The Golden State Warriors travel to Staples Center on Wednesday night to take on the Los Angeles Lakers for the right to claim the Western Conference’s 7th seed and face the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
Both teams closed out the season strong but while the Warriors were able to move up to 8th place and get double-elimination status, the Lakers could not climb up to the 6th seed and gain outright playoff entry.
The winner of this game will be the 7th seed in the East while the loser will play the winner between the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs for the right to become the 8th and final entry to the Western Conference playoff picture.
Despite playing without Klay Thompson for the entire regular season, the Golden State Warriors kept themselves within striking distance of the playoffs And when Steph Curry went on fire late in the season, the Dubs made their move, and last Sunday, they took 8th place by defeating the Memphis Grizzlies.
Steph Curry wrapped up the NBA’s scoring title with a 46-point game against the Grizzlies. It was the 21st time in his last 24 games where Curry scored 30+ points and during that stretch, he’s averaged 36.9 points per game. Curry scored only 26 points in Golden State’s win in Los Angeles but averaged only 21.5 points per game in their other two meetings, both losses.
Golden State is averaging 113.7 points per game this season, 13th in the league. They are allowing opponents to score 113.0 points per game, 21st overall. The Warriors are the best passing team in the NBA at 27.7 assists per game and are 22nd in rebounding at 43.0 boards grabbed per contest.
The Lakers tried to salvage the 6th seed and won their last five games but still ended up in 7th place after losing the tiebreaker to the Portland Trail Blazers. Despite that, Los Angeles has built the momentum it needs heading to the postseason. Their main concern now is staying healthy after LeBron James and Anthony Davis missed a significant amount of games due to injury.
James sat out 26 out of the Lakers’ last 30 games and the team slid in the team standings. With LeBron back, Los Angeles finished strong but just could no longer catch up anymore. Anthony Davis also struggled in his return but in his last five games, the Brow put up 28 points per game. Andre Drummond put up a double-double in his last four games and averaged 14 rebounds during that period.
The Lakers rank 22nd in scoring at only 109.5 points per game this season. However, they are ranked 2nd in the league in scoring defense at 106.7 points per game allowed. Los Angeles is 16th off the glass with an average of 44.2 boards grabbed per contest and are 17th in passing at 24.7 assists per game.
The Warriors are 6-0 in their last six games played. Golden State is 14-22 SU in 36 road games played this season and 2-6 SU in their last eight games played against the Pacific Division. The Lakers are 5-1 SU in their last six games played. Los Angeles is 4-1 SU in their last five games played at home, and 22-6 SU in 28 home games as betting favorites against the Western Conference this season.
The Lakers have won six out of the last 10 meetings between these two teams. However, Golden State is 6-2 SU in their last eight meetings at Staples Center.
Golden State’s late-season success is undeniable. Steph Curry averaged 37.0 points per game in his last 20 games and finished the regular season as the NBA’s scoring champion at 32.0 points per game. But Curry averaged only 23.0 points per game in three meetings with the Lakers this season. He also shot just 42.3% from the field and 34.6% from deep against L.A.
Los Angeles dodged a bullet when LeBron James tweaked his ankle against Charlotte. James has played four games since returning from injury and is averaging 21 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game in 29 minutes of action. Anthony Davis has averaged just 19.8 points per game in his 13 games back from injury but scored 28 points or more in three out of his last five games.
I think that the Lakers are too much for Golden State’s one-man show. Los Angeles also has too much size advantage for the Dubs. Unless AD and/or LeBron gets hurt here, Los Angeles should book a date with the Phoenix Suns.
Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State is 6-0 ATS in their last six games played. The Warriors are just 14-22 ATS in 36 road games played this season, 2-7 ATS in their last nine games as road underdogs, 2-6 ATS in their last eight road games against an opponent with a winning record, and 4-9 in their last 13 games when playing on two-days rest.
Los Angeles is just 4-10-1 in their last 15 games played. The Lakers are 1-5 ATS in their last six games after an ATS win, 1-6-1 in their last eight games as the betting favorites, 1-6 in their last seven Wednesday games, and 0-4 ATS in their last four games when playing on two days rest. Head to head, the Lakers are 4-2 ATS in their last six games played against the Warriors.
When you look at the ATS trends, Golden State has been impressive at 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall and 5-1 ATS in their last six games as underdogs. However, the Warriors have struggled against the spread on the road
Los Angeles hasn’t been great too against the spread but this is the postseason and this is what the Lakers are built for. If the spread was double-digits, I’d take the Warriors. But at five points? I’ll give away the plus points and go with the Lakers.
Prediction: Lakers -5
The over is 4-1 in Golden State’s last five games played. The total has gone under in five out of the Dubs’ last six games played on the road. The under is also 5-1 in their last six games as road underdogs, 7-2 in their last nine road games against an opponent with a winning home record, and 7-3 in their last 10 games when playing on two days rest.
The total has gone under in the under is 41-29-2 in Los Angeles’ 72 games this season. The Lakers have seen the total go under in seven out of their last eight games after a straight up win. The under is also 4-1 in their last five games against an opponent with a winning straight up record, and 9-4 in their last 13 home games as betting favorites.
The Lakers finished the season as the number 1 defensive team in the league. And while the Warriors are in the Top 12 in scoring this season, they have averaged only 105.7 points per game in their last 10 games against the Lakers and just 101.0 points per game in their most recent three encounters. Golden State has traditionally struggled to score against the Lakers defense. This one shouldn’t be any different.
Prediction: Under 219
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