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Warriors vs Lakers Play-In Tournament Odds and Picks

Sam Cox

by Sam Cox in NBA Basketball

Updated May 20, 2021 · 6:01 AM PDT

LeBron James walking
LeBron and the Lakers get a marquee Play-In Game vs the Warriors on Wednesday (Photo by PI/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)
  • The Warriors and Lakers matchup on Wednesday, May 19th in the Western Conference Play-In Tournament
  • Steph Curry led the Warriors to a win over the Grizzlies on Sunday to take the eight seed
  • Read below for the latest odds, betting preview and a Warriors vs Lakers pick

It’s Steph Curry vs LeBron James. It’s Warriors vs Lakers. This is one of the NBA’s most high-profile matchups, and it’s happening with incredibly high stakes in the Western Conference’s Play-In tournament.

Having won two of the three regular season matchups, the Lakers are favored by 6.5 points for Wednesday’s game at Staples Center. The Lakers have battled injuries all year long, but they are approaching full health for the start of the playoffs. LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder all played on Sunday night, and any lingering concerns with James’ ankle have decreased with each drive to the basket.

Golden State is, of course, without Klay Thompson (Achilles) and James Wiseman (knee). Kelly Oubre (wrist) is set to miss more time, while Damion Lee is unlikely to be available following a positive COVID-19 test.

Warriors vs Lakers Odds

Team Spread at DraftKings Moneyline Total
Golden State Warriors +6.5 (-110) +215 O 222.5 (-112)
Los Angeles Lakers -6.5 (-110) -265 U 222.5 (-109)

Odds as of May 17th

No Stopping Steph

With the scoring title already secured, Steph Curry went supernova (again) on Sunday. The two-time MVP recorded the tied third-most three-point attempts in an NBA game on his way to a 46-point gem. LeBron James kindly named him the MVP on Sunday night, too.

Curry and James have dueled many times in the past, and the Lakers have generally done a good job of keeping Curry quiet this season. He’s scored 27, 16 and 26 in their matchups, though all three of those games came when the Warriors were playing in a different way. Curry didn’t break the 20-shot mark in any of those encounters. Across his last nine outings, he has averaged 26.3 field goal attempts per contest.

Where others have done all they can to take the ball out of Curry’s hands, the Grizzlies were less aggressive on Sunday. The Suns, for instance, threw bodies at Curry and forced others to beat them. Andrew Wiggins did just that, scoring 38 points. The Lakers obviously have good defenders to throw at Curry one-on-one, but they are likely to be more aggressive in their pick-and-roll defense than Memphis were.

Remaining the best defense in the NBA even without their two stars, the Lakers’ rotations are often faultless. They are well-equipped to limit Curry’s shot attempts and cover enough ground to make it difficult for others to score.

Small-Ball Challenge

The Warriors have leaned heavily into smallball on their strong run to end the year. They are fourth in net rating over the last 15 games, and much of that can be attributed to the success of Draymond Green and Juan Toscano-Anderson in the frontcourt. As ever, though, playing so small can leave teams vulnerable on the boards.

Green talked down such concerns on Sunday, but they are legitimate. Jonas Valanciunas got 16 boards and was 12-for-15 from the field in the final game of the regular season. The Lakers are huge. Andre Drummond has been up and down as a Laker, but he can be a menace on the boards. Davis is going to be a problem on the glass and as a post threat.

Golden State is third in pace for the season. Steve Kerr will hope to run the Lakers bigs off the floor, and will be crossing his fingers that a group rebounding effort can stop the Lakers getting too many second chance points.

This is a clash of styles, and one of the greater challenges for the Warriors’ smallball.

Warriors Keep It Close

The Lakers are rightly favored. When healthy, they are still arguably the title favorites. Even reaching the playoffs is an achievement for the Warriors, but that doesn’t mean they should be underrated.

This version of Golden State is unrecognizable from the one blown out by the Lakers in February and March. What Curry is doing is historic, and Green has led the defense to be truly elite. Wiggins is playing the best basketball of his NBA career too, and the Warriors need that to continue on Wednesday.

With the Lakers still ramping up, the Warriors should be able to take this deep. It could well come down to fourth quarter execution. While that probably ends in a Lakers win, there’s value backing the Warriors to cover.

  • Pick: Golden State Warriors +6.5 (-110)

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