
Between the two, Los Angeles stands to gain more from a win on Saturday. With two games left to play, the Lakers need to win out to have any hope of jumping Portland and moving into the sixth seed and out of the play-in tournament. Following the game against Indiana on Saturday, LA wraps things up on Sunday against New Orleans, who has a gaggle of injuries and nothing to play for at this point.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 14, 2021
Of course, that’s contingent on Portland losing its final game to Denver on Sunday. The Nuggets aren’t likely to move from the fourth seed regardless of Sunday’s outcome, but Denver has beaten the Blazers twice already this season. Although the likelihood that Dallas also drops its final two games to Toronto and Minnesota is next to nil, the Lakers would have a path to the fifth seed if that were to happen.
The best scenario the Pacers can look forward to is moving in front of Charlotte, which could very well lose its final two games against New York and Washington. This would set Indy up with a play-in tourney matchup with Boston, which doesn’t seem ideal on its face, but the Celtics are just 3-7 in their last 10 games and falling backwards into the post season. Indiana has also taken a win in one of the three games it has played against Boston, but has lost all three of its games against the Wizards this year.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse or M.A.S.H. Unit?
Excluding the players from both teams that were already out due to prior season-ending injuries, the Lakers and Pacers have a combined 11 players on the injury report for Saturday’s game.
Injury report for Pacers-Lakers is large.
Sabonis, LeVert, AHoliday all questionable. So are LeBron and AD. pic.twitter.com/zgocKmb2IY
— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) May 14, 2021
The biggest name and question mark is LeBron James, who didn’t end up playing in LA’s last game against Houston following pregame shoot-around. Considering the Lakers’ potential to move up and out of the play-in tournament — which James has been outspoken about not wanting to play — his desire to play Saturday should be relatively high.
Anthony Davis has been battling a groin injury as well, but under the circumstances, should try to tough it out against Indy. He also sat out against Houston, but had been playing well in the three games prior, where he finished with point totals of 36, 42 and 20 against the Blazers, Suns and Knicks.
Malcolm Brogdon will continue to stay out of Indiana’s lineup with a hamstring injury that has kept him off the floor for a month now. New to Indy’s injury report is big man Domantas Sabonis, who is dealing with a quad injury suffered on Thursday against Milwaukee. Guard Caris LeVert has been a consistent scoring option in Brogdon’s absence, but he didn’t play against the Bucks, and is also questionable on Saturday with a knee contusion.
Rolling the Dice
With the post season bearing down on a number of teams, bettors are seeing drastic lineup changes just hours before games are set to tip off. Theoretically, with an opportunity to improve their starting place in the playoffs, it seems as though James, Davis and others are going to want to tough it out in this one. If the Lakers lose to Indiana, they will almost certainly sit in the regular season finale.
For now, the expectation is that the regulars try to make a go of it, and it’s just as likely that LeVert and Sabonis don’t look ready to play for Indy after their pregame preparations. The Pacers are the more likely team to rest their guys in this situation, and will have to rely on their remaining shooters to be sharp. Meanwhile, the Lakers have better players in the frontcourt, have been one of the NBA’s best at defending three-pointers, and got more production out of their bench this season.
Pick: Lakers -6.5 (-110)