The Oklahoma City Thunder will be taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday night, with an expected 6:30 pm ET tipoff.
The Thunder struggled to finish against the Nuggets in their last game, eventually falling in overtime, showing us a very different team than the one we saw against Utah in their opener. Dennis Schroder’s wife is expecting any day now, so he left the bubble to be with her, and it was clear that they missed his presence.
They don’t have anybody else to replace the significant load he carries with the second unit and in the clutch, so we’ll see if Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can step up in this one.
The Lakers were able to bounce back from the loss to Toronto by handing it to the Utah Jazz on Monday. They’ll be looking to improve to 3-1 inside of the bubble. Dion Waiters and JR Smith have both played good minutes for the team, which is great to see.
Anthony Davis went off in their last game, finishing with 42 points, so he’ll once again be looking to accomplish big things for his team.
The Lakers are 5.5-point favorites in this matchup.
Thunder Look to Avoid Season Sweep
This will be the fourth and final time these teams meet in the regular season, though a second-round playoff matchup could be likely if the Thunder continue on the pace they’re at. They have dropped all three matchups to the Lakers, finding themselves unable to contain Anthony Davis.
Chris Paul is among the league’s best defenders, but won’t be able to cover the premiere Lakers players, as he would be giving up too much height. We might see a lot of Andre Roberson, as they seek to find somebody to play big minutes covering LeBron James. Davis, on the other hand, is due for a huge game.
Luckily, the Thunder don’t have to worry much about in JaVale McGee, but when Dwight Howard comes in, he’s featured a little more in the offense. With two bigs in often for Los Angeles, and Oklahoma City playing Danilo Gallinari and Darius Bazley at power forward, the Thunder will be giving up a lot of size.
Starting To Roll
James and Davis have been as dominant this year as we expected them to be. Davis, who has just one playoff series win in his career, has a great chance to help lead his new team back to the NBA Finals for the first time in a decade.
The Lakers may not be taking all of their games as seriously as other teams because they have already clinched the best record in the West. They’ll need to keep their momentum going and keep every player engaged and ready to play. But there is no incentive for them in the next five games.
Perhaps their competitive drive will keep things moving steadily along. They’ve got a solid bench, so maybe all eight active guys will get some run.
Lakers Take Down Thunder
There will be no answer for Davis. And that will ultimately make the difference in this contest.
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