- Lakers kick off second half of season hosting the Indiana Pacers Friday
- Anthony Davis is still out with an Achilles injury, and LA is 3-7 without him
- Check the odds, analysis and betting preview below
Both the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James did everything they could to ensure James got the maximum rest needed around the the all-star break.
Still without Anthony Davis, it’s on the King’s shoulders to keep LA afloat in the merciless West. They open the second half Friday night against the visiting Indiana Pacers, a team that’s got its own issues to figure out.
The Lakers are 4.5-point favorites in this one.
Pacers vs Lakers Odds
|Indiana Pacers||+4.5 (-110)||+162||Ov 217.5 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-4.5 (-110)||-194||Un 217.5 (-110)|
Odds from FanDuel taken March 11. Tip-off is Friday at 10:30pm ET
LA is second in the Pacific Division behind the surging Phoenix Suns, and sit third in the West, a game behind the Suns and just a half-game in front of the Clippers. Indiana is on the fringes of the play-in bracket, at 16-19 and 10th in the East.
LeBron Needed a Recharge
It will be a full 10 days off between regular season games for James, who played an All-Star game career-low 13 minutes as Team James cruised to a win over Team Durant. LBJ sat the entire second half and scored a career-low four points in the showcase event.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 9, 2021
He also sat out his only game of the year heading into the break, which the Lakers lost 123-120 in Sacramento. LA’s recent swoon coincides with Anthony Davis injuring his Achilles on February 14. Since then, the team has gone 3-7 in his absence.
Davis will be out for this game, as will Marc Gasol, who’s out due to COVID protocols.
It goes without saying the Lakers miss Davis’ all-world talents, especially on the defensive side, where his ability to play help side, recover and read plays is next level.
LeBron James on the second half of the season for the Lakers:
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) March 11, 2021
In the Lakers’ seven losses without him, they have surrendered 115 points a night and allow teams to shoot 43.2% from three-point range. Conversely, in their three wins, they’ve been able to hold the opposition to 96 points a game and hit at just a 33.3% clip from deep.
James will definitely carry the offensive load, but he’ll need some help. The Lakers’ shooting has fallen off a cliff in the last 10, hitting just 31.7% from distance.
Pacers Lack Star Power
Full marks to all-star Domantas Sabonis, who is operating as a high-level offensive hub for Nate Bjorkgren’s offense. Ditto Malcolm Brogden, who’s averaging 21.2 points and 6.2 assists. But there’s just not enough in the cupboard for the Pacers, who have dropped five out of their last six, and have just four win in their last 15 games.
Domantas Sabonis: "We're a lot better than our record shows. … Once we put 48 minutes together, get Caris back and hopefully T.J., I think we're going to be a dangerous team."#AlwaysGame pic.twitter.com/xjyzgXQUKq
— FOX Sports Indiana (@FSIndiana) March 5, 2021
Part of the problem is two of their additional big weapons, TJ Warren and Caris Levert, have been out for an extended period of time. Warren, a breakout star in the bubble, has been shelved since Dec. 29 after undergoing foot surgery.
Meanwhile, Levert, acquired from Brooklyn as a part of the James Harden mega-deal, still has not played since a physical discovered a mass on his kidney — though he is expected to debut soon.
"Caris LeVert played in practice today. He's getting closer and closer, it won't be too much longer," says Coach Bjorkgren.
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) March 12, 2021
The Pacers are still a visually pleasing offensive machine, ranking sixth in assists at 25.6 per game. But that lack of scoring depth has exposed their defensive woes, including getting drilled from deep. Indiana is allowing teams to shoot better than 38% from three-point range, which ranks 25th in the NBA.
What’s the Best Bet?
There’s some pretty ugly trends the Pacers are staring at, including an 0-6 mark ATS in their last six, and an 0-4 tally in their last four road games. Throw in the fact the Pacers have not beaten the Lakers at Staples since November 29, 2015, and LeBron James is rested and eyeing a big start, and we’re not going to overthink this one.
The pick: Lakers -4.5 (-110)